Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘fatopia

Me in TNI, Occupy MLA, Seven Short Stories about Drones, Wes Anderson’s ‘Godzilla,’ and More

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* My piece on ecological science fiction and pessimistic despair from the “Weather” issue of The New Inquiry is online: Après Nous, le Déluge. Don’t let the title fool you; it’s in English!

Perhaps Lear would have thought it all a bit too on-the-nose—but now our suicidal urges and our selfishness and our sickening disregard for the future come back to us as hurricanes and heat-waves. Let a thousand science fictional panoramas bloom: the Statue of Liberty frozen over, toppled in the sand, neck-deep in water. Hollywood on fire. Texas cracked with drought. Hundred-year storms every other year. Après nous, la glace, le feu, le désert, le déluge.

* In case you missed it last night, my course this semester: “Thrill and Dread in the American Century.”

* Profhacker has a writeup from the people behind the Occupy MLA hoax for people who are still curious just what was going on there. If my Twitter timeline is any indication, it’s fair to say this was not well-received. Personally I think it’s very hard to argue this was about advancing cause of adjuncts and NTT faculty in any meaningful way, though I can see why they want to say so now. Nothing about the portrayal of the Occupy MLA participants either this year or last year cast critics of academic labor in a good light. Bérubé agrees! For a somewhat more nuanced take, see Noel Jackson’s timeline.

* Bad news for the for-profit education industry. But don’t worry! We’ve got the next revenue stream all queued up.

MOOCs are designed to impose, not improved learning, but a new business model on higher education, which opens the door for wide-scale profiteering. Public institutions of higher education then become shells for private interests who will offer small grants on the front end and reap larger profits on the back end.

chickengodzillamovies2* Wes Anderson’s Godzilla.

But, in fact, we’ve got two grand experiments of her theory,” he said. “The first is the American South, where teachers unions are weak and the schools are not lighting the world on fire. The other is charter schools, which are 88 percent non-unionized. In charters, you can do everything that Michelle Rhee wants to do — fire bad teachers, pay good teachers more. And yet, the most comprehensive studies looking at charter schools nationally find mediocre results.”

* Teju Cole: Seven short stories about drones. Mirrored at TNI.

2. Call me Ishmael. I was a young man of military age. I was immolated at my wedding. My parents are inconsolable.

* io9 tells you to set your DVR to Continuum,the most intriguing new time travel show in years.”

Supreme Court Justice Death Calculator. I’ll save you the trouble:

The probability of at least 1 conservative justice dying by 2017: 46.62%.

While popular culture has for centuries reflected an older form of law and justice, its capacity to undermine the very pluralist and discursive openness which are its well-spring, demonstrates the dangers to which the rhetoric of urgency and the emotional power of medium and message are prone. In a world shorn of its faith in the traditional structures which sustained the moral economy and the moral legality, the appeal to simply trust in an inarticulable justice sustained by an emotional pitch which is in ‘24’ at every moment apparent, opens the prospect of legal terrorism.

* “Dean Kamen, inventor of the SegWay, has a new invention out! This one is for dieting, and it sucks food out of the stomach before the body can absorb it.” Well, that all checks out.

Aaron Swartz Faced A More Severe Prison Term Than Killers, Slave Dealers And Bank Robbers.

* And a public service announcement: Harmontown comes to Wisconsin next week…

Finally Back in Milwaukee Links

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The fact that animals were for a long period of European history tried and punished as criminals is, to the extent that this is known at all, generally bracketed or dismissed as amere curiosity, a cultural quirk.

Arrested Development Season 4 episode titles revealed.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Advice to Young Writers.

* January 1, 1946: two Marine divisions faced off in the so-called Atom Bowl, played on a killing field in Nagasaki that had been cleared of debris.

The future is bright at Monsters University. I agree wholeheartedly with my Marquette colleague who hopes there’s a ton of confusion about MU in the future.

* Traxus and Kotsko on Django Unchained. Bonus Kotsko New Year’s Resolution! Stop paying attention to non-stories.

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2013?

* Women’s gangs of India.

* The Death of the American Shopping Mall.

* The Penn State shitshow continues: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will announce a federal lawsuit against the NCAA tied to the historic sanctions levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Corbett will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning in State College, Pa., to announce the suit, which will be filed by the state.

* “I don’t think I would do a terrible job at a Han Solo backstory. I could do that pretty well. But maybe that would be better as a short.” An interview with Wes Anderson.

The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth.

Could going to Mars give future astronauts Alzheimer’s disease?

Can being overweight actually make you live longer?

* A Pickpocket’s Tale.

A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”

Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

“Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.

Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.

A moment of dreaming about higher education.

* And Jaimee has some new poems up (with rare audio!) at Unsplendid.

Why You’re So Fat

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 24, 2012 at 11:46 pm

A Few for Sunday

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Some of these I first saw at the triumphant return of zunguzungu’s Sunday Reading. You may have also seen his piece “The Grass Is Closed” on the arbitrariness of power this weekend, already linked everywhere.

* Chapel Hill anarchists occupy downtown building. Occupy Minnesota protestors occupy foreclosed home.

* UC groups endorse November 15 strike.

* An interview with Susie Cagle.

* The moral clarity of empire:

It’s over 800 billion dollars that we have expended [in Iraq]. I believe that Iraq should pay us back for the money that we spent, and I believe that Iraq should pay the families that lost a loved one several million dollars per life, I think at minimum.

* The Culturally Biased SAT: Hip-Hop Edition.

* From last week, but now more than ever: “Italy is now the biggest story in the world.”

* Except for this one: When do we hit the point of no return for climate change?

And, as the IEA found, we’re about five years away from building enough carbon-spewing infrastructure to lock us in and make it extremely difficult — maybe impossible — to avoid 450 ppm. The point of no return comes around 2017.

* Fat primates rejoice! Obese Monkeys Lose Weight on Drug that Attacks Blood Supply of Fat Cells.

* And I saw this the other day, but forgot to post it: Sam Harris on self-defense.

This is the core principle of self-defense: Do whatever you can to avoid a physical confrontation, but the moment avoidance fails, attack explosively for the purposes of escape—not to mete out justice, or to teach a bully a lesson, or to apprehend a criminal. Your goal is to get away with minimum trauma (to you), while harming your attacker in any way that seems necessary to ensure your escape.⁠

Stay safe out there.

‘Is Your Shampoo Making You Fat?’

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm

What’s Making You Fat

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 25, 2011 at 11:23 am

Monday Night Links

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Monday night links.

* After a brief flirtation with “top five” status, Brüno is back to being a box-office disappointment.

* Top ten comics cities. #2: Chris Ware’s Chicago. Via MetaFilter.

* xkcd tackles the frighteningly addictive power of TV Tropes.

* SF by the numbers. Via Boing Boing.

* Why are we so fat?

* Also in the New Yorker: profiles of Al Franken and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, last seen ratifying nature’s right to exist.

* And allow me to offer my heartiest gerrycanavan.blogspot.com welcome to North Carolina’s newest resident.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm