Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Expanded Universe

Monday Morning Links! All of Them! ALL OF THEM

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* Of course you had me at Zelda propaganda posters.

* Special issue of Deletion: Punking Science Fiction.

* Editorial: We Should Create a Honors College to Propagandize on Behalf of the People Who Already Control Everything.

* Victory in Ireland.


* A surprisingly large number of Obama-era ICE and HHS horrors got rediscovered as if they were new to Trump this weekend. This is a case where Trump’s horror truly is as much continuity as break.

* Even despite that continuity, though, we seem to be moving to a new energy state: Taking Children from Their Parents Is A Form of State Terror.

* Fighting spectacle with snores, or why Trump could easily win a second term.

* Is America heading for a new kind of civil war?

* Fascism is back; blame the Internet.

* Genocide in Yemen.

* I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous.

* After a white supremacist killed a protester in Charlottesville in 2017, Facebook pushed to re-educate its moderators about hate speech groups in the US, and spell out the distinction from nationalism and separatism, documents obtained by Motherboard show.

* Wisconsin Prisons Incarcerate Most Black Men In U.S. Milwaukee PD Misconduct Has Cost the City $22 Million Since 2015.

* When a Nashville man named Matthew Charles was released from prison early in 2016 after a sentence reduction, he’d spent almost half his life behind bars. But in a rare move, a federal court ruled his term was reduced in error and ordered him back behind bars to finish his sentence.

* Man, 79, sentenced to 90 days of house arrest in 5-year-old girl’s rape.

* She Went to Interview Morgan Freeman. Her Story Became Much Bigger.

* This has created a problem that has not been seen before: voluntary, intentional, migrating, mobile, functional, litter. The bikes and scooters are disruptive to the locations where they are abandoned and, because they are constantly moving, the issues of abandonment and refuse are constantly cycling (sorry) throughout an urban region. Yesterday’s bike or scooter blight might be around today, or it might move for a few days and then return. In short, the bikes and scooters share a civic pattern similar to that of homelessness. Thus, in an unexpected way, the dockless bikes and scooters are also competing with the homeless for pieces of urban space upon which to temporarily rest.

* Mike Meru, a 37-year-old orthodontist, made a big investment in his education. As of Thursday, he owed $1,060,945.42 in student loans.

* Executives of big U.S. companies suggest that the days of most people getting a pay raise are over, and that they also plan to reduce their work forces further. Also, rich people are going to be needing your blood so they can stay young forever, just FYI.

* Be more like Chipotle, Jerry Brown tells California universities.

* Report Says Rising CO2 Levels Are Ruining Rice. Allergy Explosion Linked to Climate Change.

* For Women of Color, the Child-Welfare System Functions Like the Criminal-Justice System.

Now that’s what I call ideological state apparatus™.

* A new front in the drug war.

* HUGE IF TRUE: Hollywood isn’t on the side of the resistance.

* Teen Vogue and woke capital.

* Antonin Scalia was wrong about the meaning of ‘bear arms.’ I think a better description here is “not even wrong”; originalism is a rhetorical style, not a claim of fact.

* Sexpat Journalists Are Ruining Asia Coverage.

* A People’s History of Superstar Limo, Disney’s “worst attraction ever.”

* Solo crashes and burns, even underperforming Justice League. I haven’t seen it yet, but it certainly sounds like it had it coming. Relatedly: The Ringer takes a deep dive into the now-decanonized Han Solo prequels from the EU.

* Wakanda fans might be interested in the very odd turn the comics have taken. Relatedly: ‘Black Panther’ meets history, and things get complicated.

* Janelle Monáe for President.

* Conducting a posthumous interview with science-fiction author Octavia E. Butler. Your People Will Find You: A Podcast with the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network. And Ayana Jamieson’s authorized biography of Butler has a Patreon.

* This LARB review of Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland’s The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. made me very interested in reading it.

* Built in 718 AD, Hōshi is the second oldest ryokan (hotel or inn) in the world and, with 46 consecutive generations of the same family running it, is hands down the longest running known family business in history.

* Wendy Brown at UC: What Kind of World Do You Want to Live In?

* Interesting Twitter thread on emergency and the suspension of the law.

* Half the budget, half the fun: A Star Trek World May Be Coming to Universal Studios.

* Power vs. responsibleness. Politics y’all. Existence is objectively good.

* This is an urgent reminder: Mindflayers are not sympathetic.

* As Kip Manley said, this is the flag of the Anthropocene.

* And I want to believe! US aircraft carrier was stalked for days by a UFO travelling at ‘ballistic missile speed’ which could hover above the sea for six days, leaked Pentagon report reveals.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 28, 2018 at 8:15 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiinks!

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* Once more, with feeling: Should You Go to Graduate School?

* CFP: Not Reading: University of Chicago English Graduate Conference.

* What are Muppets, anyway? Monsters from an evolutionary perspective.

* No.

* The Fictions and Futures of Transformative Justice: A conversation with the authors of Octavia’s Brood.

* The Elements of Bureaucratic Style.

Yikes! New Behind-the-Scenes Book Brutalizes the Clinton Campaign. More. More.

* Dungeons and Dragons and the class system.

* Bruno Latour: The New Climate.

* Which country shall we bomb today?

* Notes on Walls.

* Against “Fearless Girl”: 1, 2, 3. And a counterpoint.

* The Secret at the Heart of A.I.: No one really understands how it works.

Movie written by algorithm turns out to be hilarious and intense.

* How artificial intelligence learns to be racist.

* The new Star Wars theme park seems like a place my kids will completely love.

The Nightmare Scenario for Florida’s Coastal Homeowners.

* The Retail Apocalypse Is Suburban.

California State University cannot justify administrative growth, manager raises, audit says.

The coming British bloodbath.

* The fake news long con: The Anne Frank Center.

The United States of Work.

* Inside Every Utopia Is a Dystopia.

* “I always have SO MANY QUESTIONS about the economies of post-collapse fictional societies.”

* The Ugly Duckling.

* Every Sci-Fi Star Map. Keep scrolling, we’re not done yet!

* Why the FBI Kept a 1,400-Page File on Einstein.

American energy use, in one diagram. 410. There hasn’t been a cool month in 628 months. A closer look at how rich countries “outsource” their CO2 emissions to poorer ones. Countries Need to Move to Zero-Carbon Energy Now–Here’s Why.

* Are zoo animals happy?

* Who Speaks for the Trees?

Ancient stone carvings confirm how comet struck Earth in 10,950BC, sparking the rise of civilizations.

“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.”

* Why are doctors giving anti-psychotic drugs to toddlers? Kids Who Use Touchscreen Devices Sleep Less at Night. Let the children play.

* A New Study Confirms What You’ve Long Suspected: Facebook Is Making People Crazy.

* History as a never-ending struggle to delay the Nazi takeover of the world.

* Star Trek: Discovery delayed again, again. Ian McShane says a Deadwood movie script’s made its way to HBO. Every New (and Returning!) Development Thrawn Brings to the Star Wars Universe. ‘Locke and Key’ Pilot From Carlton Cuse Set at Hulu. Can Batman Beyond save the DCEU? And because you demanded it!

Mystery of why shoelaces come undone unravelled by science.

* What’s the most American movie ever made?

NASA announces one of Saturn’s moons could support alien life in our solar system. NASA Considers Magnetic Shield to Help Mars Grow Its Atmosphere. Space Leaves Astronauts Partially Blind, and We May Finally Know Why. Simulation suggests 68 percent of the universe may not actually exist.

* Recycling is in trouble — and it might be your fault.

* Why United Was Legally Wrong to Deplane David Dao. How Much Money Will David Dao Make From United Airlines?

* Moderate drinking is good for you, if you don’t control for wealth.

* Nintendo doesn’t want you to be happy.

* Jeff VanderMeer amends the apocalypse.

