Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘evolution

Thursday Links, Inc.

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* University, Inc.

* Like Kirk said, don’t let them promote you: Rising to Your Level of Misery at Work.

* Best American Poetry Pseudonyms.

* All the Sensible Progressives agree: The Clinton email scandal is over, over, so over.

Big-Name Plan B’s for Democrats Concerned About Hillary Clinton. I guess I’ll get started on Plan C.

* The Hal Salive Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

* At long last, the billionaires have come for their ancient enemy, UNC’s English department.

Rutgers Faculty Union Urges Inquiry Into Football Coach.

Cooperation or Collusion? Lawsuit Accuses Duke and UNC of Faculty Non-Poaching Deal. I think they bought themselves a whole lot of legal trouble here.

* Amid all the weirdness of the U Iowa president hire, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Gotta spend money to make money. University of Iowa Faculty Senate votes ‘no confidence’ in Board of Regents. “We’re just getting started.”

* Some good news in Wisconsin: MATC announces free tuition for low-income students.

Here’s the truth: academia is an amazing sector with some of the best features of any job, even if it also has substantial problems. Folks on the way out might feel like they’re biting their thumb at something, and those still “stuck” on the inside of this troubled-but-terrific career might feel some welcome-if-temporary solidarity. But after that, it’s just more fodder for legislators, corporations, and the general public to undermine the academy. It helps nobody in the long run. No One Cares That You Quit Your Job.

* Mediocrity is the secret key that explains everything. Moving beyond the early focus on conformity, we propose that the threat of status loss may make those with middle status more wary of advancing creative solutions in fear that they will be evaluated negatively. Using different manipulations of status and measures of creativity, we found that when being evaluated, middle-status individuals were less creative than either high-status or low-status individuals (Studies 1 and 2). In addition, we found that anxiety at the prospect of status loss also caused individuals with middle status to narrow their focus of attention and to think more convergently (Study 3). We delineate the consequences of power and status both theoretically and empirically by showing that, unlike status, the relationship between power and creativity is positive and linear (Study 4). By both measuring status (Studies 2 and 3) and by manipulating it directly (Study 5), we demonstrate that the threat of status loss explains the consequences of middle status.

Researchers have discovered a better way to wait in line, and you’re going to hate it.

Half of Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes. This is framed as good news: “…after two decades of linear growth, the prevalence of diabetes in the United States has finally started to plateau.”

Words about slavery that we should all stop using.

* “Prison gets rich looking up preschoolers.”

* “Author says parent from Tennessee is confusing ‘gynaecology with pornography’ over description of Lacks discovering a lump in her cervix.”

* The next Charles Darwin?

* Kim Davis has defeated us all. Related: Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Never Should Have Gone to Jail.

The Final Discworld Book Is Bittersweet For Many Reasons. I haven’t read one of these in decades, but I’m still sad he’s gone.

Brooklyn College’s Longtime Janitor Is Also Its Cocaine Dealer, Police Say.

* An interview with Ursula K. Le Guin.

Salman Rushdie’s Bewilderment at Snapchat Inspired Him to Write Science Fiction.

The Joy Machine: Stephen Colbert, Satire, and Faith.

The High Burden of Low Wages: How Renting Affordably in NYC is Impossible on Minimum Wage.

One lawyer’s crusade to defend extreme pornography.


Washington’s Football Team Is the Donald Trump of the NFL.

* Negging and neoliberalism.

* Wifework and the university.

* And Boots lives. I anticipate that this will make Zoey’s entire year.

Midweek Links!

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* Another scene from the death of the university.

* A postscript for Fun Home.

* Someone Calculated How Many Adjunct Professors Are on Public Assistance, and the Number Is Startling.

Transforming White People Is Not the Job of Minority Students.

* Poor and at Harvard.

By substituting class relations for an arbitrary list of “privileges,” Voxis attempting to paint a picture of an immiserated America with no villain. It’s an America without a ruling class that directly and materially benefits from everyone else’s hard times. And this omission isn’t just incorrect — it robs us of any meaningful oppositional politics that could change it all.

For the Humanities, Some Good News Is Mixed With the Bad.

Hillary Clinton’s Announcement Paves Way for Progressives to Abandon Principles Very Early in 2016 Election. Hillary Clinton isn’t a champion of women’s rights. She’s the embodiment of corporate feminism. How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World. The typeface.

Why did it take the federal government so long to prosecute the Blackwater contractors who shot up a Baghdad square in 2007, killing and maiming scores of Iraqis? Because investigators were trying to wait out the Bush administration, which wanted to go easy on the killers, recently unearthed documents show.

* Gasp! New Research Shows Free Online Courses Didn’t Grow As Expected. Once-celebrated online courses still haven’t lived up to the hype.

* ‘Fuck Your Breath’ — Video Shows Cop Mocking Unarmed Man As He Dies From Police Bullet. This story is even more bizarre than you’d think. Black Men Being Killed Is The New Girls Gone Wild. Police have been setting up suspects with false testimony for decades. Is anyone going to believe them now when they tell the truth? Thousands dead, few prosecuted.

* A brief history of Marvel’s teen heroines.

* Victims of Chicago gun violence memorialized in lifelike statues.

City to Acknowledge it Operated a Slave Market for More Than 50 Years.

The New Somali Studies.

* Huge if true: Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand.’

* How Game of Thrones is diverging more and more from the books. More on that.

The “zone of sacrifice” that is Oxnard, California, where low-income workers are paying the price for pesticide use and chemical dumping.

California and the literature of water.

Turkish mayor sued over giant robot statue.

17 Years After a Spill Into the Ocean, LEGO Pieces Still Wash Ashore.

* Hate to judge it from a trailer, but Ant-Man sure seems pretty specifically not great.

* As Sinclair Lewis said, when fascism comes to America it will be wearing a Fitbit and offering you a discount on insurance.

St. Cthulu in the Anthroposcene.

Maryland ‘Free Range’ Kids Taken Into Custody Again.

* BREAKING: Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions.

Saga Was One Of The Most Challenged Books In US Libraries Last Year. #2? Persepolis.

* Weird children’s books from the 1970s, by way of Jonathan Lethem.

Tech bubble about to burst again.

* And The Left Hand of Darkness has been adapted for BBC Radio.

Playing Monday Catch-Up Links

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* Jaimee finally has a webpage! You can see all her online poems here.

Announcing the Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities.

* Reminder: Mullen fellowship applications are due April 1.

Relativism: The spontaneous ideology of the undergraduate.

* The trolley and the psychopath.

Tired of the same old dystopias? Randomized Dystopia suggests a right that your fictional tyranny could deny its citizens!

What if we educated and designed for resistance, through iterative performance and play?

* A good start: The University of Phoenix has lost half its students in the last five years.

I began pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Michigan in the Fall of 2006. My incoming cohort had nine students–seven in English Language and Literature, two in English and Women’s Studies. When we entered the program, all of us aspired to the tenure-track. The last of us just defended her dissertation this January, making ours the first cohort in several years with a 100% completion rate. Nine years out, only one of us has a tenure track professorship.

* #altac: Northeastern University seeks an intellectually nimble, entrepreneurial, explode-the-boundaries thinker to join the Office of the President as Special Assistant for Presidential Strategy & Initiatives. This job ad truly is a transcendent parody of our age, down to the shameless sucking up to the president of the university that constitutes 2/3 of the text.

* Budget cuts kill The Dictionary of American Regional English.

The Long, Ugly History of Racism at American Universities.

I Saw My Admissions Files Before Yale Destroyed Them.

Confessions of a Harvard Gatekeeper.

The Unmanageable University.

What NYU Pays Its Top Earners, And What Most Of Your Professors Make.

“There is no point in having that chat as long as the system is mismanaged,” said Steven Cohen, president of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, which represents most faculty. Cohen pointed to central office costs that are rising as faculty numbers decline.

Letter from Amsterdam.

The war against humanities at Britain’s universities.

On NYU and the future of graduate student unionism.

I teach philosophy at Columbia. But some of my best students are inmates.

Why Is So Much of Our Discussion of Higher Ed Driven by Elite Institutions?

It’s Time to End Tuition at Public Universities—and Abolish Student Debt.

* Following up on the future of rhetoric and composition. I also liked this one from Freddie: “It’s that mass contigency– the dramatic rise of at-risk academic labor like adjuncts and grad students– that creates the conditions that Cooke laments on campus. In the past, when a far higher portion of college courses were taught by tenured professors, those who taught college courses had much less reason to fear reprisals from undergraduates.”

There is certainly an important and urgent conversation to be had about academic freedom and whether that is being constrained by trigger warnings and the like, but the discourse of students’ self-infantilization misdirects us from the larger picture. That, I think, is definitely not a story of student-initiated “cocooning,” but rather the transformation of the category of “student” into “consumer” and “future donor.”

How Sweet Briar’s Board Decided to Close the College. But don’t worry, there’s a plan: Faculty Propose Sweet Briar Shift Focus to STEM.

Law School Dean Average Tenure Is 2.78 Years, An All-Time Low.

* #disrupt morality: “America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business.”

3 Cops Caught On Tape Brutally Beating Unarmed Michigan Man With No Apparent Provocation. Private Prison Operator Set To Rake In $17 Million With New 400-Bed Detention Center. Teen Was Kept In Solitary Confinement For 143 Days Before Even Facing Trial. Inside America’s Toughest Federal Prison.

* What are your chances of going to prison?

Dollars, Death and the LAPD.

The officers sued the LAPD for discrimination for keeping them in desk jobs. Last week a jury awarded them $4 million. In other words, the refusal to let them go back to the streets to shoot more people is, in the eyes of our court system, worth more than four times as much as the life of an innocent man. Much more than that when you consider that they drew and continue to draw near six figure salaries for sitting at a desk.

* Tolkien and surveillance.

* The TSA Checklist.

The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison.

UN erects memorial to victims of transatlantic slave trade.

* Inside Firefly.

* World’s most honest headline watch: Wall Street welcomes expected Chuck Schumer promotion.

Antarctica Recorded Hotter Temperatures Than They’ve Ever Seen This Week.

Framing China as an environmental villain only serves to excuse American inaction.

Even with California deep in drought, the federal agency hasn’t assessed the impacts of the bottled water business on springs and streams in two watersheds that sustain sensitive habitats in the national forest. The lack of oversight is symptomatic of a Forest Service limited by tight budgets and focused on other issues, and of a regulatory system in California that allows the bottled water industry to operate with little independent tracking of the potential toll on the environment.

Too Bad, That Rumor About A New Star Trek TV Show Is Absolutely False. But it’s not all bad news: they may have tricked Idris Elba into playing a Klingon.

The True Story of Pretty Woman’s Original Dark Ending.

* The Deadly Global War for Sand.

* SMBC vs. the Rebus. And vs. modernity.

I Started Milwaukee’s Epic Bloody Mary Garnish Wars.

* Photographer Johan Bävman documents the world of dads and their babies in a country where fathers are encouraged to take a generous amount of paternity leave.

Dean Smith Willed $200 to Each of His Former Players to ‘Enjoy a Dinner Out.’ You’ll never believe what happened next. But!

* Teaching human evolution at the University of Kentucky.

* Being Jason Shiga.

Scientists Discover the Reason That Indian Food Tastes So Good and How It Differs From Western Cuisine.

We Should Be Able To Detect Spaceships Moving Near The Speed Of Light.

* Snowpiercer forever: Russia unveils plan for superhighway from London to Alaska.

Kapow! Attack of the feminist superheroes.

* The future is now: Miles Morales and Kamala Khan join the female Thor and Captain “The Falcon” America as Avengers post-Secret Wars.

Things Marvel Needs to Think About for the Black Panther Movie.

Marxists Internet Archive: Subjects: Arts: Literature: Children’s Literature.

Ruins found in remote Argentinian jungle ‘may be secret Nazi hideout.’

15 Secrets Hiding in the World of Game of Thrones.

Listen to part of Carlin’s Summerfest 1972 show — before he got arrested.

This 19th Century ‘Stench Map’ Shows How Smells Reshaped New York City.

* The ethics of playing to lose.

* Today in ultimate selfies.

* And make mine del Toro:

You say horror is inherently political. How so?

Much like fairy tales, there are two facets of horror. One is pro-institution, which is the most reprehensible type of fairy tale: Don’t wander into the woods, and always obey your parents. The other type of fairy tale is completely anarchic and antiestablishment.


Written by gerrycanavan

March 30, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links Absolutely Positively Guaranteed to Help You Find Love This Valentine’s Day

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Was this a luxury? Sure. But it was also the steppingstone to a more aware, thoughtful existence. College was the quarry where I found it.

* Move over, Wisconsin, North Carolina wants in: Tea Party Legislature Targets University of North Carolina In Major Assault On Higher Learning.

Walker aide: UW System cuts are flexible, complaints unwarranted. Oh, okay.

The Art of the Deal, or the Man Who Would Be King: University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross.

The UW: Update from the Struggle.

How is it anything more than laughable that an otherwise reasonable person could believe that this shooting had more to do with a parking space than skin color and religion? How could it be that there is not only silence but active efforts to complicate and explain away something as utterly predictable as white man plays God? Any single instance of white supremacy, whether it is this shooting or the maintenance of de facto segregation in my city, is over-determined. There are dozens of “just so” arguments that stand ready to supplant a direct identification of racial violence at work. White supremacy itself is a coward who hides behind historic contingencies.

Inside Edition Used The Chapel Hill Homicides To Set Up A Segment On How To Find Parking At The Mall.

The study, published this week in Science Advances, is based on hand-curated data about placements of 19,000 tenure-line faculty members in history, business and computer science at 461 North American institutions with doctoral programs. Using a computer-aided, network-style analysis, the authors determined that just 25 percent of those institutions produced 71 to 86 percent of tenure-line professors, depending on discipline. Here’s a link to the full article, which has a definition of “merit” (as/against “prestige”) I can’t make heads or tails of.

* Being Yanis Varoufakis.

