Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Extrapolation

Christmas Eve Eve Links Links

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* There’s a lovely review of my Butler book by Nisi Shawl in the new Women’s Review of Books. It’s not available online so you’ll have to take my word for it, unless your library subscribes…

* And I’m so happy to report that Extrapolation 58.2-3 is finally out, the special issue on “Guilty Pleasures: Late Capitalism and Mere Genre” I edited with Benjamin Robertson. Check out the intro to see what it’s all about, and then check out articles on Dragonlance, the Star Wars and Star Trek expanded universes, Sweet Valley High, Blondie, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones and fantasy roleplaying games…

CFP: Academic Track at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention, San José, California. CFP: Punking Speculative Fiction. CFP: Histories of the Future: Proto-Science Fiction from the Victorian Era to the Radium Age. CFP: Chapter Proposals for “Ecofeminist Science Fiction.” CFP: Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.

An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried.

* I thought this was great.

* Consider: Who pursues their goals with monomaniacal focus, oblivious to the possibility of negative consequences? Who adopts a scorched-earth approach to increasing market share? This hypothetical strawberry-picking AI does what every tech startup wishes it could do — grows at an exponential rate and destroys its competitors until it’s achieved an absolute monopoly. The idea of superintelligence is such a poorly defined notion that one could envision it taking almost any form with equal justification: a benevolent genie that solves all the world’s problems, or a mathematician that spends all its time proving theorems so abstract that humans can’t even understand them. But when Silicon Valley tries to imagine superintelligence, what it comes up with is no-holds-barred capitalism. Ladies and gentlemen, the great Ted Chiang.

Science fiction when the future is now. With appearances from Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken Liu, and Lauren Beukes.

* The best anti-Last-Jedi piece I’ve seen is Alyssa Rosenberg’s at the Washington Post. And the best pro-Last-Jedi piece from Dan Hassler-Forest at LARB. Somewhere in the middle is Abigail Nussbuam’s excellent piece at Asking the Wrong Questions.

* Lightsabers, by the numbers. Secret history of the porgs. Star Wars from below. Thank goodness somebody realized how terrible this would be. The Last Jedi and the necessary disappointment of epilogues. The films that inspired The Last Jedi. Behind the scenes. In defense of Canto Blight. Anti-nostalgia and anti-salvation. Star Wars without the Empire. How to Read Star Wars.

* Winter Is Coming: Climate Change in Westeros.

* How the Sesame Street Puppeteers Play Their Characters. It was only a year or three ago that I realized that on a basic level I’d still believed Big Bird was real; I had never thought or processed the fact that his lips were being moved by a puppeteer’s hands.

* So old I can remember when Sweet Briar was an inspiring story about a college being saved.

* On faculty and mental illness.

Study finds humanities and social science Ph.D.s working outside academe are happier than their tenure-track peers.

* Podcast alert: how does Samuel R. Delany work?

* Bang. Pow. To the Moon.

* Comedy writers name their most influential episodes: 1, 2.

* SHOCK REPORT: The tax bill is bad.

This Congress’s clear priorities: corporations, not children.

* It’ll also tax large endowments. Meanwhile in the academy: We Will Not Be Your Disposable Labor: Graduate Student Workers’ Fight Goes Beyond the GOP Assault. ‘A Complete Culture of Sexualization’: 1,600 Stories of Harassment in Higher Ed.

* Defund every agency that had any part in this. Murder Convictions Overturned, Two Men Are Immediately Seized By ICE. What happens to children whose parents are deported? 92 Somali immigrants deported in “slave-ship” conditions. ICE is abusing immigrant detainees with strip searches and threats. Shock of shocks, it turns out legal immigration is bad too.

The majority of US workers live in “employment monopsonies” where there is little or no competition for workers.

Why Doug Jones’s narrow win is not enough to make me confident about American democracy.

* Ghosts of 2012.

* First #J20 defendants found not guilty.

* The media wealth of African Americans in Boston is $8.

* People are using Uber instead of ambulances.

* The New York Times oddly reports on a Harry Reid boondoggle in a way that makes it sounds like aliens might be real.

* The Fred Moten century.

The Adult Bodies Playing Teens on TV.

* Monopolies are bad, no matter how much you like the brands involved. Avengers vs. monopoly.

“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas.

* The madness of prison gerrymanders.

* Desegregation never happened.

* Climate refugees in Louisiana. Disability and disaster response in the age of climate change. Losing the wilderness.

