Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘finance capital

Sunday Morning Links!

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Because Saturday Night Links just weren’t enough.

Catching Up With the Next Generation of Sci-Fi Writers at the Village Voice.

My name is Wil Wheaton. I Live With Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety. I Am Not Ashamed.

* Diversify your workforce the Marvel way!

“We’re 100 percent committed to diversity…Marvel is the world outside your window and we want not only our characters but our creative talent to reflect that world and it hasn’t been an easy road to be honest with you. Going back to the 60s when Marvel were created it was created by a number of white men here in New York City who were working in our studio… But now, we do not have any artists that work in Marvel. All our writers and artists work — are freelancers that live around the world so our talent base has diversified almost more quickly than our character base has.”

Accountancy used to be boring – and safe. But today it’s neither. Have the ‘big four’ firms become too cosy with the system they’re supposed to be keeping in check? The financial scandal no one is talking about.

The implications of this authority are breathtaking. Trump, in their view, has unlimited control to open or close any federal investigation. Meanwhile, they keep openly admitting obstruction, and nothing matters.

During one December 2013 hearing, still available online, Scott questioned an applicant about illegally voting after his release from prison. When the man replied he voted for Scott, the governor chuckled and, seconds later, granted his voting rights.

* I used to be a 911 dispatcher. I had to respond to racist calls every day.

Families of Four of Eight Students Killed in Santa Fe Shooting Are Suing Gunman’s Parents.

* Hacking the mosquito.

* “The most common complaint I receive from students and faculty members is that we don’t have enough administrators.”

“All of the theoretical work that’s been done since the 1970s has not produced a single successful prediction,” says Neil Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. “That’s a very shocking state of affairs.” Say what you will about critical theory in the humanities, it’s predicted just about everything that’s happened since…

The one thing that we can I think be sure of is that if we get a signal, we will know it’s an artificial signal [and not from an astronomical source]. And then we’ll know that we are not alone. Will we ever be able to understand it? I don’t know. The researchers who study alien linguistics.

The Soviets’ secret map of Seattle tells a lot about us.

* Itsa me!

* And I’d at least give it a watch.

#SFRA2017-turday Links!

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* Keep watching #SFRA2017! It’s been a great conference. And it contains gems like this. Two other little theoretical highlights from my scattered live-tweeting:

* The audio from last week’s Octavia Butler conference at the Huntington is now up at Soundcloud. I’m track 7!

* American U scholar says provost cherry-picked negative student ratings of her teaching to deny her a promotion.

* Sci-Fi Legend Samuel R. Delany Doesn’t Play Favorites.

Will losing health insurance mean more US deaths? Experts say yes. Republicans Left Ron Johnson for Dead Last Year, Now He Could Kill Their Health Care Bill. Crowdfunding is the Sad, Dark Future of Healthcare.

* Trump’s Twitter and the judgment of history. Bill to create panel that could remove Trump from office quietly picks up Democratic support.

The Internet Is Actually Controlled By 14 People Who Hold 7 Secret Keys.

After the president’s tweet, I must withdraw my support for everything but his agenda.

* Getting closer and closer to the point where Republicans say it was good that Trump colluded with Putin. This is 100% guaranteed and will be the official position of Your Dad in six months.

* More on the voter suppression commission.

The Trump Administration Is Using Immigrant Children as Bait to Deport Their Parents. Afghanistan’s All-Girl Robotics Team Can’t Get Visas To The US.

* Why isn’t Kirsten Gillibrand running for president? Or is she?

* The moral code of Chinese sex workers.

* Training self-driving cars to algorithmically respond to road conditions in Southern California and confusing that for artificial intelligence is going to get people everywhere else killed.

* The Wonder Woman century.

* Twilight of the Internet.

* Political correctness is destroying this country’s cultural heritage.

* When someone says something mean to me. The kids just call it “Twitter.” And I want your secret.

Weekend Links! Catch Them All!

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* SFFTV CFP: “Stephen King’s Science Fiction.”

* Pluto, everybody!