The grievously neglected American poet Winfield Townley Scott, who had once loved Lovecraft’s work and written beautifully about it, eventually came to feel that Lovecraft’s fiction was “finicky,” “childish,” and “antagonistic to reality.” But its very childishness and hatred of reality are central to it. If, as Thornton Wilder once claimed, no true adult is ever really shocked, that being “shocked” is always a pose, then Lovecraft never achieved adult status. But he held on tightly to the truths of adolescence: that the universe does not wish us well; that love is not to be found anywhere; and resurrection, if it ever truly occurs, would be a catastrophe.

* If you aren’t reading Jason Shiga’s Demon, you really should start; chapter 11 just went out to subscribers and it’s great.

The social network’s ideal model is for ads to make up about one in 20 tweets that the average user sees — the same level that Facebook strives for. “We’re well below that now,” he said. I’m sure if you keep up what you’re doing you’ll get there faster than you think.

* Also on the comics beat: The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity – one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Earth is about to meet a new god. And he’s a communist.

Universities are struggling to determine when intoxicated sex becomes sexual assault.

An undergraduate student was found responsible for sexually assaulting Camila Quarta, CC ’16, in April 2013. Since then, 481 undergraduate students have taken courses in which he has served as a teaching assistant. I have mixed feelings about the desire to use employment as a proxy for justice, but preventing this sort of thing from happening does seem to me to fall well within the requirements of Title IX.

* At LARoB, the deeply unpleasant task of historicizing incest.

To Restore Academic Integrity in Sports, Hold Head Coaches Accountable. “Restore.” You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means…

* Shocked, shocked to find out admissions are being manipulated at a university.

I’m Brianna Wu, And I’m Risking My Life Standing Up To Gamergate.

When Girls of Color Are Policed Out of School.

* MetaFilter post on the Coup in Yemen.

Why Jon Stewart Was Bad for the Liberals Who Loved Him. I’ve come around to the inevitable conclusion that this is all just a very clever viral marketing campaign for Hot Tub Time Machine 2. 

* Do humans need air to live? Look, I’m not a scientist.

Tricknology is the word she used to describe how the AHA got its way. Hightower and her neighbors wanted to see an end to the stigma associated with living in public housing. They wanted the projects to become as they once were: stable family neighborhoods where “you didn’t know you were poor.” But the AHA had other plans. It had chosen to view public housing as unfixable.

* Good Magazine has your guide to the legendary Saved by the Bell Hooks Tumblr.

* Hey, gadgets: stop snitchin’.

The Weird Specifics Of Marvel And Sony’s Secret Spider-Man Deal.

The FBI is targeting tar-sands activists.

By Age 40, Your Income Is Probably as Good as It’s Going to Get. I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations on Twitter and Facebook in the last few days about the extent to which this applies to (a) academics in general (b) tenure-track academics (c) tenure-track academics in the humanities (d) tenure-track academics in the humanities today as opposed to a generation ago. But I’ve resolved to go ahead and be completely depressed by this fact simply in the interest of precaution and due diligence.

* Uber and Airbnb monetize the desperation of people in the post-crisis economy while sounding generous—and evoke a fantasy of community in an atomized population.

South Carolina Inmate Receives 37 Years In Solitary Confinement For Updating Facebook.

“If a South Carolina inmate caused a riot, took three hostages, murdered them, stole their clothes, and then escaped, he could still wind up with fewer Level 1 offenses than an inmate who updated Facebook every day for two weeks,” the EFF said in its report.

*Chief backs up officer who shot at suspect, failed to report incident.

The police officer was wearing a body camera during the incident but it was not turned on.

Oh, what terrible luck!

NYPD Beat the Shit Out of a Brooklyn Street Vendor, Then Lied About It.

Mother Has Miscarriage After Cop Beats Her Because He Didn’t ‘Appreciate Her Tone.’

The Imprisoner’s Dilemma.

* Silicon Valley as cult.

Casting some bodies as inherently rational and others as incapable of true speech makes those with bodies most at risk for harm unable to protest.

* The arc of history is long, but: Putin Banned From ‘Mighty Taco’ Restaurant.

* Also the arc of history is long, etc., Little League Team Stripped of Title.

* Arc of history etc. etc. Montana GOP Legislator Wants to Ban Yoga Pants.

* Oh, I give up: Internet Neo-Nazis Are Trying to Build a White Supremacist Utopia in Namibia.

* All-time classic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereals, Hitler edition.

* An oral history of that scene on last week’s The Americans. Standard rules apply, do not click, pretend it never happened.

The Lincoln Memorial could have been a pyramid. See all the forgotten proposals. Wash that “good Vox” taste out of your mouth with this “bad Vox” chaser: The best hope for federal prison reform: a bill that could disproportionately help white prisoners.

Amazing Photo Of An Intoxicated Gorilla About To Punch A Photographer. Exactly what it says on the tin.

* Hulu thoughtfully removes any obligation you may have felt to care about its upcoming 11/23/63 adaptation.

* Somber news this Valentine’s Day.