* The FoxConn boondoggle gets worse and worse.

* The Next Crisis for Puerto Rico: Foreclosures.

* Revising agricultural revisionism.

* Against optimism.

* Against being born.

* On the sadcom.

Your Favorite Superhero Is Probably Killing the Planet.

* Professor X Is a Jerk!

* The Daily Stormer’s style guide.

* Opoids and homelessness. 3,000,000 pills to 3,000 patients in two years. The Opioid Crisis Is Getting Worse, Particularly for Black Americans. What happens after an American city gives a homeless person a one-way ticket out of town.

* The US gymnastics scandal somehow gets worse and worse.

‘The World’s Biggest Terrorist Has a Pikachu Bedspread.’

* The Forgotten Life of Einstein’s First Wife.

* The Ghost Economy.

* WHAT YEAR IS IT: How to prepare for a nuclear attack.

Lumberjanes’ Noelle Stevenson is Rebooting She-Ra for Netflix. Sir Ian McKellen Would Totally Play Gandalf In Amazon’s TV Tolkien Adaptations. The Next Bechdel Test.

* “Paradox,” by Naomi Kritzer.

* The Journal of Prince Studies.

* 80% of workers think managers are unnecessary. The other 20% mistakingly think they are managers.

* It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the one our Founders built: The Donald Trump droid is live at Disney World’s Hall of Presidents.

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer. 55 Ways Donald Trump Structurally Changed America in 2017. Fascism has already come to America. Life expectancy declines for the second straight year. On brand.

* Heartbreaking interview with Heather Heyer’s mother.

* Jordan Peele, auteur.

* Dilbert: A Reckoning.

Still, it does make you ponder all the ways this industry works in service of power, and by extension those who abuse it. So many of comedy’s institutions are, at their core, PR machines. Branded content is Funny Or Die’s bread and butter. Every week SNL promotes someone’s new movie or TV show or album. Late night talk shows, with few exceptions, use jokes to bookend celebrity press tours. Comedians host awards shows because otherwise we might see them for the rituals they are—the wealthy and famous celebrating their own wealth and fame. Comedy normalizes power; it’s so successful at normalizing power that it feels weird to even write that as a criticism. Well, what’s wrong with normalizing power? Lots of things, but to start it lets monsters play the straight man in comedy sketches. It makes them relatable, which makes them less threatening. But power is always a threat, even more so when it seems innocuous, even more so when it seems… funny.

* 2018 is already terrible: there’ll be no more Zelda DLC.

* And remembering the reason for the season: Behold the official policy for destroying the head of Chuck E Cheese.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 23, 2017 at 10:06 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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CFP for EXTRAPOLATION Special Issue: “Beyond Afrofuturism”

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CFP: Beyond Afrofuturism

Extrapolation guest editors Lisa Yaszek and Isiah Lavender III seek original essays by scholars and artists who are interested in the question of what might co-exist with—or lie beyond—Afrofuturism. Ever since Mark Dery introduced the term in 1993, “Afrofuturism” has been one of the primary ways artists, scholars, and fans alike have discussed contemporary speculative fiction by people of the African diaspora. But as students of genre history know well, every two to three decades there is a sea change as the science fiction community redefines the thematic and stylistic concerns of “good” science fiction, and, in doing so, paves the way for new modes of speculative storytelling. As the term “Afrofuturism” nears its quarter-century of use, it is natural to ask: is Afrofuturism a “colored wave” within science fiction history, much like the New Wave or cyberpunk, or might its multigenre status provide some kind of energy that transcends (and transforms) science fiction history as we know it? What is Afrofuturism today, and is it the only—or the best—way to describe black speculative cultural practices across the globe? What might co-exist with—or lie beyond—Afrofuturism? Topics to explore might include, but are not limited to:

  • Afro-pessimism vs. Afrofuturism
  • Whites and Afrofuturism
  • Afrofuturism 2.0 and beyond
  • Replacing Afrofuturism; or, the death of Afrofuturism
  • Afrodiasporic versus African speculative art
  • Black speculative cultural practices across the globe
  • Inner city future projections as alternate scientific and social spaces
  • The promises and perils of trans-identities and/or spaces (national, racial, historical, temporal, cultural, social, physical, sexual, and/or psychological)
  • Disability studies and racial futures
  • Black futures in aural media (jazz, electronica, hip hop, and opera)
  • Black futures in visual media (TV, film, comics, painting, photography, sculpture, and digital art)
  • Afrofuturism’s impact on other ethnic futurisms like Indigenous Futurism and LatinX Futurism etc. 