* It might be easier to make a list of who isn’t working for Putin.

The Landmark Sexual Assault Case You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

* Put a rainbow on it.

* There’s just one story and we tell it over and over.

Editing the Constitution: Wisconsin conservatives are pushing for a constitutional convention. What are their motives? Oh, I bet it’s fine.

* Fifteen Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Film and TV Projects with Black Talent to Get Excited About.

* First protected DREAMer is deported under Trump.

* Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev a federal informant?

Trustees of the Whittier Law School said on Wednesday that it would close down, making it the first fully accredited law school in the country to shut at a time when many law schools are struggling amid steep declines in enrollment and tuition income.

* If you want a vision of the future. The thing is though. The hero’s journey.

* And just in case you haven’t heard: Capitalism is violence.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 24, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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c5zayqzuwailjt1* Angela Davis at Marquette, March 29.

CFP: From Sanctuary to Sabotage: Fighting the Fascist Creep at and beyond Universities.

“Virtually nothing about our standard model of sleep existed as we know it two centuries ago.”

* Modern love.

20 Years Ago, Starship Troopers Showed Us What Happens When Fascism Wins.

11 things I learned about academia by analysing 14 million RateMyProfessor reviews.

tumblr_om94ksmnrs1romv9co1_250* Remember that Iowa lawmaker who wanted to purge universities of Democrats? Guess what!

* When the CIA read Foucault.

* Nice, low-key interview with Kim Stanley Robinson on Flash Forward TV.

Abigail Nussbaum walks you through her Hugo short fiction nominations.
* Trump and the Myth of Nuclear Flexibility.

* Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War.

* My alma mater in the news!

* America divided into states with the population of California. Which is to say, if we allow ourselves a crudely democratic understanding of what representative democracy should be, there would only be 16 senators in a Senate that fairly represented people living in California.

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America has locked up so many black people it has warped our sense of reality.

* Exiting the Roach Motel, or, What’s the Matter with the Democratic Party?

The Democratic Party is a roach motel for leftists. We go in full of vision and energy, like the Sanders kids, like the Ellison supporters, and we get crushed and stuck in the slime. Sanders and Ellison had to play by the rules and call for continuing support for the Dems after their losses. Having played the game, they were stuck with the rules in the roach motel. Once you go in, you may never come out.

* Slavery and the academy.

* Twilight of the meritocrats.

* Palantir and ICE. Freeze on H-1B Visas. Customs Giving Literacy Tests At JFK Is A Thing Now. Deportation fears impacting criminal case. Don’t Get Your Undocumented Friends in Trouble: A How-To. Are you listening, SXSW?

* White House aide Sebastian Gorka said Wednesday that objections to President Donald Trump’s creation of a new office to highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants are “un-American.” All right, then, I’ll go to Hell….

* “Accompanied by his wife Jessica, a U.S. citizen who is six months pregnant with their first child.” Trump administration considering separating women, children at U.S.-Mexico border. Detained after a press conference, Daniela Vargas was seven when she came to the U.S. A 13-Year-Old Girl Sobbed While Recording Her Immigrant Father Get Arrested By ICE Agents. ICE Plans To Deport Oregon Immigrant With 5 Children, No Criminal Background. Immigration agents deport Houston father of two who previously held immigration reprieve. After Decades In The U.S., NY Immigrant With Years-Old Pot Misdemeanor Faces Deportation. Does even a single person with a conscience work for this administration?

* Kushner and Flynn. Two other Trump advisers also spoke with Russian envoy during GOP convention. Your cheat sheet to four potential investigations of Russia and President Trump. Mysteries of Jeff Sessions. Recusal is not enough. Isn’t it pretty to think so? The Innocent Explanation. Why Trump Sounding ‘Presidential’ Only Makes Him More Dangerous. Style and Substance. Trumpism and heroism. You Cretins Are Going To Get Thousands Of People Killed. This one broke while I was tagging the post.

* Hard to blame them: European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans.

* Four mosques have burned in seven weeks. Nearly half of the country’s Jewish community centers have received bomb threats in 2017. Today’s arrest (an apparent copycat) covered less than 10% of that.

* Destroying the planet is too important to let a silly little thing like national borders get in the way. The end of the Great Lakes. Gutting the Chesapeake Bay. Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release. Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F.

* The rich are different: they control everything.

* Adam Roberts rereads The Time Machine.

* The Feminist Bookstore Movement.

* Fascinated by this: Price of Lab-Grown Burger Falls from $325K to $11.36.

* A rough stat from up the street: Only 1 in 5 black students enrolled at UW-Milwaukee graduates in 6 years.

* Team Plagiarizes Golden State Warriors. Team Is Undefeated.

* Could different borders save Europe?

“We concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again,” he wrote. “Ms. Conway has acknowledged her understanding of the standards and has reiterated her commitment to abiding by them in the future.”

* A diabetic boy’s parents ‘didn’t believe in doctors.’ Now they’re guilty of his murder.

* Are the Yuuzhan Vong coming back?

After oil was discovered on their Oklahoma reservation, the Osage Nation became the richest people per capita in the world. Then they began to be murdered off mysteriously. In 1924 the nascent FBI sent a team of undercover agents, including a Native American, to the Osage reservation.

* 69 Cock Lane is yours for £449,950, but is it Britain’s naughtiest address?

* Study: half of the studies you read about in the news are wrong (And yes, this could be one of them).

* This is the future liberals want. Though of course the meme is good too.

* But not this one: “basically a Fitbit for your man bits that tracks thrust speed and velocity.”

* Disney is super proud of itself for this incredibly progressive leap forward. Next: Scar, Ursula, and Captain Hook were all gay, too!

* There’s nothing sweet in life: Protesting Dr. Seuss Week.

* Nobody hates college more than the people who run colleges.

A transgender boy just won the Texas girls’ state wrestling championship.

* No More Saturday Marches. While the Iron Is Hot: The Case for the Women’s Strike.

* The line must be drawn — here!

* Ethical zoo.

* A People’s History of Daria.

These colleges are better than Harvard at making poor kids rich.

* George W. Bush, with the soul of an artist.

* Massive Open Online Rubber Arrow through the Head.

* You know what? Fine.

* Statement of teaching philosophy.

* This week’s I Was There Too interviews someone I’ve always wondered about, the actor who replaced Crispin Glover in Back to the Future Part Two. The Biff episode was good too though if you follow Back to the Future arcana you’ve probably heard a lot of it before.

* Trump’s worst crime is forcing me to agree with David Frum.

* Neoliberalism in everything: “Ark Encounter doesn’t live up to economic promise.”

* NASA’s about to learn a valuable lesson about the Internet.

* And the positive reviews have done it: I’m going to ruin my career and buy a Nintendo Switch so I can play the new Zelda.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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February 28 Links! All the Links You Need for February 28

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sfftv-2017-10-issue-1-cover* Science Fiction Film and Television 10.1 is out, with articles on the suburban fantastic, the work of art in the age of the superhero, utopian film, review essays on The Martian and Terminator: Genysis, and my article on apocalyptic children’s literature. At long last, the world can discover why The Lorax is actually bad…

* My Octavia Butler book was discussed on the most recent episode of GribCast, on Parable of the Sower. (They start talking about me about 59ish minutes in, and especially around 1:30.) Meanwhile, later this spring: Octavia E. Butler’s Archive on View for First Time.

* If you knew our friend Nina Riggs, here is the donation page for John and the boys. And here’s the Amazon page for her book, which comes out this June.

* Instrumentalizing Earthseed.

Fast Forward #289 – Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson.

* CFP: “Crips In Space: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Futurism.” And there’s still one day to submit to the SF exec group’s guaranteed MLA 2018 session on Satire and Science Fiction in Dystopian Times.

* Presenting the Nebula finalists.

Inside the Brutal World of Comedy Open Mikes.

* The Melancholy of Don Bluth.