* And the premiere for the improbably effective Better Call Saul is up on YouTube, if you missed it and want to hop aboard the think piece train before it leaves the station.


Written by gerrycanavan

February 14, 2015 at 8:18 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Bottomless Thursday Links, No Refills

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Cheryl Abbate has decided to leave Marquette. Marquette has apparently decided to suspend John McAdams, though who knows for how long. As an untenured junior faculty member (who has, incidentally, been a subject of McAdams’s unsubstantiated attacks in the past, as has nearly every other professor I know on campus), I feel somewhat constrained speaking about all this, and so I won’t — but I’m unhappy about the first and queasy about the second, and will be free to discuss this all at length with you in a mere four or five years. It’ll still be relevant then, I’m sure: I expect this whole tangled mess to be a go-to example on Academic Freedom and Repellent Speech for many years to come, not to mention the lawsuits. It’s a very complicated and miserable situation that seems like it just got a whole lot more complicated and miserable. I’m sorry for a campus and for the students that are going to be dealing with the fallout from this situation for a long time.

* CFP at Milwaukee’s Own C21: “Indigeneities.”

* Climate change comes to Shishmaref, Alaska. Arctic is warming at twice the rate of anywhere else on Earth.

* Hugely disappointing news from Vermont: they’ve giving up their plan for single payer. I really thought this was how it would finally come to America.

* The word you’re looking for is “racism.” Just say racism.

* But dead men loot no stores. Property-based ethics.

* Financial aid and class struggle.

* In defense of “hands up.”

In recent weeks and months, the power of the gesture has never been clearer: “hands up” transforms the visual sign of surrender into one of political resistance. Nevertheless, it’s worth looking at the complex cultural and historical work the move engages—the multiple moves it makes. As my students register, “hands up” isn’t quite the Black Power salute, given that it rehearses a moment of full-body interpellation by the police. But as one student observes, part of its force is rooted in this very repetition. To throw one’s hands up in the stadium, in the street, and (perhaps most powerfully) for the camera is to convert that gesture of surrender into something else: a shared performance that makes visible the deeply historical and split-second choreographies of power in which bodies deemed criminally other—deemed threatening, which is to say deemed black—become the objects of state violence. “Hands up” cites and reroutes these choreographies, a physical disruption not unlike playing dead in solidarity with the dead, a form of protest to which it is closely aligned.

Police Investigating Texas Officer For Tasing 76-Year-Old Man. Ohio Detective Berated Girlfriend of Black Man Shot and Killed by Cops. California Cop Tweets That He Will ‘Use (His) God Given And Law Appointed Right To Kill’ Protesters. Wesleyan University Forced to Pay Police Overtime for Protesting Police Brutality.  UPenn President Criticized For Joining Protesters’ ‘Die-In.’ Cops Off Campus.

“There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery.”

Supreme Court Says Ignorance Of The Law Is An Excuse — If You’re A Cop.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the same standard doesn’t necessarily apply to police. In a splintered 8-1 ruling, the court found that cops who pulled over Nicholas Heien for a broken taillight were justified in a subsequent search of Heien’s car, even though North Carolina law says that having just one broken taillight is not a violation of the law.

Policing is a Dirty Job, But Nobody’s Gotta Do It: 6 Ideas for a Cop-Free World.

* Capitalism and Eric Garner.

Of course Americans are OK with torture. Look at how we treat our prisoners. The Luxury Homes That Torture and Your Tax Dollars Built. They Said ‘No’ to Torture: The Real Heroes of the Bush Years. Skinny Puppy demands $666,000 in royalties from U.S. government for using their music in Guantanamo torture.

* This is one of the better readings of Sorkinism and its worship of white masculinity I’ve seen.

* Need to learn to think like an administrator? There’s a retreat for that.

* Socialize Uber.

* ASU English goes 5/5 — without a pay increase. ASU English by the Numbers. Meanwhile, you’ll never guess.

The Arizona Board of Regents on Friday approved a 20 percent raise in base pay for Arizona State University President Michael Crow that pushes his total annual compensation to nearly $900,000.

The $95,000 raise is his first increase in base pay since 2007, before the recession, and could be enough to place him back among the top 20 earners for public-college presidents.

Straight Talk About ‘Adjunctification.’ Come for the one or two sensible points, stay for the nightmare flame war…

The ‘Job Market’ That Is Not One.

* Meanwhile meanwhile: According to a report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, citing anonymous sources, U-M offered Harbaugh $8 million per year to coach the Wolverines.

* Gasp! The secret to the Uber economy is wealth inequality.

The Judicial Ethics of Serial.

This risk of bias is not a reason to question content like Serial that draws attention to the problems inherent in our criminal justice system. It’s a reason to question a system of judicial elections that makes judges vulnerable to their influence.

The Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state, professor warns. Yeah. “Future.”