The editors invite submissions that respond to the focus of the issue and also welcome general inquiries about a particular topic’s suitability.  Please submit 250 word abstracts, a working bibliography, and a brief CV electronically as MS Word attachments to Isiah Lavender III at and to Lisa Yaszek at by January 31, 2018.

Accepted articles should be between 5000 and 8500 words in length, including “Works Cited,” and prepared in MLA style, and forwarded as MS Word attachments.



Written by gerrycanavan

July 24, 2017 at 11:46 am

Weekend Links!

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* Extrapolation 58.1 is out! With articles on Octavia Butler, Aldous Huxley, Neal Stephenson, and Celu Ambsterstone. I’ll give a special endorsement to  Donawerth and Scally’s Butler article, which is not only the first article to cite my book (that I know of) but also a truly great study tracing Butler’s footsteps research Kindred in Maryland. Check it out!

* CFP: Utopia, Now!

* Jeff VanderMeer in conversation with Cory Doctorow.

* William Gibson after Trump.

The result is “Agency,” Mr. Gibson’s next novel, which Berkley will publish in January. The story unfolds in two timelines: San Francisco in 2017, in an alternate time track where Hillary Clinton won the election and Mr. Trump’s political ambitions were thwarted, and London in the 22nd century, after decades of cataclysmic events have killed 80 percent of humanity.

Mr. Gibson never set out to write a sequel, but the plots of “Agency” and “The Peripheral” converged unexpectedly last fall. He had spent about a year writing “Agency” when the 2016 election rendered the fictional world he had created obsolete. “I assumed that if Trump won, I’d be able to shift a few things and continue to tell my story,” he said. But when he tried tinkering with the draft, he realized that the world had changed too drastically for him to plausibly salvage the story. “It was immediately obvious to me that there had been some fundamental shift and I would have to rebuild the whole thing,” he said.

The difference between utopia and dystopia isn’t how well everything runs. It’s about what happens when everything fails. Here in the nonfictional, disastrous world, we’re about to find out which one we live in.

Wes Anderson’s latest, Isle Of Dogs, gets a release date and poster. Warm up your power rankings now!

* I’m Wes Anderson, and I’m Directing This FBI Investigation into Russia and the Trump Campaign.

* If the police do it, it isn’t murder: Inmate’s water cut off for 7 days before his death in the Milwaukee County Jail.

* Purdue Has Bought Kaplan — for $1. The weird fall of Burlington College. Rand Paul Stealing My Bit. When 51 Years Experience Isn’t Good Enough.

* CBS is apparently fully committed to ruining Star Trek: Discovery in every possible way.

* More on the Cal audit that reveals massive administrative blight.

* Tracking White Collar Crime Zones.

* The March for Science wasn’t.

* Charter schools as corporate perk.

* What’s the matter with Nintendo?

* Apple’s Promise to End Rare Earth Mineral Mining Is ‘100 Percent Unattainable Today.’ Haters! Apple can do anything.

25 percent of young Britons have lied about reading Lord Of The Rings, poll reveals. I want to know how many have said they didn’t read it when they did!

Corbynism or barbarism. Inside Corbyn’s Office.

We May Have Uncovered the First Ever Evidence of the Multiverse.

* Trump Wants to Send a Man to Mars During His Presidency. The next launch window isn’t until the 2030s, so this is a worrying declaration indeed. Here’s the plan.

Record-breaking climate events all over the world are being shaped by global warming, scientists find. What will Earth look like when all the ice melts?

* I Got Hacked So You Don’t Have To.

Artist attaches Trump’s quotes about women to sexist 1950s ads and they fit too well. Into the shadows in Trump’s America. A GOP Lawmaker Has Been Revealed As The Creator Of Reddit’s Anti-Woman ‘Red Pill’ Forum. How the Ivy League Collaborates with Donald Trump. Killing Obamacare, Again (with an asterisk). In the richest country that has ever existed. We all gonna die. And the worst news yet: US considers cabin laptop ban on flights from UK airports.

We Asked ICE About the Prank Calls to Their Anti-Immigrant Hotline and They Kind of Lost Their Shit. 100 Days of Democratic Rage. Donald Trump Has Made Socialism Cool Again. Trump supporters are the most overrated force in American politics. The Anatomy of Liberal Melancholy. Could Your Teen’s Meme Be a Red? Texas Is The Future.