To shill a mockingbird: How a manuscript’s discovery became Harper Lee’s ‘new’ novel. And now everyone’s super mad.

* From the archives! Radical Socialist Movement Ends After Three Semesters.

* Against TurnItIn.

University Rolls Out Adblock Plus, Saves 40 Percent Network Bandwidth.

* Innovation leaves structures intact, developing new processes to monetize the dysfunctional systems we already have.

* The Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association has recommended that the organization ban psychologists from taking part in interrogations conducted by the military or intelligence services, a prohibition long sought by critics of the APA’s involvement with a Central Intelligence Agency program, widely viewed as practicing torture, under the administration of President George W. Bush.

* The book argues that media theory (like science fiction) is often theology by other means, and my insistence on deep technicity, like all basic visions of the human estate, inevitably has religious resonances.

Science Fiction, Climate Change, and the Future.

* Sci-Fi Has Been Prepping Us for an Alien Invasion for Years.

So here’s the challenge for women’s professional tennis: is it a sport, or is it a modeling agency?

* Robots Might Save the Humanities. Probably not though.

* That ‘Volunteer Professor’ Ad.

Fear of a Scott Walker presidency.

* “Academic Unfreedom in America: Rethinking the University as a Democratic Public Sphere.”

* A Radical Vatican?

* The paradox of the underperforming professor.

These 20 schools are responsible for a fifth of all graduate school debt.

* Student debt and crisis.

* On Spinsters.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* If you want a vision of March 14, 2005.

* Here’s the crayons you shouldn’t let your kids draw with if you don’t want them to eat asbestos.

“Children’s playtime should be filled with fun, not asbestos,” the two senators said. “We need greater access to information about where asbestos is present in products children and families use every day.”

And this used to be a free country.

Why I No Longer Eat Watermelon, or How a Racist Email Caused Me to Leave Graduate School. I was nauseous reading this, on behalf of all parties.

* A study from the New York Federal Reserve claims that for every new dollar in federal student loans, tuition goes up 65 cents.

* Bad Math and a Coming Public Pension Crisis.

* The end of Greece.

* Hope from Brazil.

* Well, that’s not allowed: Undocumented Moms: Texas Is Denying Birth Certificates To Our U.S.-Born Kids.

* The FBI targeted MAD magazine.

* “US pilot flushed bullets down a toilet on flight to Germany.”

* “Police subpoenaed the Title IX records of the hearing and were able to use that as evidence against the student.”

* This ain’t good either.

The Hopeful, Heartbreaking Ads Placed by Formerly Enslaved People in Search of Lost Family.

* Its website was created by Career Excuse, a service which, for a fee, provides job-seeking customers with verifiable references from nonexistent companies. While the companies have phone numbers, websites and mailboxes manned by Career Excuse, they don’t conduct any actual business, besides verifying the great work done by employees they’ve never really had.

* Washington Post Writer Who Accused Amy Schumer Of Racism Never Saw Her Standup or TV Show.

* Firefly spawns its own Galaxy Quest.

* Probably the darkest thing I’ve ever posted: “More men have walked on the moon than been Ronald McDonald.”

* A Lego-Friendly Prosthetic Arm Lets Kids Build Their Own Attachments.

* Point: “The green case for fracking.”

* Counterpoint: California Has No Idea What’s In Its Fracking Chemicals, Study Finds.

* Double Counterpoint: We’re Already In The ‘Worst Case Scenario’ For Sea Level Rise.

* Some rare good news.

* The rule of law is the glue that holds society together: President Obama says he can’t revoke Bill Cosby’s Medal of Freedom.

* Also in the rule of law files: That Time Scott Walker Defined What A “Sandwich” Is In A Bill.

* I’m amazed that not even Robin Williams’s death could protect us from this.

* Why is Kickstarter letting a hologram “scam” raise $250k?

* If you haven’t watched Kung Fury yet, it’s time.

* Hear him out! Professor’s Manifesto: Vegans Must Illegally Overthrow Society to Save the World.