Teach For America could miss recruitment mark by more than 25 percent.

* Both I Was Gang Raped at a U-VA Frat 30 Years Ago, and No One Did Anything and Jackie’s Story and UVA’s Stalinist Rules, working from opposite directions, suggest that universities should just not be in the business of adjudicating sexual assault claims at all.

This Is Why One Study Showed 19% Of College Women Experience Sexual Assault And Another Said 0.6%.

* Trigger warnings and law school.

Five Stories About Addiction.

Oberlin College denies requests from students to suspend failing grades after protests.

This past Friday, over 1,300 Oberlin students signed a petition for college administrators asking for understanding and “alternative modes of learning” as they continue to cope with what’s happening across the country.

They asked for the normal grading system to be “replaced with a no-fail mercy period,” and said “basically no student …especially students of color should be failing a class this semester.”

This actually really threw me. I think I must be getting old.

* Surveilling students, 21st century style.

* Scientists Are Using Twitter Data To Track Depression.

* It’s unclear how many people changed their views in the course of the yearlong debate. And questions remain. The most obvious one is whether the boycott has had any effect. In one specific sense, no. The ASA said it would not work with any Israeli universities, but it has not yet had any offers to do so. On a broader level, though, the vote has left an indelible mark. “We got into the mainstream press and triggered a number of conversations not visible before about Israel-Palestine,” says the ASA’s president, Lisa Duggan, a professor at New York University. “In that sense we had done what we wanted to do.”

* And they say there’s no accountability: Top Financier Skips Out On Train Fare, Gets Barred From His Profession For Life.

The Cuomo administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, ending years of uncertainty by concluding that the controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground could contaminate the state’s air and water and pose inestimable public-health risks.

* Cuba’s cool again. Please be advised.

Werner Herzog Inspirationals.

* Parks & Rec is SF now.

All The Scenes That Could Have Been Cut From The Hobbit Trilogy.

* Oh, so now Tim Burton doesn’t think it’s cool to make the same movie over and over.

Father Makes Son Play Through Video Game History, Chronologically.

18 Badass Women You Probably Didn’t Hear About In 2014.

* The Racket would have been insane.

* Reading the gospel of New Athiesm leaves you with the feeling that atheism is simply a reprimand — a stern “hush hush” to the querulous children of faith. But the problem with this view is that it drains atheism of the metaphysical force of its own position. What makes atheism so radically different from agnosticism is precisely its desire to meet the extraordinary truth claims of religion head-on with rival propositions about the world. Hitchens’s claim that “our belief is not a belief” could not be more wrong. On the contrary, as the literary critic James Wood writes, “atheism is structurally related to the belief it negates, and is necessarily a kind of rival belief.” He claims being an agnostic would be “a truer liberation” since it would mean disregarding the issue altogether. The atheist, on the other hand, is always trapped in a kind of negative relationship to the God whose existence she denies in the first place, but whose scandalous absence she is forever proclaiming — a paradox memorably captured by Samuel Beckett’s Hamm when he exclaims, “The bastard! He doesn’t exist!”

The One Character JK Rowling Regrets Killing—It’s Not Who You’d Expect.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal explains evolution.

* Congratulations, Bitcoin, the worst investment of 2014.

* And you had me at let’s bring Star Trek back to TV. Yes, let’s! Maybe we can just skip Star Tr3k altogether.


Written by gerrycanavan

December 18, 2014 at 8:52 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Avoid Your Family with This Very Special Thanksgiving Edition of Thursday Links

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* America’s Founding Myths.

* 100 New Debate Topics You and Your Uncle Can Turn into an Argument about Republicans.

* Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Police violence. Ferguson. America. Ferguson. Turkey pardons. Ferguson. New York. Cleveland. Cleveland. Utah. Everywhere. Everywhere.


Winners are mad when winning lights the shadows.

Nation Doesn’t Know If It Can Take Another Bullshit Speech About Healing.

We should get rid of local policing. Ferguson shows why the system just doesn’t work.

* All my heroes are monsters.

* Rescind Cosby’s honorary doctorates?

* “Suicide Is My Retirement Plan.”

An expert hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) argued in court that a 9-year-old girl seeking damages after she was sexually assaulted would be protected from emotional stress by her low IQ.

* It’s almost as if the profit motive and what’s best for our schools and students are not well aligned!

Accumulation by Lockout.

* 41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes.

* While Detroit contended with largest municipal bankruptcy, its lawyers were robbing it blind.

* Tyler Cowen, for one, welcomes the hyper-meritocracy.

* Anthropology as white public space.

* In praise of Lovecraft.

* The Downside of the Boom.

* Here’s the guy who wants to run to Hillary Clinton’s left. Democrats! Catch the fever.