* Comics studies comes of age.

The Capitalocene.

* Purging Iowa’s universities. The Campus Free Speech Battle You’re Not Seeing.

* NEH, NEA, Americorps.

* How Trump’s campaign staffers tried to keep him off Twitter. In Trump’s Volleys, Echoes of Alex Jones’s Conspiracy Theories. Asylum seekers take a cold journey to Manitoba via Trump’s America. We Are Living In the Second Chapter of the Worst-Case Scenario. How to lose a constitutional democracy. Silence of the hacks. Trump’s Tlön. The Trumpocene. Untranslatable. Neurosyphilis?

We can imagine a person slowly becoming aware that he is the subject of catastrophe.

Hear Something About An Immigration Raid? Here’s How To Safely Report It. On ICE. Is ICE Out of Control? ICE detainee with brain tumor removed from hospital. Deportation ruses. What It’s Like to Be a Teen Living in an Immigration Detention Center. Ten Hours in Houston. Abolish ICE.

Donald Trump is unpopular enough that Republicans could lose the House, but there’s a lot of uncertainty.

On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right. 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump.

* On the deep state. Ditching the deep state. The Deep State, the Media, and the Crisis of Legitimacy.

Indeed, both sides are equally illegitimate on the popular level. Both sides are pushing agendas with no constituency. No one outside a small hardcore of party insiders and hack pundits wants either “smart” technocracy or nihilistic faux-libertarianism. The Democrats have been electorally devastated, but the Republicans are in the awkward position of being given the keys to the kingdom and yet realizing that they are advocating things that no one wants. They probably will push through more of their destructive idiocy, just because that’s who they are, but it’s mainly happening because they’ve set up the system so that it’s nearly impossible for them to get voted out — an interesting counterpoint to the other major institutional structures (the Deep State and news media) that we absolutely can’t vote out of office.

The only rallying point for genuine popular legitimacy right now is a desire to remove Trump and, in the meantime, humiliate and impede him as much as possible. And I’ll be clear: those are goals I share. The danger is settling for that goal, in such a way as to finally close the door on democratic accountability altogether.

* On North Carolina’s Moral Mondays.

* Space news! Nearby Star Hosts 7 Earth-Size Planets. SpaceX plans to send two people around the Moon. Mars needs lawyers!

The Relevance of Biopunk Science Fiction.

* Preserving video games.

* Like domesticity, segregation had to be invented.

Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research. The Trump Administration’s Lies About Voter Fraud Will Lead to Massive Voter Suppression.

* Income inequality and advertising. That link is probably the good news.

* Guys I think the FBI might be bad.

* Even Trump’s fake terror arrests are worse.

* Anyway we’re all going to die. And pretty soon!

* Rule by algorithm. An Algorithm Is Replacing Bail Hearings in New Jersey.

* Why facts don’t change our minds.

* Visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

* The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens.

* Checking in with SMBC: The Problem of Good. The Path of a Hero. How to Solve a Physics Problem. On the Etiology of Fuckers. Paging r/DaystromInstitute. Solving Sophie’s Choice. Gifts from God. And now to insult my core demographic. And that’s why I invented cancer. Don’t you dare stop scrolling, not now, not ever.

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* The radical argument of the New Oxford Shakespeare.

The Rise and Fall of the Socialist Party of America. After more than a half-century in the wilderness, the socialist left reemerges in America.

Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal.

* The ACLU sues Milwaukee over stop-and-frisk.

* The last days of Standing Rock.

‘Alternative’ Education: Using Charter Schools to Hide Dropouts and Game the System.

Grad student Zachary Turpin discovers a long lost Walt Whitman novel, about a year after he discovered a long lost Whitman self-help treatie.

* “For decades they hid Jefferson’s relationship with her. Now Monticello is making room for Sally Hemings.”

Now Arizona has responded with a new — and some say bizarre — solution to this quandary: Death row inmates can bring their own execution drugs. The state’s manual for execution procedures, which was revised last month, says attorneys of death row inmates, or others acting on their behalf, can obtain pentobarbital or sodium Pentothal and give them to the state to ensure a smooth execution.

* And I say $100/day is too good for ’em!

Scientists Say They’ve Discovered a Hidden Continent Under New Zealand. Probably ought to invade just to be on the safe side.

* Huge, if true: Millennials aren’t destroying society — they’re on the front lines against the forces that are.

Fighting Gerrymandering With Geometry.

* Radical feminism finds a way.

This is what Earth will look like if when we melt all the ice. Is It Okay to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change? Milwaukee temperature hits 66 degrees, shatters record. Wednesday marks 67 consecutive days since the City of Chicago logged an inch of snow.

Up to 16% of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill liquids every year, according to new research from US scientists.

* This interview with Peter Singer makes it very hard to see his work as anything but horrifyingly eugenic. What seemed to begin several decades ago as a thought experiment about animal intelligence has shifted into very disturbing ableism.

* Andrew Cuomo is so obviously the worst possible Democrat for 2020 I don’t see how they can possibly do anything else.

* In an age without heroes, there was the Boss.

* In search of Forrest Fenn’s treasure.

* The kids are all right.

* I hate this more than the discovery that the Death Star flaw was engineered. I don’t like much of this either. Bring back the old EU!

* This one’s okay.

20 Brutally Hilarious Comics For People Who Like Dark Humour. You had me at hello!

What Are the Chances? Success in the Arts in the 21st Century.

* Zombie cities of the Chinese Rust Belt.

The nation’s only deaf men’s college basketball team, on the verge of its first March Madness. Meanwhile, UVM is undefeated.

* Uber is doomed.

* And you can’t fool me: this one was already a Black Mirror episode.

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 28, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Christmas and/or Fascism Megapost Forever and Ever Links – Part Three!

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(here’s part one and part two)

* An interview with Chana Porter, text witch, co-founder of The Octavia Project, and actual, real-life nerd.

The Changing Faces of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

2,864,974.

* I wonder if there is a line connecting nostalgia and the condition of our country. Stranger Things is really, after all, Reassuring Familiar Things, and nostalgia for a thing that never was is, apparently, good product.

Isn’t it funny how the same investment firm always shows up at the White House?

* The Third Reconstruction.

* A Student Has Created A Gripping And NSFW Photo Series With Trump’s Quotes About Women.

* The very hottest Rogue One take of all: How ‘Rogue One’ Backs Up The Founders’ Approach To Slavery. Scorching.

* When Star Wars Killed a Universe to Save the Galaxy.

* The Politics of Nature in a Time of Political Fear.

* Self-driving cars turn in a way that will kill bicyclists.

* The surveillance state and racism.

* Welcome to the petrostate.

* “Clinton Campaign May Have Been Too Smart to Win.” Sure, that’s one way to put it.

Liberals’ belief in their superior ability to govern has never had the facts on its side. The Weimar Analogy.

* Why Are Detroit Cops Killing So Many Dogs?

* Three state lawmakers call for Sheriff Clarke’s removal or resignation.

* Alcohol-related problems are on the rise among older Americans.

* Cover Design in Dangerous Times: An Interview with Peter Mendelsund.

* Passengers sounds awful. I can’t believe this movie has been getting such good buzz for so long.

* Critical Inquiry‘s special issue on comedy.

These Utopian City Maps Have Influenced Urban Planners for Over a Century.

The Story of Lorem Ipsum: How Scrambled Text by Cicero Became the Standard For Typesetters Everywhere.

* Why is medical training so insane?

Robert Jensen has spent his career restoring order after mass fatalities: identifying remains, caring for families, and recovering personal effects. Here’s how he became the best at the worst job in the world.

* And after a whole day spent closing 300 tabs, don’t even try to cheer me up.

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Christmas and/or Fascism Megapost Forever and Ever Links – Part One!