* Punishment Park is on YouTube.

* The end of Seattle.

* How privilege became a provocation.

* I’ll allow it, del Toro, but you’re on very thin ice.

* At first, there was soccer, but then we fixed it.

* The League of Regrettable Superheroes.

* A new survey puts the incidence of male rapists in a campus population at over 10%. That’s higher than I ever could have thought, to the point where I find the survey results difficult to accept.

* Think of it as needing more space in your house, so you decide you want to build a second story. But the house was never built right to begin with, with no proper architectural planning, and you don’t really know which are the weight-bearing walls. You make your best guess, go up a floor and… cross your fingers. And then you do it again. That is how a lot of our older software systems that control crucial parts of infrastructure are run. This works for a while, but every new layer adds more vulnerability. We are building skyscraper favelas in code — in earthquake zones.

* And they all lived happily ever after.

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 16, 2015 at 7:34 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.

Weekend Links!

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South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder of Walter Scott. The police can’t police themselves. And now the public is too scared to cooperate with them. Police Reform Is Impossible in America. The Police Are America’s Terrorists. Man Who Recorded Walter Scott Murder Is Worried Police May Kill Him. White America’s Silence on Police Brutality Is Consent.

Montreal professors stare down riot cops.

Colleges are raising costs because they can.

How self-segregation and concentrated affluence became normal in America.

How to survive a mega-drought.

The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct.

None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use.

In The Midst Of Toxic Oil Spill, Vancouver Announces It Will Go 100 Percent Renewable.

Report: Hillary Clinton Overlooked Labor Violations After Millions in Donations. Guess what I’m #ready for?

* Is Hillary Clinton even any good at running for president?

The Assistant Economy.

Elizabeth Warren Is Right About Everything.

The Columbia Report on Rolling Stone‘s Rape Story Is Bad for Journalism.

The Brontosaurus Is Back. Take that, science!

A Map Showing UFO Hot Spots Across The United States.

The analysis concluded that, over the past 10 years, the five pension funds have paid more than $2 billion in fees to money managers and have received virtually nothing in return, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said in an interview on Wednesday.

The man who was accidentally released from prison 88 years early.

What Was On a 1920s Membership Application for the KKK?

Haunted by The Handmaid’s Tale.

* On correcting the Bible.

Wired proves the laws of physics don’t apply to Legolas.

Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games, Even for Museums and Archives, Because All “Hacking” is Illegal.

* Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to get even more boring spinoff. If that’s possible.

Memorial for the “Unknown Deserter” – Potsdam, Germany.

The Photographer Who Took This Picture Barely Escaped With His Life.

This Probably Made Up Reddit Story About a Potato Is Incredibly Good.

* There’s nothing sweet in life.

* Lili Loofbourow takes the bait on the “is that all there is?” Mad Men and boredom thinkpiece. Also from Lili: You Should Be Watching ‘Fortitude,’ A Murder-Mystery That Makes Climate Change The Real Villain.

Arrested Development returning for 17 episodes, according to Brian Grazer.

* A cheat sheet for figuring out where in the US you are by recognizing the background from movies.

12 Ways Humanity Could Destroy The Entire Solar System.

* And I really hope they catch him this time.

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Easter Links! Find Them All!

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* The 2015 Hugo nominees have been announced, and they’re a mess. The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political. A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year. The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide. The Biggest Little SF Publisher you never heard of declares war. “Why I Declined a Hugo Award Nomination.”

* And in response to the question “Well, what should have been nominated for a Hugo?”: “Andromache and the Dragon,” by my brilliant Marquette colleague Brittany Pladek!

* “The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany”: In portraying a horde of clones on ‘Orphan Black,’ the actress has created TV’s strangest — and most sophisticated — meditation on femininity. And a special bonus companion piece: Meet The Woman (Besides Tatiana Maslany) Who Plays Every Single “Orphan Black” Clone.

Reddit’s Bizarre, Surreal, Maddening, Hypnotic, Divisive, and Possibly Evil April Fools’ Joke. I’ve become obsessed with this.