* While he wasn’t second in command of the United States nuclear arsenal, Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina not only had a 15 hour a week gambling habit he also may have had a one-man poker chip counterfeiting operation in which he used paint and stickers to make $1 poker chips into $500 poker chips. This led to repeated bans from local casinos, eventually a lifetime ban and finally his nuclear weapons were taken away.

* What is your research agenda for the coming year?

* Just another Afrofuturism megapost.

* Town Bans Winnie The Pooh For Lack of Genitals, “Dubious Sexuality.” Finally, someone said it.

* At some point this guy took a moment and smiled to himself, secure in the knowledge that he’d covered all his bases.

SDSU suspends all frat activities after members wave dildos, throw eggs at rape protesters.

UVA has expelled 183 students for honor code violations — and none for sexual assault.

End Fraternities.

* Alexey Pajitnov, hero, creator of Tetris.

Frederik Pohl Made Doing Literally Everything Look Easy.

* Strange Horizons reprints Darko Suvin’s “Estrangement and Cognition,” with a 2014 postscript.

All of us on the planet Earth live in highly endangered times. Perhaps the richer among us, up to 5% globally but disproportionately concentrated in the trilateral U.S.A.-western Europe-Japan and its appendages, have been cushioned from realizing it by the power of money and the self-serving ideology it erects. But even those complain loudly of the “criminality” and in general “moral decay” of the desperately vicious outside their increasingly fortress-like neighbourhoods. We live morally in an almost complete dystopia—dystopia because anti-utopia—and materially (economically) on the razor’s edge of collapse, distributive and collective.

In a look backwards to my writing of the 1960s from this most endangered cusp of history, I see a main limitation to my “Poetics of SF” essay in its innocently and naively Formalist horizon. That is, I presupposed the tide of history was flowing, even if with regrettable eddies, towards socialism or democratic communism, and concentrated on the problems of understanding, pleasure, and form within that tide. Thus I seem to have felt I could freeze or even freeze out history, as all pursuits of aesthetics do: transcending the moment. I was wrong.

* The official SF short film of the Thanksgiving holiday: Survivors Of A Nuclear War Find A Secret Bunker—But There’s A Catch

* Maybe the most twenty-first-century artifact possible: ‘Sunburn!’, A Gravity-Based Puzzle Video Game Featuring a Doomed Spaceship Crew That Is Determined to Die Together.

* Cli-Fi Is Real.

The good news: There is no substantial technical or economic barrier that would prevent the U.S. from reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, a target that would help put the world on track to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. In fact, there are multiple pathways to that target, each involving a different mix of technologies. Achieving the goal would cost only around 1 percent of GDP a year out through 2050, and if we started now, we could allow infrastructure to turn over at its natural rate, avoiding stranded assets. The bad news: Pulling it off would require immediate, intelligent, coordinated, vigorously executed policies that sustain themselves over decades.

Trotsky at the IMF.

* LEGO is dead, long live LEGO.

* But really, do they know.

* Guys, it’s not all bad news: After The Sun Incinerates Earth, Life Could Evolve On Titan.

* And this blog’s most sacred annual tradition: William S. Burroughs – A Thanksgiving Prayer.

Thursday Links

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* Call for Applications: The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* American SF and the Other. Ursula K. Le Guin, 1975.

This tendency has been remarkably strong in American SF. The only social change presented by most SF has been towards authoritarianism, the domination of ignorant masses by a powerful elite—sometimes presented as a warning, but often quite complacently. Socialism is never considered as an alternative, and democracy is quite forgotten. Military virtues are taken as ethical ones. Wealth is assumed to be a righteous goal and a personal virtue. Competitive free-enterprise capitalism is the economic destiny of the entire Galaxy. In general, American SF has assumed a permanent hierarchy of superiors and inferiors, with rich, ambitious, aggressive males at the top, then a great gap, and then at the bottom the poor, the uneducated, the faceless masses, and all the women. The whole picture is, if I may say so, curiously “un-American.” It is a perfect baboon patriarchy, with the Alpha Male on top, being respectfully groomed, from time to time, by his inferiors.

* Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Gee, you don’t say.

* Who rules America? The answer may surprise you!

* Abolishing the Broken US Juvenile Justice System.

Pentagon weaponry in St. Louis County. Those sound cannons were supposed to be for speeders. The Militarization of the Police. These Photos Prove Just How Chaotic The Situation In Ferguson Has Become. Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014. There’s a police coup going on right now in Ferguson, Mo. Even the liberal Matt Yglesias. Even CNN’s pro-police witness describes an execution. They even arrested an alderman. “The Obamas danced nearly every song. A good time was had by all.” In Defense of the Ferguson Riots“Hands up, don’t shoot” spreads beyond Missouri. The Death of Michael Brown and the Search for Justice in Black America. You have a right to record the police.

* Editorial: Governor must let Ferguson be where better begins.