To clarify: it is perfectly possible that some collusion between Trump’s agents and Russian hackers did indeed occur. But at this point, the empirical question of whether or not it happened is secondary to the deeper psychological need for media pundits, policy wonks, and the professional-managerial strata to maintain their sense of self when the objective historical conditions in which they flourished are being actively dissolved. For liberals, the continued libidinal investment in the drama of the as-yet invisible Trump-Russia scandal actively blocks any realization that the neoliberal order they are trying to restore is already dead on its feet, and that Trump is the uniquely bizarre American expression of a visible worldwide trend: the virulent, deepening nationalist backlash against a financially-integrated global economy based on the relatively free movement of commodities and people. His ascent is a death knell for an entire era and the basic assumptions about economic and political life that shape the worldview of contemporary liberals.

* Organize. Syllabus prep. The Tenure-Track Professor. Should I Go to Grad School? Ikigai. Legolas, what do your elf eyes see?

* Against buckraking. But what does Obama’s willingness to take the money in the first place say about progressive centrism, if we stipulate (as I think MY would likely agree) that Obama is probably as good as progressive centrists are likely to get? The left neoliberal hit against standard liberal-to-left politics in the 1980s was that it fostered sleazy interest groups and tacit or not-so-tacit mutual backscratching between these interest groups and politicians. If the very best alternative that left neoliberalism has to offer is another, and arguably worse version of this (Wall Street firms, unlike unions, don’t even have the need to pretend to have the interests of ordinary people at heart), then its raison d’etre is pretty well exploded.

* Disney will just take all your money, thanks.

* How Marvel Killed Marvel.

* Building blocks of our weird future: artificial wombs.

* Warner Brothers Might Have to Pay $900 Million If It Can’t Prove Ghosts Are Real.

* The AI Cargo Cult.

* More bad press for United. It’s like they’re trying to go bankrupt.

* “Twitter” is an oversimplification. There are many twitters, which is also part of the problem: my twitter and yours are different, but they can come into contact with each other and overlap, and do. We can each think the other person is a holographic projection into our living room, and the rooms are similar enough that we can overlook the ways they are different (and then blame the other person for coming into our house and acting like an asshole). But this also means that talking about what “twitter” is or isn’t, or does, or doesn’t, is a similar exercise in polemic misunderstanding. If the underlying structure of the program is a constant, the conversational norms and practical methods we bring to it will vary, radically and dramatically. Some of the problem is the latter thing: people not only use twitter differently, but they sometimes regard other people’s use of it as illegitimate or wrong. Policing other people on twitter can become particularly heated and vicious, if a police from one jurisdiction comes into another, without knowing it, and attempts to apply one set of laws to someone who thinks they’re operating in another. It rarely ends well. And yet if we keep pretending that there is one twitter (ours), we’ll keep crashing into each other and insisting that it’s the other car that came into my lane. Twitter road rage.

* Great Artists at 8.

* Oh, I see the problem: Americans don’t read.

* And I know things seem dark, darker than they’ve ever been, but Illinois fixed it. Kudos.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Quittin’ Time Links

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tumblr_o62a9nqZo81romv9co1_500* Canamania 2016: Just another reminder that Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (out now!) and Octavia E. Butler (out this November!) appear this year.

* And speaking of Octavia: a previously lost interview from 1995 has resurfaced.

* Call for Papers: Disability and Superheroes.

* A landmark special issue of Extrapolation (if I do say so myself) on Indigenous Futurisms, ed. by Grace Dillon, Michael Levy, and John Rieder.

The Managerial University: A Failed Experiment. 

How Janelle Monáe turned Harriet Tubman’s legacy into an Afrofuturist sci-fi epic.

“Culturally and geographically, EMU football will simply never succeed from an attendance and financial standpoint,” faculty member Howard Bunsis, who helped prepare the report, said in a presentation to the Board of Regents on Friday. “It is a losing proposition – always has been, and always will be. We hardly raise any money for football, and our attendance is the lowest in the country. Some of you believe that we are close to succeeding, if we just throw more money at the situation. This proposition is insane.

* Eleven Theses for the Bernie Sanders Generation.

* Being Melissa Click.

* Wrongthink watch: The Tools of Campus Activists Are Being Turned Against Them. When Slogans Replace Arguments.

* “Literature about medicine may be all that can save us.”