* CFP: Ephemeral Television. CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Watching them turn off the Rothkos.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University.

Iran’s Been Two Years Away From a Nuclear Weapon for Three Decades. The Iran deal. What if the Iranians are people too?

So how much money is the NCAA making? In 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting gave the NCAA $10.8 billion for a fourteen-year broadcast monopoly on March Madness games. Estimated ad revenue for the 2013 tournament reached $1.15 billion, while ticket revenue brought in another $71.7 million. Last year no less than thirty-five coaches pulled down salaries higher than $1 million before bonuses; Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski topped the list with an income of more than $9.6 million.

Guarding against the errant, suicidal murderous pilot belongs to a category called “wicked problems” — the complexity of the system and the conflicting incentives mean that every solution introduces another set of problems, so the only way forward is always going to be an imperfect one. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that this once again reveals how, as humans, we are lousy at risk assessment, and also lousy of accepting this weakness. The problem is wicked, but its occurrence is so rare that it is almost unheard of — partly why it terrifies us so. Our imagination, biases and fears are terrible guides to what should actually be done to keep us safer, and this has significant consequences in a whole host of fields, ranging from terrorism to childcare to health-care.

So you see, people like Tim Cook are selective in their moral universalism; morality, it turns out, is universal only insofar as extends to the particular desires of a Western bourgeoisie; deny a gay couple a wedding bouquet that they could get at the florist down the street anyway, and that is a cause for outrage and concern; extract minerals using indentured Congolese servants, well, look, we’ve got marginal cost to consider! The moral argument, it turns out, curdles when exposed to the profit motive, and the universality of justice actually does end at certain borders, one way or another.

How the Slave Trade Built America.

* But unlike its predecessor, the show has no obvious narrative progression. Nacho’s important, or he’s not; the Kettlemans are half the show, or maybe we should care about Sandpiper. There are flashbacks to Jimmy’s past where Bob Odenkirk is playing either 25 or 57—a savvy criminal or a neophyte screw-up. In the lead-up to Better Call Saul, there were theories that the show would be funnier than Breaking Bad (maybe a sitcom?) or more procedural than Breaking Bad (maybe The Good Wife for bad boys?) or more episodic (like X-Files with lawyers!). None of that is true, and all of that is true. It’s interesting, but not the way great TV is interesting. Better Call Saul reminds me more of Treme or John From Cincinnati: post-masterpiece meanders. 

* In TV’s Silver Age, a logjam of shows that are ‘pretty good,’ but not great.

Here’s A Map That Shows All The Future Megacities From Science Fiction.

* Can science fiction be a form of social activism? Walidah Imarisha thinks so, and she’s recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.

* Johns Hopkins Faces $1-Billion Lawsuit Over U.S. Experiments in Guatemala.

* sirens.io, blogging from seven years in the future.

* Are Aliens Behind Mysterious Radio Bursts? Scientists Weigh In.

* Calif. Governor Orders Mandatory Water Restrictions For 1st Time In History. It’s up to us to singlehandedly save california from drought by turning off the tap when we brush our teeth! California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago. California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth. R.I.P. California (1850-2016): What We’ll Lose And Learn From The World’s First Major Water Collapse. Children of the Drought.

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

* Oceans might take 1,000 years to recover from climate change, study suggests.

Drug field tests used by cops are so bad they react positively to air, soap, candy.

* Trolley Problem: The Game. Advanced Trolley Problems.

* Scott Walker’s budget cuts $5.7 million from pollution control efforts.

The Most Popular Antidepressants Are Based On A Theory We Know Is Wrong. Most antidepressant users have never had depression.

* 12 New Science Fiction Comics You Absolutely Need to be Reading.

* From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics Read More: Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics.

* Hero Price Is Right model begins the revolution by just giving away a car.

* First as an unexpectedly great show, then as I don’t know it doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.

All told, the “Detroit Industry” frescoes are probably as close as this country gets to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

* The happiness spigot.