Step One: St. Louis County Police To Be Withdrawn From Duty After Ferguson Protests.

* 4 Unarmed Black Men Have Been Killed By Police in the Last Month. LAPD shooting of mentally ill man stirs criticism, questions.

5 Issues (Among Many) on Which Libertarians Are On Your Side.

America Is Not For Black People.

* Climate change is here: Cataclysmic flooding in Detroit and Baltimore. Meanwhile: Democrats are attacking Mitch McConnell for not liking coal enough.

* How discounting tuition drives college admissions. Really eye-opening.

When Noel-Levitz takes on a client, it takes the school’s admissions and retention data, scrubs it clean and uses the results to tell the school who’s coming, who’s going and who might be enticed to stay with a few more aid dollars or certain enhancements to student life. Their formulas might show the benefits of giving four well-heeled applicants with high SAT scores a 10% discount from its $50,000 tuition–rather than give one high-achieving, lower-income applicant the $20,000 scholarship she needs. The award of an extra $5,000 to rich kids might provide an ego boost that moves the needle–and bring in four students sure to pay the remaining $45,000 each year. That same $20,000 generated an additional $150,000 in relatively stable net tuition revenue. “One of the things that’s a hallmark of this company is we don’t fly around and give our opinion,” Crockett notes. “We always will back that opinion with data points.”

* Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson. Nearly 300 Scholars Declare They Will Not Engage With the University of Illinois.

In fact, gender was one of the best predictors of whether an article would be cited or not. Walter writes that women authors received “0.7 cites for every 1 cite that a male author would receive.” Untenured women were the least likely to be cited.

* Classified as neither workers nor students, many graduate students have inadequate protections against sexual violence.

* IHE blog post argues that basically all academic hiring is illegal on age discrimination grounds. Talking about this on Twitter yesterday I was directed to this brief indicating such claims would be unlikely to prevail in court, though in each of the named cases the college settled rather than let it go that far.

* Another great post in Adam’s continuing exegesis of Star Trek: Why a Star Trek film would never work.

The deepest irony here, of course, is that the “messianic” blockbuster plot is ultimately a story about white privilege, a fantasy set up to present it as deserved. No matter how hard anyone else works, the white hero always has that “special something” everyone else lacks — and his close friendship with the meritocratic rival always turns crucially on that rival’s acknowledgment of the white messiah’s right to be in charge and save the day. In contrast to this overtly white-centered paradigm, the Star Trek franchise has always been marked by diversity in casting, and over the years, it showed a profound interest in imagining alien cultures, sometimes in great depth (Klingons above all, but also Ferengi, Vulcans, Trill, and even the Borg). To start the reboot by actually destroying the alien culture most important to Star Trek, and in the process making Spock more human, is a profound betrayal on this level.

* Also from Adam: Genocide vs. War.

* Atomic Tests Were a Tourist Draw in 1950s Las Vegas.

* 10 Of The Most Bizarre Books Ever Written.

* A woman has won the Fields medal for the first time. Meanwhile: “Local Mom Decides Important Sports Case.”

* BPA-Free Plastics are probably poison too.

First Nation Will Evict Mining Company After Massive Spill Contaminated Area Water.

* The Martian, but on Earth: Antarctic Halley Station lost power and heat at -32C.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Columbia University.

* Can the state legitimately force you to give your children food? Opinions differ!

* NYCABC has a list of Amazon wish lists for American political prisoners, which includes a name that might be familiar to you if you went to Randolph High School in the late 1990s.

The 1979 “Rockford Files” Episode that Inspired “The Sopranos.”

* Some people just see further and farther: Comcast put customer on hold until they closed.

* Dueling Aquamen.

* RNC Condemns AP Exam’s ‘Radically Revisionist View’ Of U.S. History.

“Instead of striving to build a ‘City upon a Hill,’ as generations of students have been taught, the colonists are portrayed as bigots who developed ‘a rigid racial hierarchy’ that was in turn derived from ‘a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority,'” the letter reads. “The new Framework continues its theme of oppression and conflict by reinterpreting Manifest Destiny from a belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technologies across the continent to something that ‘was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority.'”

* BREAKING: 2016 is going to be a real bummer. But don’t worry: there’s definitely no hope.

* Evolution proves there’s no such thing as ghosts. QED.

* Ice-T’s Dungeons & Dragons Audiobook is Out, and it’s Free!

* Are the kids all right? Are Millennials Compatible With U.S. Military Culture?

* Twitter vows to “improve our policies” after Robin Williams’ daughter is bullied off the network.

* Speaking my language: Multiversity Turns the DC Universe Into a Quantum-Theory Freakfest.

* And everything you want, in the worst way possible: Veronica Mars will return as an in-universe, Ryan-Hansen-scriped sequel for The-Comeback-style web series Play It Again, Dick.


Written by gerrycanavan

August 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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