* …but marketplace feminism has simply embraced a mediagenic vision of leadership, most notoriously in the new women’s conference industry, where, Zeisler writes, attendees can “access and sell a certain kind of female power at a comfortable distance from the less individualistic and far less glamorous reality of the majority of women.” These conferences come with a hefty price tag to hear inspiring celebrities and CEOs’ tales about bootstrapping their way to the top and kicking sexism in the rear in stiletto heels. It’s a vision that, she notes, “erases the presence of anyone who isn’t empowered in the most crucial sense of the word—financially…” Feminism, Inc. is big business.

Global warming has made the weather better for most in U.S. — but don’t get used to it, study says. But it’s not all bad news: Chicago is better poised to survive climate change than New York or LA .

Living Near A Highway Is Terrible For Your Health. 1 In 10 Americans Do It.

* Too good to check: Tabloid says it has proof: Ted Cruz’s father is mystery man in Lee Harvey Oswald photo.

Suicide Rates Are Up, But the Most Obvious Explanations Are Probably All Wrong.

The Arctic Suicides: It’s Not The Dark That Kills You. Milwaukee suicide rates lower than rest of US.

Study of exceptionally healthy old people fails to trace their well-being to specific genes.

The Rise of Pirate Libraries.

A Scientific Guide to the Fantastical Predators in Game of Thrones.

* Abolish Neil deGrasse Tyson. But he’s got the right idea here.

* Is there God after Prince? The rejected Simpsons script Conan O’Brien wrote for Prince. Musician’s secret vault reportedly contains ‘thousands’ of unreleased songs. Prince and Springsteen duet, one night only. Springsteen covers “Purple Rain.”

Companies are becoming adept at identifying wealthy customers and marketing to them, creating a money-based caste system. No! It can’t be! That’s impossible!

EVE Online Could Become a Television Show. I’d watch at least a few!

How does a porn parody get made? And elsewhere on the porn beat: Child Porn Is Being Hidden in Legal Porn Sites and It Could Land You in Trouble.

* The new Doctor Who companion has been announced and I’m already annoyed because [felled by assassin’s bullet]

You Should All Be Reading These Criminally Underrated Comics Right Now.

Superman v. capitalism.

The Case Against Reality.

* Twilight of the New York Times.

* The end of literature.

* HBOnarok.

* Clean, safe, and too cheap to meter.

* Chernobyl as an Event: Thirty Years After.

* I never should have agreed to appear on the cover of American Legion Magazine.

* Will America’s Worst Wildfire Disaster Happen in New Jersey?

Kurt Vonnegut, Our Reluctant, Agnostic, Hippy Guru. I taught Galápagos for the first time in years this month and fell in love with it all over again — and I’m presenting on it at a meeting of the Vonnegut Society at ALA in May.

* I’ve been saying it for years: Oxford Scientist Confirms Starting Work, School before 10 AM is Torture.

Kids Play in Backyard While Mom Does Dishes. An Investigation Ensues.

Marijuana is kosher for Passover, leading rabbi rules.

* A recent experiment suggests dolphins may speak to one another in a type of holographic language that may be understood by humans.

* Snitchr.

* Definitely evidence of galactic civilization watch: A Dozen Black Holes Are Mysteriously Spewing Energy In the Same Direction.

Remembering Google Reader.

* But maybe everything dies someday comes back: Ecto Cooler returns.


Written by gerrycanavan

April 25, 2016 at 5:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning Links!

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* One might, it’s true, wonder how cultural capital has survived the last half century’s apotheosis of pop, the rollback of the old patrician-bourgeois culture of the West, postmodernism’s putative muddling of low and high. But the sociologists have gone and checked, and the answers are not hard to find: Fancy people are now more likely to consume culture indiscriminately, that is, to congratulate themselves on the expansiveness of their tastes; indistinction has become distinction. They are more likely to prefer foreign culture to their own, at least in some who-wants-takeout? kind of way. And they are more likely to enjoy culture analytically and ironically, belligerently positing a naïve consumer whose imagined immersion in the object will set off everything in their own approach that is suavely arms-length and slaunchwise. Such, point for point, is the ethos of the new-model English department: of cultural studies, new media, the expanded canon, of theory-courses-without-objects. To bring new types of artifacts into literature departments is not to destroy cultural capital. It is merely to allow new things to start functioning as wealth. Even here, the claim to novelty can be overstated, since it is enough to read Bourdieu to know that the claim to interpret and demystify has always been an especially heady form of symbolic power. The ingenious reading confers distinction, as do sundry bids to fix the meanings of the social. Critical theory is cultural capital. Citing Judith Butler is one of the ways in which professional people outside the academy understand and justify their own elevation. Bickering recreationally about the politics of zombie movies is just what lawyers and engineers now do.