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* I had a great time as the guest on this week’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy talking about my Octavia Butler book, which has gotten some nice attention lately, including an interview in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last weekend as well. I was also on Radio Free Marquette this week, talking Rogue One

* Another great Butler piece making the rounds right now: My Neighbor Octavia.

* A New Inquiry syllabus on Speculating Futures. Wired‘s first-ever science fiction issue.

Monday’s Electoral College results prove the institution is an utter joke. Original Sin: The Electoral College as a Pro-Slavery Tool. The Left and Long Shots. Trump Is Unambiguously Illegible to be President. Meanwhile, on the lawlessness beat: Gingrich: Congress should change ethics laws for Trump. Amid outcry, N.C. GOP passes law to curb Democratic governor’s power.

* Hunter S. Thompson, the Hell’s Angels, and Trump. Look, all I’m saying is let’s at least give Nyarlathotep a chance. The Government Is Out of the Equality Business. When tyranny takes hold. Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt. It’s Trump’s America now. Time to get over our attachment to facts. And on that note: Too good not to believe.

* Not that we’re doing much better over here: Vox and the rise of explaintainment.

How to Defeat an Autocrat: Flocking Behavior. Grassroots organizing in the Age of Trump.

* Against Ivanka.

* The worst possible Democrat at the worst possible time, forever and ever amen. What the Hell Is Wrong with America’s Establishment Liberals? Of course they are. The Year in Faux Protests. And no, I’m not over it yet: The Last 10 Weeks Of 2016 Campaign Stops In One Handy Gif. How Clinton lost Michigan — and blew the election.

* My President Was Black. The Problem With Obama’s Faith in White America.

* I am terrified about where all this seems to be heading, on every level.

Colby-Sawyer Eliminates Five Majors to Stay Afloat. English was on the list.

* More on Hungerford and not-reading. Elsewhere at LARB: Graham J. Murphy on the Ancillary Justice trilogy.

* How Bad Was Imperial Cybersecurity in Rogue One? Why Jack Kirby is (Probably) the Forgotten Father of Star Wars and Rogue One. The Obscenely Complex Way the Rebels Stole the Death Star Plans in the Original Star Wars Expanded Universe. And behold the power of this fully operational alt-right boycott.

* More and more I find the unpublished and unwritten versions of stories as interesting or more interesting than the published versions — which is as true of Harry Potter as anything else.

* Dear tech community: your threat model just changed.

You were never actually accomplishing anything by watching the news.

You won’t believe how many Girl Scouts joined the Polish underground in WWII.

Milo Yiannopoulos at UWM.

In 2010, renowned string theory expert Erik Verlinde from the University of Amsterdam and the Delta Institute for Theoretical Physics proposed that gravity is not a fundamental force of nature, but rather an “emergent phenomenon.” And now, one hundred years after Einstein published the final version of his general theory of relativity, Verlinde published his paper expounding on his stance on gravity—with a big claim that challenges the very foundation of physics as we know it. Big question is whether gravity is a bug they haven’t patched yet, or if gravity is the patch.

TNT decides that a modern-day Civil War show doesn’t sound like fun anymore. But a show humanizing the KKK, sure….

* There’s only one story and we tell it over and over, sitcom edition.

* History in the Anthropocene.

* EPA: Oh, yeah, we were lying before.

Arms Control in the Age of Trump: Lessons from the Nuclear Freeze Movement. And some timely clickbait: How would you know if a nuclear war started?

* The end of Roe v. Wade.

* Trump and oxy.

* Understanding Chicago Dibs.

* Spoilers: What Really Happens After You Die?

* Fitter. Happier. More Productive. Comfortable. Not drinking too much. Regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week).

* More news from the future: Feds unveil rule requiring cars to ‘talk’ to each other.

* It can get worse, DC Cinematic Universe edition.

* Academic papers you can use: Where does trash float in the Great Lakes?

* And the war has even come to the Shire: Whitefish Bay to trap and remove coyotes.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

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Closing Every Tab Because My Computer Will Barely Work Right Now Links

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Sorry I’ve been so quiet! Between summer teaching and wrapping up a few big projects it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Here’s every tab I had open!

* CFP: Hamilton: A Special Issue of Studies in Musical Theatre.

* 2016 World Fantasy Award Finalists and Shirley Jackson Award Winners.

Marquette one of five universities in nation selected for the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.

Graduate students in literary studies may often feel despair, even deadness and meanness, but an excess of cool seems like an especially implausible explanation. Far more damaging are bad mentoring, crippling overwork, social and geographic isolation, and the absence of opportunities to join the profession after spending a decade training. For too many graduate students, whether critical or postcritical, earning a PhD is the end — not the beginning — of a promising academic career. The skepticism that threatens graduate students and young faculty members results, therefore, not from the skepticism of academic theorists but from the skepticism of legislatures, administrators, donors, austerity-loving think tanks, and taxpayers. The Hangman of Critique.

* Jeff Vandermeer: Hauntings in the Anthropocene.

The Legendary Ted Chiang on Seeing His Stories Adapted and the Ever-Expanding Popularity of SF.

The Year’s Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories Have Been Determined.

100 African Writers of SFF.

* The Best of Science Fiction (1946) and The Big Book of Science Fiction (2016).

* Cleveland Police Are Gearing Up for Mayhem at the GOP Convention. Case Western in the News: Changes to campus operations during RNC. What’s a University For? Meet the Student Fighting Case Western U. for Shutting Down Campus to House 1,900 Police Officers.

* At least the convention went great.

* “Secretary Clinton Is A Different Person Than Donald Trump,” Says Bernie Sanders in Ringing Endorsement. GOP Establishment Relieved After Conventionally Abhorrent Beliefs Make Way Onto Presidential Ticket.

* Clinton has 945 Ways to Win. Trump Has 72.

* A Brief History of Turkey and Military Coups. The view from inside the bunker. Turkey ‘suspends 15,000 state education employees’ after attempted coup, including 1,577 deans at all universities.

US air strike in Syria kills nearly 60 civilians ‘mistaken for Isil fighters.’

* Bleeding the poor with fees and fines, Virginia edition.

* The end of Roger Ailes. The Drudge Era.

* Now, Baton Rouge. A 538 Special on Gun Deaths in America. The Tamir Rice Story: How to Make a Police Shooting Disappear. “One group is responsible for America’s culture of violence, and it isn’t cops, black Americans, Muslims or rednecks.” No lives matter. And from the archives: A Manifesto from People Reluctant to Kill for an Abstraction.

* Donald Trump’s Deals Rely on Being Creative with the Truth. Donald Trump Heads Into The Convention With Barely Any Campaign At All: Many of the numbers listed for his state offices don’t even work. Did you ever have to make up your mind? Donald Trump’s Announcement of Mike Pence in 18 Tweets. “Trump’s campaign logo mocked on Twitter.” He’s Really Pretty Bad at This. Being Honest about Trump. Jeb! We Play the Trump Board Game So You Don’t Have To. Republicans Keeping Their Dignity.  Teach the controversy: Is Trump Working for Russia? Understanding Trump Supporters: The Machine of Morbius. Back to the Future in Cleveland. The Last GOP President?

Won’t it be great when Donald Trump becomes president because you wrote a fucking BuzzFeed article daring him to run? Confessions of Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter.

Donald Trump Said Hillary Clinton Would ‘Make a Good President’ in 2008. Donald Trump should talk about Hillary Clinton’s email all the time. Here’s why. Pollster Frank Luntz: GOP has ‘lost’ the millennial generation.

There are about 20 households where she now lives. Like Susie, most of the residents in Snowflake have what they call “environmental illness”, a controversial diagnosis that attributes otherwise unexplained symptoms to pollution.

* Newborn Ducklings Judge Shape and Color.

* Small Arms, Long Reach: America’s Rifle Abroad.

Education Department’s proposed rule for student debt forgiveness could threaten traditional colleges as well as for-profits, particularly over its broad view of what counts as misrepresentation. College and the Class Divide. Wicked Liberalism.