New report says manned Mars mission could reach orbit by 2033, land by 2039.

Clarke makes her point not with stirring courtroom rhetoric or devastating legal arguments but by a process of relentless accretion, case by case, win by win. This is her cause. Because if the state cannot put these defendants to death, then how can it put anyone to death? Thirty-five executions took place in the United States in 2014 for crimes that form an inventory of human cruelty—and yet few were as willful and egregious as those committed by Judy Clarke’s clients.

Here is an example of the priorities in New York state’s budget: There is no increase in the minimum wage, but purchasers of yachts that cost more than $230,000 are exempt from the sales tax.

* U.S. Court Officially Rules that Friendship Is Worthless.

Tales from the Trenches: I was SWATed.

Texas Just Does Not Care How Hot Its Prisons Get.

* Duke tries throwing polio at cancer, as you do.

* Interesting article on design: The Secret History of the Apple Watch.

Senate Republicans say the current system is unfair because rural residents are effectively supporting urban counties’ schools and services when they shop there. Yes, that’s literally how the system is intended to function.

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust.

* So you want to resurrect a college.

These Slow-Motion Videos of Fluids Vibrating on Speakers Are Wonderful.

* Now Full House, and the Muppets too.

These Photos Of Melanie Griffith And Her Pet Lion In The 1970s Are Everything. (UPDATE: Here’s the article that seems to be the original source, plus a little bit on Roar’s rerelease. Noteworthy lines from Wikipedia: “Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film.”)

* Being Andre.

Landlord Sends Man $1,200 Bill To Cleanup His Roommate’s Blood, Who Was Shot Dead By Police.

Stan VHS, A Tumblr Blog Featuring 1980s-Style VHS Cover Art for Modern Television Shows and Movies.

A Linguistic Comparison of Letters of Recommendation for Male and Female Chemistry and Biochemistry Job Applicants.

* SF Short of the Weekend: “Burnt Grass.”

* …and your short short of the weekend: “No One Is Thirsty.”

* I finally found enough time to be annoyed by Obama interviewing David Simon about The Wire.

* This Easter, we remember.

* And because you demanded it: An oral history of Max Headroom.

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links!

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* Today at Marquette! Dr. Robin Reid, “Conflicting Audience Receptions of Tauriel in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

* Tomorrow at Marquette! The English Department pop culture group geeks out over The Hunger Games.

* Solving prostitution the Swedish way.

“In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem… gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them.”

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 13: Engagement.

The point of engagement in this sense is not to involve the public in making decisions, but make them feel involved in decisions that others will make. That this may be done with the best of intentions is important, of course, but ultimately besides the point. Like “stakeholder,” “engagement” thrives in a moment of political alienation and offers a vocabulary of collaboration in response. So if civic engagement is in decline, one thing that is not is the ritualistic performance of civic participation. The annual election-cycle ritual in American politics is a case in point here. In one populist breath, we routinely condemn the corruption of politicians who, it is said, never listen to the average voter. And in the next, we harangue the average voter for failing to participate in a process we routinely describe as corrupted. So it’s not the “apathy” or “disengagement” of the public that we should lament or criticize—it’s the institutions that give them so many reasons to be disengaged in the first place.

* A Few Questions About the Culture: An Interview with Iain Banks.

JR: In the past you have said that you are a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist. Could you expand on this a bit: why are you pessimistic about the short term? What changes do you anticipate taking place between the near and far futures that change your pessimism to optimism?

IB: On a personal level, it’s damage limitation; a sanity-keeping measure. Expect the worst and anything even only half-decent seems like something to celebrate. The pessimism comes from a feeling that as a species we seem unable to pass up any opportunity to behave stupidly, self-harmfully (the Copenhagen climate talks being but the latest example). The long-term optimism comes from the the fact that no matter how bad things seem and how idiotically and cruelly we behave. . . well, we’ve got this far, despite it all, and there are more people on the planet than ever before, and more people living good, productive, relatively happy lives than ever before, and—providing we aren’t terminally stupid, or unlucky enough to get clobbered by something we have no control over, like a big meteorite or a gamma ray buster or whatever—we’ll solve a lot of problems just by sticking around and doing what we do; developing, progressing, improving, adapting. And possibly by inventing AIs that are smarter and more decent than we are, which will help us get some sort of perspective on ourselves, at the very least. We might just stumble our way blindly, unthinkingly into utopia, in other words, muddling through despite ourselves.

