Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘existential threats

Tuesday Night Links!

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* AHCA/BCRA is dead but Obamacare repeal is still alive. The past 24 hours in health care, explained. They’ve already moved past “repeal and delay” to let make Obamacare fail.”

* Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, is hurtling toward his first fiasco. Second when you remember Batman v. Superman.

* Trump, Putin had second, undisclosed talk at G-20. Donald Trump Jr. Met Russian Accused of Laundering $1.4 Billion.

* Even Wormtongue’s looking for the exits: Christie: ‘Probably against the law’ to get opposition research from Russia.

* Trump’s Air War Has Already Killed More Than 2,000 Civilians. 12 civilians a day.

“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas. Very good piece, as is to be expected from Rortybomb.

Bernie Sanders needs a protégé.

What happens to local news when there is no local media to cover it?

The city needs to do more to minimize arrests. District attorneys can take the lead by refusing to prosecute most, if not all, of these cases.

* Aaron Bady on Game of Thrones as it enters its final stretch.

This is a problem that afflicts Westeros as a whole. In a world where “everywhere…they hurt little girls,” as Cersei reminded Oberyn, the limits to rational knowledge are something only those who have been hurt seem to understand. Sansa doesn’t know the military stuff—her father never allowed her to learn—but she knows what Jon seems not to, that Cersei is a nightmarish vortex of danger for them, and that she will find a way. Jon is complacent about the south, but Sansa knows what he doesn’t: the Lannisters might be broke and outnumbered and beset on all sides, but the machinations of the plot will not allow them to fall, not yet. (And she is right, they will). Meanwhile Cersei knows what her brother doesn’t seem to know, that troop numbers and logistics and gold are not so important in a world where Euron Greyjoy can have his best ships stolen but still somehow show up with an armada of a thousand ships. But it’s not because they’re women that they know something that men don’t know, or not precisely that: having had their worlds destroyed around them—having had the unthinkable and unspeakable happen to them—they have brought out of their experiences a useful skepticism about the things that people think they know, in their security. It’s because Jon and Jaime only know what they know, and are satisfied with it, that their knowledge has limits. The world makes sense to them, as the patriarchy does for patriarchs.

* Iron Man says Ultron is an existential threat to humanity.

* The Rise and Fall of F. Lee Bailey, the Lawyer Who Set O.J. Simpson Free.

* 355 issues of sci-fi golden age magazine Galaxy are now available at The Internet Archive.

* The cure came too late for me, alas.

* Being Jar Jar Binks.

* No.

* A new study of harassment of graduate students by faculty members suggests that the problem is worse — both in level of offense and prevalence of repeat offenders — than many believe.

* And No One Looks Good in the Ugly Drama Surrounding Kermit the Frog’s Firing. No, I don’t expect anyone would…

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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