As a result, in one of the richest countries that has ever existed, about 15 percent of the population faces down bare cupboards and empty refrigerators on a routine basis.

* Dying in America, Without Insurance.

* When Not to Get Married: Some 19th Century Advice.

* The Ontology of Calvin and Hobbes.

* Understanding Cousin Pam.

The Fight Between Berkeley’s Academics And Its Football Team Is Getting Ugly.

* A Modest Proposal: Eliminate Email.

Black Dishwasher at Yale University Loses Job After Shattering “Racist, Very Degrading” Stained-Glass Panel. Yale Rehires. Broken window theory: Corey Menafee and the history of university service labor.

* Ghostbusters (2016) and The Fan. Fake Controversy, Terrible Comedy. Ghostbusters‘ nostalgia problem. And from the archives!

Ghostbusters more than any other film highlights the growing devaluation of public-sector jobs at the hands of privatized for-profit entities operating for mercenary reasons. The protagonists of this movie spend their time removing unwanted, unpaying residents from spaces they occupied their whole lives (and longer) and placing them into a form of prison at the behest of the current owners who can get more rent from more affluent persons and don’t like the neighborhood being ‘brought down’ by those now-undesirable who lived there first. Not only that, but budget cuts have forced the New York Public Library to retain the dead as current employees, cutting into what should have been their final retirement, and the entire crux of the film comes from belittling and mocking elected officials’ uselessness in the face of corporations who can solve the city’s problems for cash and without all the useless regulation tying up the mayor, firefighters and police. Ghostbusters is essentially Blackwater for the dead, cleaning up the town of its unwanted past, making life safe for the corporate oligarchies.

* A Zero Star Review of The Secret Life of Pets.

‘Pokémon Go’ and the Persistent Myth of Stranger Danger. If Pokémon Go could resemble the best of childhood, it might have some value. What it actually does is very different.

* We Are All Queer Now.

* Did Wes Anderson Design North Korea?

How Sexual Harassment Halts Science.

Why rich parents are terrified their kids will fall into the “middle class.”

* Prepare to cry: Appleton teen makes heartbreaking decision to die.

To recap, the idea behind the Reverse Turing Test is that instead of thinking about the ways in which machines can be human-like we should also think about the ways in which humans can be machine-like.

* “He noted that further research is needed”: Women Wearing Low-Cut Tops In Application Photos Are 19 Times More Likely to Land a Job Interview.

* Penn State Football really should have gotten the NCAA death penalty.

* Am I a man, dreaming he is a Pokémon, or am I a Pokémon dreaming he is a man? Here’s All the Data Pokémon (Was) Leeching From Your Phone. Resist Pokémon Go. And as Adorno said: To catch Pokémon after Auschwitz is barbaric.

* OK, just take my money: Nintendo’s next assault on nostalgia is a mini-NES with 30 built-in games.

* Canon Police: Sulu’s Sexuality. But, you know, let’s not lose our heads. J.J. Abrams Won’t Re-Cast Anton Yelchin’s Role in ‘Star Trek’ Movies. For Some Baffling Reason, This Star Trek Beyond TV Spot Spoils the Big Twist. But the next one will be good, we swear.

* That piece I’m writing on Star Wars and canonicity will just never, ever be finished: Grand Admiral Thrawn Joins Rebels and the New Star Wars Canon.

* The headline reads, “Gonorrhea may soon be unbeatable.”

* Cancer, or, death by immortality.

Hacking the brain in Silicon Valley.

This blind Apple engineer is transforming the tech world at only 22.

Comic Books Are More Popular Now Than They’ve Been in 20 Years.

* Presenting the Apollo 11 Code.

* 67 Years of LEGO — by the numbers.

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Darwin’s Kids Doodled All Over His “Origin of Species” Manuscript.

Neanderthals Ate Each Other and Used Their Bones as Tools.

* The Films Rian Johnson had the Episode 8 Cast Watch.

* This sizzle reel from Rogue One is the best.

* Treaty loophole might let someone claim ownership of the Moon.

Should You Quit Your Job To Go Make Video Games?

* Understanding endings.

A civil servant missing most of his brain challenges our most basic theories of consciousness.

* And Mightygodking pitches the dark, gritty Sesame Street reinterpretation you didn’t know you needed.

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 22, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning Links!

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Spriiiiiiiing Breaaaaaaaaak! Links

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* Don’t miss the CFP for my upcoming Paradoxa special issue on “Global Weirding”!

* Of course you haven’t read Canavan until you’ve read him in the original French.

Black Study, Black Struggle.

* Today in the end of our lives’ work. Delaware State cuts more than a quarter of its majors. But don’t worry, we’ve finally got the solution.

Chairing a humanities department at the end of the world.

* Trying to put a number on adjunct justice.

* In the chit-chat of the checkup, as I lay back in the chair with the suction tube in my mouth, he asked: “What are you majoring in at college?” When I replied that I was majoring in philosophy, he said: “What are you going to do with that?” “Think,” I replied.

* Course evaluation forms ‘not read properly by students’: Undergraduates endorsed patently false statements in US experiment.

* Can a Marxist Read Tolkien?

Cli-Fi Comes to YA.

* I think you’ll find every possible jaundiced, post-academic riff on this story has already been made: French woman aged 91 gets PhD after 30 years.

* Cuomo bares fangs at CUNY.

A new United Nations report on racism as a human rights issue speaks to challenges people are facing right here in Milwaukee.

* All about the SF sensation of SXSW, Dead Slow Ahead. And more!

* Great moments in unenforceable contracts.

* Ten Years after the Duke Lacrosse Scandal. A prison interview with the accuser.

* A previously unnoticed property of prime numbers seems to violate a longstanding assumption about how they behave.

Reminder: NCAA Amateurism Is a Corrupt Sham, We Are All Complicit. March Madness means money – it’s time to talk about who’s getting paid. And here’s how to gamble on it.

* The trouble with people who lived in the past.

Inside the Protest That Stopped the Trump Rally.

* How to steal a nomination from Donald Trump. The Pre-Convention. There is no point in even having a party apparatus, no point in all those chairmen and state conventions and delegate rosters, if they cannot be mobilized to prevent 35 percent of the Republican primary electorate from imposing a Trump nomination on the party. I can’t be contrarian about Donald Trump anymore: he’s terrifying.

* Inside a Trump rally.

Meet the Academics Who Want Donald Trump to Be President.

* I do agree that presidential term limits make little sense, though my solution would be to abolish the office entirely.

The oldest man in the world survived Auschwitz.

* What if Daylight Saving Time never ended?

* Twilight of the Metro.

* Twilight of Sea World.

* Teach the controversy: Richard Simmons May or May Not Be Currently Held Hostage by His Maid.

As temperatures soar, new doubts arise about holding warming to 2 degrees C.

* The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go. Game Two. Game Three. Game Five. But we got one!

How The TV Show of Octavia Butler’s Dawn Will Stay True to Her Incredible Vision.

Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism.

* Take your Baby-Sitters’ Club cosplay / fanfic blog to the next level.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 8.55.03 PM* Photoshopping men out of political photos.

* Scenes from Iconic Films Hastily Rewritten So They Pass the Bechdel Test.

* Another ultimate TedX talk.

Identical twins Bridgette and Paula Powers think of themselves as a single person.

Paul Nungesser has lost his Title IX lawsuit against Columbia.

* The Really Last Crusade.

* Chris Claremont visits Jay and Miles X-plain the X-Men.

* Despair fatigue.

* Paging Lt. Barclay: Science proves the transporter is a suicide box.

The Untold Tragedy of Camden, NJ.

* At least he denied it!

J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America Was a Travesty From Start to Finish.

Scientists discover ‘genderfluid’ lioness who looks, acts and roars like a male.