* The Kindle edition of The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson is (still) on sale for $1.99. Here’s the LARoB review!

* Meanwhile, LARoB also reviews Paradoxa 26, which has my essay on Snowpiercer in it.

* Extrapolation 56.1 is now available.

Sherryl Vint, “Skin Deep: Alienation in Under the Skin
Isiah Lavender, “Reframing Heart of Darkness as Science Fiction”
Sharon DeGraw, “Tobias S. Buckell’s Galactic Caribbean Future”
Karen May and David Upton, “‘Ser Piggy’: Identifying an Intertextual Relationship between William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones
Lee Braver, “Coin-Operated Doors and God: A Gnostic Reading of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik”

Nepal After the Earthquake.

* Baltimore after Freddie Gray.

* The good inequality. Policy debate in the age of neoliberalism.

* Gene Wolfe, sci-fi’s difficult genius.

* The slow apocalypse and fiction.

* Can you fix the NBA draft?

In the meantime, we will all have to cope with the fact that education technology has just become weaponized. Arizona State is now the first predator university. They are willing to re-define what education is so that they can get more students from anywhere. If they don’t kill other universities by taking all their students with a cheap freshmen year, they’ll just steal their fish food by underselling 25% of the education that those schools provide and leaving them a quarter malnourished. The result is that schools which stick to reasonable standards with respect to the frequency and possibility of teacher/student interaction now have to fear for their very existence.

Contingency and Gender.

The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education.’

The obvious corollary is that, in order to stem the tide of tuition increases, we should seek to stabilize or increase state funding and curb the power of administrators.

Why They Hate Cornel West.

* I’m seeing it mostly mocked and dismissed, but I think the Columbia case (K.C. Johnson summary at Minding the Campus) will be important flashpoint in Title IX law. My sense is that the wind on this is really changing strongly against the feminist left; we’re going to see many of the received truths of campus anti-rape policies coming under serious challenge. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to require some unpleasant reconsideration of the way we talk about this issue.

New Simulation Shows How The Pacific Islands May Have Been Colonized.

Incredibly, the percentage of parents throughout the state who engaged in the civil disobedience of refusing the test for their kids is higher than the 15 percent of eligible voters who cast a ballot for Andrew Cuomo in the low-turnout election last year.

* All of the juniors at Nathan Hale High School refused to show up for state testing this week.

* Against the creative economy.

* What if Man of Steel was in color?

* Gasp! The Apple Watch May Have a Human Rights Problem.

Microsoft Word Spells the Names of Game of Thrones Characters Better Than You Can.

Nine Months After He Filmed Eric Garner’s Killing, the Cops Are Trying to Put Ramsey Orta Behind Bars.

“We must disband the police: Body cameras aren’t enough — only radical change will stop cops who kill.”

* Meanwhile.

* Yes please: Telltale is making some kind of Marvel game.

The Feds Say One Schmuck Trading From His Parents’ House Caused a Market Crash. Here’s the Problem.

* See, Dad? I knew you could survive on girl scout cookies.

* There’s always money in the banana stand: The Fed’s Cold War Bunker Had $4 Billion Cash For After The Apocalypse.

* Won’t you give? What you can? Today? Poetry is going extinct, government data show.

* I believe any crazy story with China in the headline. That’s my policy.

* Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.

It’s Time To Stop Treating Childhood as a Disease.

* And you thought The Dark Knight Strikes Back was bad.

Closing All My Tabs Before I Flee The Country Links

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* The new issue of Extrapolation is out! This one was put together before I was an editor, but it’s still really great stuff.

* CFPs: Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2015. Tolkien at the University of Vermont. The Marquette Undergraduate Humanities Conference.

* Dear English Major: A 7-Step Guide to Your Final Semester as an English Major.

* It’s syllabus prep week at universities all across America. Here’s a provocative one from Vanderbilt: PHIL 213: Police Violence and Mass Incarceration.

* #MLA: Every Time You Fly, You Trash The Planet — And There’s No Easy Fix.

Solidarity without Affect: The MLA Subconference Enters Its Second Year. Via Freddie deBoer.

* Give me the child at 18 or so, and I will give you the man: Nine Percent of 114th U.S. Congress Are Alumni of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory.