* Always a good sign: Star Trek Beyond Is Reshooting and Adding an Entirely New Cast Member. Meanwhile: Paramount lawyers call Star Trek fan film’s bluff in nerdiest lawsuit ever.

* Jacobin reviews Michael’s Moore Where to Invade Next. Jacob Brogan reviews Daniel Clowes’s Patience.

* From our family to yours, happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Bonobos Just Want Everyone to Get Along.

* And because you demanded it: What if James Bond Was a Chimpanzee?

Written by gerrycanavan

March 17, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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1001 Sunday Links

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CcgUqWmUMAAaA31* Penn Gillette on three-card monty and graduate school in the humanities.

Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera.

“Use Tatooine sparingly” and other rules from the Star Wars style guide. io9 has a few other highlights.

* A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.

Inside Disney’s America, the doomed ’90s project that almost sunk the company.

“The Contemporary” by the numbers.

From a work in progress: Nomic and net.culture.

* Podcasts and disposability.

* Vice science faction: After the Big One.

Alumnae vowed to save Sweet Briar from closing last year. And they did.

* Radical notion: College Presidents Should Come from Academia.

Simon Newman, the college leader whose metaphor about drowning bunnies made him infamous in higher education, announced late Monday that he has resigned, effective immediately, as president of Mount St. Mary’s University. The Mount St. Mary’s Presidency Was a Corporate Test Case. It Failed Miserably..

The only MFA program in the US that focuses on African American literature could close.

UW slips out of top 10 in new public university ranking. Amid rough seas for UW System, wave of challenges hits UWM.

UC Davis chancellor received $420,000 on book publisher’s board. The University of California paid hedge fund managers about $1 billion in fees over the last 12 years, according to a white paper study released by the university system’s largest employee union.

* A Field Test for Identifying Appropriate Sexual Partners in Academia. She Wanted to Do Her Research. He Wanted to Talk ‘Feelings.’

* “The GRE is like taking a cancer test that was invented in the 1940s.”

Putting on a “Brave” Face: On Ableism and Appropriation in the Film Industry.

Justice Dept. grants immunity to staffer who set up Clinton email server. What you need to know about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Did Clinton and Petraeus do the same thing? Clinton, on her private server, wrote 104 emails the government says are classified.

* The Libya Gamble: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Push for War & the Making of a Failed State.

Clinton insiders are eager to begin recruiting Republicans turned off by the prospect of Donald Trump to their cause — and the threat of Sanders sticking it out until June makes the general election pivot more difficult. Inside the Clinton Team’s Plan to Defeat Donald Trump. Smart to announce it now!

* But, look, it’s not all Clinton negativity: Hillary Clinton promises to ‘get to the bottom of UFO mystery’ if elected, and ‘maybe send a task force’ to alleged alien prison Area 51.

The Official Head Of The Democratic Party Joins GOP Effort To Protect Payday Lenders. Bernie Versus the Earthquake Industry.

Republican Voters Kind Of Hate All Their Choices. 1927 flashback. Kasich May Have Cut Off Rubio’s Path To The Nomination. Trump gives supporters permission to be violent with protesters: If you hurt them I’ll defend you in court. Researchers have found strong evidence that racism helps the GOP win. ‘Not even my wife knows’: secret Donald Trump voters speak out. Is this a realignment? The rise of American authoritarianism. Awkward.

The car century was a mistake. It’s time to move on.

* 2°C.

* Another piece on the end of Louisiana.

* I don’t know that the Melissa Click case is really the best example here, but there’s every reason to think body cameras will be used to serve police interests, not citizen interests.

Lab tech allegedly faked result in drug case; 7,827 criminal cases now in question.

Georgia Police Chief and Officer Accused of Arresting People on False Charges in Order to Extort Them.

Can a 3-year old represent herself in immigration court? This judge thinks so. Please watch my show Three Year Old Immigration Lawyer next fall on ABC.

Did the Spanish Empire Change Earth’s Climate?

* The Flint Next Time: Fears About Water Supply Grip Village That Made Teflon Products. Flint is in the news, but lead poisoning is even worse in Cleveland.

This Guy Spent Four Years Creating an Imaginary Reddit for 3016.

Sci-Fi Hero Samuel Delany’s Outsider Art.

* Marquette in the news! Oh.

Sweetin’s autobiography begins with a very different two-word phrase. The first line ofUnSweetined, which Sweetin wrote (or rather told in bits to a ghostwriter) in 2009, is “fuck it.” She is referring to her attitude right before smoking meth and doing a plateful of cocaine, the night before she was scheduled to give a speech at Marquette University about her commitment to sobriety (she did give that speech in 2007, and she was high the entire time she was on stage).

* Over at Slate friend of the show Eric “The Red” Hittinger explains clearly and succinctly why rooftop solar power probably won’t ever challenge big utility companies.

When People With Schizophrenia Hear Voices, They’re Really Hearing Their Own Subvocal Speech.

Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive.

This video shows what ancient Rome actually looked like.

Steph Curry Is On Pace To Hit 102 Home Runs.

Mysterious Chimpanzee Behaviour May Be Evidence Of “Sacred” Rituals.

* Here’s a silly thing I watched: “Great Minds with Dan Harmon,” 1, 2.

* Sports corner: Ivy League Considers Banning Tackling During Practice.

* A Believer interview with the great Andy Daly.

A Plagiarism Scandal Is Unfolding In The Crossword World. Professional Bridge Has a Cheating Problem.

The Enigmatic Art of America’s Secret Societies.

Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming.

The astonishment that such things are “still” possible.

The Retirement Crisis Is Getting Truly Scary.

The Fact That None Of The 2016 Presidential Candidates Have A Space Policy Is Tragic.

From the start, in 1967, “Trader Joe” Coulombe devised his “low-priced gourmet-cum-health-food store” with an “unemployed PhD student” in mind as the ideal customer.

Reading from a statement while speaking with analysts, Chief Executive Officer Joel Manby said SeaWorld’s board of directors has “directed management to end the practice in which certain employees posed as animal-welfare activists. This activity was undertaken in connection with efforts to maintain the safety and security of employees, customers and animals in the face of credible threats.”

* The color thesaurus.

What Mars Would Look Like Mapped by Medieval Cartographers.

New York City Is in the Throes of a Häagen-Dazs Heist Epidemic.

Thus, I conclude that in fact, Gygax’s strength scoring system is actually…pretty good! But only good for fighters, in a system like AD&D where we can reasonably assume that all fighter PCs have been training for 10+ years and are genetically super-gifted. However, if you’re Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance Chronicles and are in all probability an underweight untrained or novice lifter of average height, then you are probably looking at a STR score of around 6-7. If you are a woman of my current weight and untrained, you are looking at a STR score of around 3-4. If you’re my current weight and train consistently for a couple of years, you can expect to have a score of around 8-9. Men and/or individuals with higher testosterone levels will have somewhat higher scores, but it is definitely out of the question that a 10-11 can represent an average strength in our society, though it may be in a farmer-dominant society where everyone lifts a lot of hay bales.

Every Bryan Fuller Star Trek episode, ranked.

* Secrets of my success: Narcissistic Students Get Better Grades from Narcissistic Professors.

* The dialectic never stops turning: Hope is reactionary: it cocoons actuality in the gossamer of the tolerable, dulling the thirst for change. Despair is revolutionary: it grinds the knife-edge of the intolerable against the whetstone of actuality, sparking the will to change.

* We are the second best girls.

* 20 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Your Decisions.

Cognitive-Biases

Written by gerrycanavan

March 6, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Christmas Hangover Links

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* This was fun: My Tolkien/The Force Awakens mini-essay got picked up by Salon.

* Is Star Wars setting up Poe Dameron as its first queer protagonist? Rey is not a role model for little girls. The prior texts against which this film needs to be judged are not those long-ago movies, but rather the trailers for this new movie. And bah humbug! Double humbug! Double triple bah humbug!

* And for the devotee: How Did This Get Made? covered The Star Wars Holiday Special this week — with bonus oral history.

A Christmas Carol: Dedicated to Scrooge, And His Art Collection.

* New York University is known for bestowing lavish perks on its leaders. Its new president, Andrew Hamilton, will be no exception. NYU sort of hitting it out of the park this week generally. The latest extravagances in the college sports arms race? Laser tag and mini golf.

Economists Say ‘Bah! Humbug!’ to Christmas Presents.

Phylogeny of elves finds that santa’s workers are actually dwarves.

* The death of the Wisconsin idea: Under the proposed policies, faculty members could be laid off for financial reasons or if academic programs are discontinued for education reasons, including long-term strategic planning that includes “market demand and societal needs.”

* Let this be our Christmas story. Why? Well, that requires some explaining and perhaps even a stronger rationale than I’m yet able to muster. Because it has no cheer, redemption or family bonding. It’s about power, money, greed, recklessness and what can only be termed the sort of roughshod ridiculousness and surreal unintentional comedy that comes from being powerful enough or serving people with sufficient power that the ordinary sort of fear of getting caught and having to explain yourself simply doesn’t apply.

* Call for ideas: the Museum of Capitalism.

* From Bleeding Heart Libertarians: “Universities may indeed be exploiting adjuncts, but they cannot rectify this mistake without significant moral costs.”

* What really happened in the Christmas truce of 1914? The Real Story Behind the 1914 Christmas Truce in World War I.

* The Typical American Lives Only 18 Miles From Mom.

* The strange case of Case Western Reserve University law school.

* El Niño, explained: A guide to the biggest weather story of 2015. Records smashed on East Coast’s warmest ever Christmas Eve.

African-Inspired Space Opera Yohancé Is Going To Be Our Next Obsession.

‘Unprecedented’ gas leak in California is the climate disaster version of BP’s oil spill.

* I knew cheese was a drug.

* And no. Just no. Disagree.

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Tolkien, THE FORCE AWAKENS, and the Sadness of Expanded Universes

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(some spoilers near the end of the post, though I try to be vague)

Not long after completing The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien briefly began work on a sequel called The New Shadow, set 100 to 150 years later during the reign of Aragorn’s son Eldarion. (The main link between the two stories is the minor character Beregond, the noble but disgraced soldier of Gondor whose son, Borlas, would have been a major character in The New Shadow.) The New Shadow reveals that the eucatastrophic fairy-tale ending of The Return of the King was extremely short-lived; with the Elves and the Wizards gone from Middle-earth, the Dwarves moving underground, and the Hobbits now isolated in what amounts to an enclave in the Shire, Men are quickly falling back into their old bad habits. In fact the Men of Gondor already seem to have forgotten much of the details of the War of the Ring, even though it remains in living memory: they seem not to remember, or take seriously, the fact that they once strode with gods and angels in a war against pure evil, and were victorious. Instead, children play at being Orcs for fun; the death of Elessar has been an occasion for political striving and reactionary plots; and even something like a secret death cult of devil-worshipping rebels seems to be spreading through the elites of Gondor.

Tolkien wrote 13 pages of it.

He later wrote:

I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall, but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going around doing damage. I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow — but it would have been just that. Not worth doing.

Instead, Tolkien turned his attention back to the imaginative project that had more or less defined his life: The Silmarillion, begun between 1914 and 1917, which he tinkered with on and off until his death in 1973. The Silmarillion has always marked, I think, the grey line between being a casual Tolkien fan and becoming a Tolkien enthusiast — a path that then leads one even further into Christopher Tolkien’s twelve-volume History of Middle-Earth and the discovery of Tolkien’s own very elaborate (and somewhat fannish) self-commentary on his legendarium alongside many multiple alternate drafts of the narratives that form the barely glimpsed mythological background of The Lord of the Rings. 

The Silmarillion is nominally a prequel — ostensibly it is the Elvish legends that Bilbo translated and appended to the Red Book while he was retired in Rivendell — but the published version of the book includes a two-page summary of the War of the Ring that culminates in a brief, New-Shadow-style glimpse past Aragorn’s reign. We are reminded of the sapling of the White Tree that Aragorn and Gandalf find in the mountains near Gondor, which Aragorn plants in Minas Tirith as a symbol of his reign, and told that “while it still grew there the Elder Days were not wholly forgotten in the hearts of the Kings.” While it still grew there — which is to say, it doesn’t grow there anymore.

I don’t know that I would call this material “sinister,” but I taught The Silmarillion this semester after having tried and failed to read it as a child, and I think it would certainly be fair to call it “depressing.” What looks, in The Lord of the Rings, like a fairy-tale about how good and decent folk are able to do the impossible and defeat evil (with just a little bit of help from the divine, here and there) becomes in The Silmarillion and The New Shadow and Tolkien’s pseudo-theological commentary only the briefest, most temporary respite from a nightmare history in which things always turn out wrong, millennia after millennia after millennia. In fact Arda, the planet on which the continent of Middle-earth rests, is a cursed and fallen place, infused with evil and wickedness at its material core, and the only thing to do is raze the place and start over, as Eru Ilúvatar will at long last at the very end of time. To study Tolkien beyond Lord of the Rings is to come to a keen understanding of how tragic this history actually is, how Return of the King looks like a happy ending mostly because that’s where Tolkien (quite deliberately and self-consciously) decided to stop writing. But the Fourth Age was no better than the Third, and likely quite worse, and on and on through the degenerative millennia that bring us to the end of the Sixth Age and the beginning of the Seventh with the fall of the Third Reich and the development of the atom bomb.

I’ve been thinking about The New Shadow since it became clear that The Force Awakens would be borrowing from the Expanded Universe the notion that the Battle of Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi did not mark a full or permanent victory for the Rebel Alliance. The Force Awakens is The New Shadow, sinister and depressing, except they decided to go ahead and do it anyway. I joked in the link post earlier this morning that you can tell who read the EU novels and who didn’t based on whether your reaction to The Force Awakens is sadness — but the events of The Force Awakens, as sad as they are, are really only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how horribly Luke, Leia, and Han are punished in the EU novels, over and over, as everything they attempt to build turns to ash and the galaxy repeatedly falls into chaos, war, and catastrophe. In the farthest reaches of the EU universe, the Star Wars Legacy comics, set around 140 years or so after the Battle of Yavin, Luke’s descendent Cade Skywalker wanders a Galaxy that is again in war, as it always is, with a resurgent Empire again ruled by Sith masters — and when one casts oneself into the mists of time in the other direction (in material like the Knights of the Old Republic games, set thousands of years before A New Hope) one finds more or less the same basic story of genocidal total war playing out there too. Star Wars has always been, in the EU at least, a universe more or less without hope, that only looked hopeful to casual fans because they were looking too closely at just a very slender part of it.

This is why, while I can certainly understand the impulse to complain about The Force Awakens as derivative, I really think this is more repetition with a difference than mere or base or stupid repetition. One Death Star is a horror; two Death Stars and one Starkiller Base and whatever horrific murder innovation the First Order will come up with for Episode 9 is something more like the inexorable logic of history, grinding us all to dust. Likewise, it’s true that The Force Awakens hits many of the same story beats as the Original Trilogy, but almost always in ways that are worse: the death of Obi-Wan was sad but mysterious, suggestive of a world beyond death which the Jedi could access, while the death of The Force Awakens‘s version of Obi-Wan is not only brutally material but visceral, and permanent, as far as we have any reason to believe right now. The loss of Alderaan is sad, but the loss of what appears to be the entire institutional apparatus of the resurgent Republic is unthinkably devastating; aside from the loss of life it would take decades for the Galaxy to recover from such an event, even if they weren’t having to fight off the First Order while doing it. The film is extremely vague about the relationship between the Republic and “the Resistance,” but it appears to be a proxy guerrilla war against the First Order fought inside their own territory, secretly funded by the Republic — and prosecuted by Leia, Akbar, Nien Nunb, and all our heroes from the first movies, whose lives are now revealed as permanently deformed by a forever war they can never put down or escape. (If you want to ask me where Lando is, I think he said “good enough” after Endor and walked away, and that sort of makes me hope they never find him, never drag him back into it.) It’s horrible to lose a parent to addiction, or to mental illness, or to ordinary everyday cruelty, however you want to allegorize Vader’s betrayal of his children — but how much worse would it be to lose a child to it, how much worse would such a thing taint every aspect of your life and poison all your joy.