California colleges see surge in efforts to unionize adjunct faculty. Washington University adjunct faculty vote to form a union.

Is depression a kind of allergic reaction?

* Why we can’t have nice things, 2015 edition: The Senate’s 46 Democrats got 20 million more votes than its 54 Republicans.

Pot Tax Adds $40+ Million To Colorado’s Economy: Crime, Traffic Deaths And Unemployment Are Down.

The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls.

* Great moments in headcanon, Guardians of the Galaxy edition.

* I say teach the controversy: “Creationist: Aliens Will Go to Hell and Not Even Jesus Can Save Them.”

* Actual Supreme Court decisions: To remain silent, one must first speak.

* Dog bites man: 2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record Globally By Far.

On the 60th anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” the Los Angeles Review of Books has assembled a group of female authors, artists and performers who, dedicated to examining the faces, bodies and voices of the young girl, consider the significance of Nabokov’s pubescent protagonist as both a literary conceit and an object of patriarchal fetish.

* The process used is ridiculous and would result in termination if used.

As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ’em free.

Here’s a comic strip about children dying of preventable diseases.

* Horrible attack on a satirical magazine in Paris.

A Colorado NAACP Office Was Bombed Today. A gasoline can near the bomb, apparently intended as a firebomb, failed to ignite.

People diagnosed with serious mental illness — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression — die 20 years early, on average, because of a combination of lousy medical care, smoking, lack of exercise, complications of medication, suicide, and accidents. They are the most discriminated-against and neglected group in the U.S., which has become probably the worst place in the developed world to be mentally ill.

In Defense of Prince Hans.

Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake.

* How doctors die.

Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized.

The Suburbanization of the US Working Class.

Few things we criminalize because they are ‘harmful’ are anywhere close as harmful as prison.

How White Liberals Used Civil Rights to Create More Prisons.

Ferguson Grand Juror Sues Prosecutor To Lift Gag Order.

“The little girl come to my door,” 71-year-old Larry Wilkins told NBC News. “She told me that her mom and her dad were dead, and she was in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down. She asked if she could stay here.”

“I’m no longer watching television in which middle-aged men figure out how to be men. I’d rather watch shows about teenaged girls figuring out what it means to be a monster.”

* Gender, blah, blah, blah.

A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below 25 grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those earning more than 150 grand a year give away only 2.7 percent. A UCLA neuroscientist named Keely Muscatell has published an interesting paper showing that wealth quiets the nerves in the brain associated with empathy: If you show rich people and poor people pictures of kids with cancer, the poor people’s brains exhibit a great deal more activity than the rich people’s. (An inability to empathize with others has just got to be a disadvantage for any rich person seeking political office, at least outside of New York City.) “As you move up the class ladder,” says Keltner, “you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others. Straightforward economic analyses have trouble making sense of this pattern of results.”

Our New Politics of Torture.

The Cost of US Wars Since 9/11: a mere $1.6 Trillion.

The CIA has to approve every script for spy drama The Americans.

* Here’s what’s in the new issue of The Journal of Puerile Mathematics.

* Preach! Scientists Agree Work Makes You Wake Up Too Early.

United States Passes Old Soviet Union For Largest Prison System In History.

“Police Shoot, Kill [X].”

Visibility As Violence On Social Media.

‘Bullsh*t jobs’: Guerrilla posters welcome commuters back to work.

In Preventing Trans Suicides, ‘We Have Such A Long Way To Go.’

The True Cost of Teach For America’s Impact on Urban Schools.

* I can’t believe I’d never read this before: the original script to Back to the Future is wonderfully bananas, including the “nuke the fridge” scene from Crystal Skull thrown in as a sweetener.

* Peak neoliberalism: eventheliberal Kevin Drum says an AI revolution that will be “pretty brutal for the 90 percent of the population that occupies the middle classes and below” will be a “basically positive” development.

* PS: Drum might have been overestimating the timetable here. In 10 years, your job might not exist.

The paper makes no claims about in-person classes or very large online courses, but says that the study’s findings provide “the first evidence that increasing class sizes in the online context may not degrade the quality of the class.” And the paper says that “these results could have important policy and financial implications.”

‘Philosophy is for posh, white boys with trust funds’ – why are there so few women?

What To Do When You Discover Your Co-Worker Writes Erotic Hulk Fanfic.

Anti-terror plan to spy on toddlers ‘is heavy-handed.’ Well, that’s debatable.