That Star Wars implies a world of sorrow belied by the spectacle of Jedi‘s happy ending isn’t a surprise to me — I told you, I read the EU books — but I can see why it’s a surprise to someone whose last memory of these people is smiles, a fireworks display, hugs, and a picnic. Return of the Jedi never asked us what we thought would happen when those people woke up the next morning and the Empire still had 90% of its guns, ships, territory, generals, and soldiers, ready to descend into vicious, scorched-earth fanaticism as they slid into defeat; it just wasn’t that kind of story. The Force Awakens is that kind of story, and I find that interesting enough to be excited about 8 and 9, to see where they try to take this story now that it turns out fairy-tales aren’t real and that deeply entrenched totalitarian systems don’t have exhaust ports, trench runs, or single points of failure. So I think the emerging critical consensus that The Force Awakens infantilizes its audience by re-presenting us with the same images we all saw as children is actually deeply wrong: The Force Awakens condemns Luke, Leia, and Han to actually live inside history, rather than transcend it, and it condemns us too.

Christmas Eve Eve Links

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* I was on On Point on NPR last week to talk about Star Wars. How to tell if someone read the EU novels. What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars. Medieval Star Wars. Smash the Force. Humorless Marxist Reviews: The Force Awakens. Starkiller Base: The Contractor Memos. Star Wars as Pastiche. “We now have something like proof that life for the average citizen in the Star Wars universe would have been better off if the rebellion had failed.” The Force Awakens as Jedi rewrite. Star Wars and the monomyth of Silicon Valley. George Lucas’s Secret Weapon. The only element that actually got me excited about what another galaxy might look and feel like was Rey’s instant bread. We Need to Make Room For This Gingerbread Darth Vader in the Smithsonian. This Lifesize BB-8 Cake Is Almost Too Beautiful To Eat. ‘Star Wars,’ if it were directed by Ken Burns. #WheresRey. An inversion of stakes so monstrous that it makes the film actually despicable. Please Stop Spreading This Nonsense that Rey From Star Wars Is a “Mary Sue.” Anyway, it did okay. And from the archives: “Hobbits in Space,” 1977.

* Another classic 1980s property gets a dark, gritty reboot.

* MLA Watch: 10 Years Gone But Change Goes On: Octavia E. Butler’s Public Legacy.

* A nine-month, non-tenure position teaching “What Is The Good Life?” to up to six hundred students. I’m not sure I know what the good life is but I think I can rule out at least one thing.

Here’s Why the SpaceX Rocket Landing Is Such a Big Deal.

What It’s Like to Be Noam Chomsky’s Assistant.

The case for determinism has two basic parts, material affordances and ideological construction (also called social construction).

In short, Orcs aren’t monsters. We are.

Better Management Through Belles Lettres.

* Pete Seeger’s FBI File.

Simon Pegg ‘Didn’t Love’ the ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Trailer, Asks Fans to ‘Hang in There.’

The Environmental Toll of a Netflix Binge: The data centers that support the Internet use a huge amount of energy.

* “yes Virginia, there is a left-wing reform movement.”

* World’s largest Star Wars cosplay association says new Star Wars villains are not evil enough.

* Marquette falls behind its peer institutions.

As part of their early schooling, Indonesians in the Soeharto era were deliberately traumatized by the state.

That’s right. The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to—while at the same time obscuring—the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.

* Against The Hateful Eight.

Would you support or oppose bombing Agrabah?

* Racebending Hermione, now canon.

Historians often undermine the hopes that activists live on.

* SNL: Meet Your Second Wife.

The Star Wars Holiday Special Was The Worst Thing on Television Ever. Look for it on How Did This Get Made? this week.

* Immediately greenlit: Quentin Tarantino Almost Made A Luke Cage Movie And Wants To Create His Own Superhero.

* And I say teach the controversy: ‘Bleeding’ Communion Wafer Caused By Mold, Not A Miracle.

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Star Wars Day Links! Yay!

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* A brief history of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Star Wars Minus Star Wars. Is Luke Skywalker of ‘Star Wars’ inspired by Wisconsin war hero? Star Wars and Jihad. May the toys be with you. Me talking Star Wars at Salon. The only review I read, which seems 100% right to me (very light spoilers).

They Might Be Giants Look Back on Every Album They’ve Ever Made.

* This is maybe the most “Cold War” story of all time.

My suggestion was quite simple: Put that needed code number in a little capsule, and then implant that capsule right next to the heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a big, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being. The President says, “George, I’m sorry but tens of millions must die.” He has to look at someone and realize what death is—what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It’s reality brought home.

When I suggested this to friends in the Pentagon they said, “My God, that’s terrible. Having to kill someone would distort the President’s judgment. He might never push the button.“

* Running the Red Cross like a business.

* This seems true, at least as FYE as it is usually conceived goes, but all the same it’s not necessarily a great argument for FYE practitioners to make.

The Humanities as Service Departments: Facing the Budget Logic.

“If tenured faculty teaching high-demand courses can be fired without cause, as they were at St. Rose, then tenure no longer exists,” Lemieux said.

UMass brass cash in despite budget woes.

* 10 Revealing Tidbits We Found in Football Coaches’ Contracts.

* The law school collapse continues.

Milwaukee’s Push to Move the Homeless From the Streets Into Permanent Housing. U.S. Department of Justice agrees to review Milwaukee police. Milwaukee to pay $5 million to settle suits over illegal strip searches.

Today NASA Begins to Take New Astronaut Applications. Do You Qualify?

* My life story: Tsundoku.

* Yet another trailer: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The Trouble With Calling Jessica Jones an ‘Antihero.’ Show Me a Hero: Thoughts on Jessica Jones.

* Academic librarians: what do they do all day?

* Sylvia Plath — you know, for kids.

Where the jobs are(n’t), 2015. The other me who went to grad school in philosophy instead is pretty unhappy right now.

People Who Curse Have Better Fucking Vocabularies, According to Science.

The DEA warns that drugs are funding terror. An examination of cases raises questions about whether the agency is stopping threats or staging them.

* Followup: Report: Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Mystery Buyer Is Right-Wing Billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

* Another followup, from years back: Cop Who Sought Photos of Teen’s Erection in Sexting Case Commits Suicide Moments Before Arrest.

* I understand why they made the decision they made, but I don’t think this paradigm is really sustainable: All LA Schools Closed After Hoax Threat.

* An Unbelievable Story of Rape. Difficult but very powerful read.

A record 409 scripted TV series were produced this year, according to FX. Almost too many, don’t you think?

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal doing the Lord’s work on Schrödinger’s cat. BONUS.

Hear 6 Classic Philip K. Dick Stories Adapted as Vintage Radio Plays.

The Strangest, Most Spectacular Bridge Collapse (And How We Got It Wrong).

* Did the utopian pirate nation of Libertatia ever really exist?

* And your daily dose of total institutional breakdown: Embattled state’s attorney refused to prosecute cop who admitted to perjury. Prosecutors have hijacked America’s criminal justice system while no one was looking. LAPD found no bias in all 1356 complaints filed against officers. And maybe the worst just in sheer audacity: Denmark passes law to seize jewelry from refugees to cover expenses.

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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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