67 Science Fiction And Fantasy Movies To Watch Out For In 2015.

The 20 Worst Films Of 2014.

The 10 Most Insignificant Wars in History.

A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil Into Lake Michigan For Two Months Straight.

* Our Animal Hell.

Police say at least 30 people are sleeping permanently in Madrid airport’s terminal 4 but the number goes up in winter.

In 1997 the Swedish parliament wrote into law a “Vision Zero” plan, promising to eliminate road fatalities and injuries altogether. “We simply do not accept any deaths or injuries on our roads,” says Hans Berg of the national transport agency. Swedes believe—and are now proving—that they can have mobility and safety at the same time.

* Cell Phones Don’t Seem to Cause Brain Cancer.

We lost our son to football and brain disease. This is our story.

They Might Be Giants, Again: The Adult Comeback of a Cult Band. Even Dial-a-Song is back.

* Science fiction poetry: “Sci-Fi Violence.”

Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate.

* Star Trek: The Next Generation in forty hours.

* It’s good to get ahead of things: Should Martians Pay U.S. Taxes?

“Hold for release till end of the world confirmed.”

* And the winner of the Worst Thing Written in 2015 has been announced. Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you again in 2016.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 7, 2015 at 8:30 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links! Some Especially Good Ones!

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* Paradoxa 26, “SF Now,” is on its way, and has my essay on Snowpiercer and necrofuturism in it. Mark Bould and Rhys Williams’s introduction to the issue is online.

* Extrapolation‘s current call for reviewers.

* UCR is hiring: Jay Kay and Doris Klein Science Fiction Librarian.

* African SF: Presenting Omenana 1.1. Of particular note: “The Unbearable Solitude of Being an African Fan Girl.”

* Nnedi Okorafor, Ytasha Womack, Isiah Lavender, and Sigal Samuel discussion #BlackStormTrooper.

NASA Officially Announce Plans To Put Humans On Mars With Orion Space Capsule.

* UAB shuts down its football program. Of course, the reason is austerity:

“The fiscal realities we face — both from an operating and a capital investment standpoint — are starker than ever and demand that we take decisive action for the greater good of the athletic department and UAB,” Watts said in a statement released by the university. “As we look at the evolving landscape of NCAA football, we see expenses only continuing to increase. When considering a model that best protects the financial future and prominence of the athletic department, football is simply not sustainable.”

We just can’t afford to throw bricks at students’ heads any more — not in these tough times.

* Teaching fellows strike at the University of Oregon.

* “Hypereducated and On Welfare”: The adjunct crisis hits Elle.

* Stefan Grimm and academic precarity: 1, 2.

* Meanwhile: College Hilariously Defends Buying $219,000 Table.

* Work, the welfare state, and what counts as “dignity.”

* It really pains me to say it, because I think the consequences for anti-rape activism will be dire, but significant questions have been raised about Rolling Stone‘s UVA story that neither the journalist nor the magazine have good answers to. It’s a good day to think carefully about what Freddie deBoer says here: “…it’s an inevitable result of associating the work of progressive politics with having a hair trigger, with demonizing those who ask us to be careful and restrained, and of treating overwhelming digital character assassination as a useful political tool.”

Imagine a World Without Prisons: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Superheroes, and Prison Abolition.

* Against New Atheism: The “New Atheists” have gained traction because they give intellectual cover to Western imperialism.

* The mass transit system Milwaukee didn’t know it needed. Now, if you could just snake another couple lines up the lake side… More links below the map.


* The Ferguson PD victory lap continues: Ferguson Police investigating whether Michael Brown’s stepfather intended to incite a riot.

How Police Unions and Arbitrators Keep Abusive Cops on the Street.

How One Woman Could Hit The Reset Button In The Case Against Darren Wilson.

Utah’s Insanely Expensive Plan To Seize Public Lands. “…a price tag that could only be paid if the state were able to increase drilling and mining.” Oh, so not insane, then, just evil.

* There are boondoggles and there are boondoggles: Federal prosecutors subpoenaed dozens of records and documents relating to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s iPad program, including emails, proposals and score sheets dealing with the bids that led to a multi-million Apple contract with the district.

* For $5 I promise not to orchestrate this situation, and for $25…

* Why I Am Not Coming In To Work Today.

* Keeping Kayfabe.

* And the market for Girl Scout cookies is about to be disrupted. I gained ten pounds just reading this story.


Written by gerrycanavan

December 3, 2014 at 10:54 am