* “Gamechanging” climate deal that seems radically insufficient to the scale of the crisis. What could go wrong?

* Think Progress has a good rundown on King v. Burwell, the case that could kill Obamacare. Eight Reasons to Stop Freaking Out About the Supreme Court’s Next Obamacare Case.

* The growth of auxiliary activities was the primary driver in spending increases by the schools, the report concludes. From 2005 to 2012, $3.4 billion was spent on instructional and research facilities. The cost for nonacademic auxiliary facilities was $3.5 billion from 2002 to 2012. Limit athletic fees, check construction to control college costs, study says.

* The State Funding Sleight-Of-Hand: Some Thoughts on UC’s Proposed Tuition Hike.

* The Vitae Adjunct Retirement Survey.

* ProQuest says it won’t sell dissertations through Amazon anymore.

* Why Wall Street Loves Hillary

* It’s a start: Massachusetts Town Proposes First Complete Ban On All Tobacco.

* Inside America’s inept nuclear corps.

* The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) is under attack by critics who say academe is colluding with the mainstream media to push a feminist agenda in video games. How deep does this conspiracy go?

When we think about the collapse of communism, we should emphasize and celebrate the attractiveness of a social market economy — not free enterprise.

Can You Gentrify America’s Poorest, Most Dangerous City?

Today, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced through the New York Times that it may stop making arrests for low-level marijuana possession, opting instead to issue tickets without detaining the suspect. This would feel like an important step toward reasonable weed policy if New York state hadn’t already mandated it 37 years ago.

The seminars offered police officers some useful tips on seizing property from suspected criminals. Don’t bother with jewelry (too hard to dispose of) and computers (“everybody’s got one already”), the experts counseled. Do go after flat screen TVs, cash and cars. Especially nice cars. Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize.

* One in every 8 arrests was for a drug offense last year.

* Milwaukee Public Museum’s Sci-Fi Film Fest gathers large audience.

Running a school on $160 a year.

* Is Pre-K academically rigorous enough? That’s a real question this real article is asking.

Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry.

Grace Dunham is now an adult and she read this book before it was published. She is managing her sister’s book tour and they are best friends. Are we really going to overlook this?

* Also on the subject of Lena Dunham: this is an extremely clickbaity headline, but the testimony from a juvenile sex offender is fascinating and horrible.

* Sorry I Murdered Everyone, But I’m An Introvert.

* “Before the Internet, it would be really difficult to find someone, sit them down for ten minutes and get them to work for you, and then fire them after those ten minutes.”

In America, today’s parents have inherited expectations they can no longer afford. The vigilant standards of the helicopter parents from the baby boomer generation have become defined as mainstream practice, but they require money that the average household earning $53,891 per year— and struggling to survive in an economy in its seventh year of illusory “recovery”— does not have. The result is a fearful society in which poorer parents are cast as threats to their own children.

Although it looks like a traditional typeface, Dyslexie by Christian Boer is designed specifically for people with dyslexia.

Scientists Have Finally Found The First Real Reason We Need To Sleep.

* Wes Anderson might be making another movie with puppets.

In its gentle sadness, its deceptively light tone, and its inherent contradictions, this is the perfect ending to The Next Generation.  One of these days, the crew will be dispersed.  The Enterprise will be put in mothballs.  Starfleet will complete its transformation into a body that none of them particularly want to serve in.  But for now, their voyages continue.

* Peak Prequel: Sony Rumored to Be Prepping Aunt May Spider-Man Spin-Off Movie.

* And the best news ever: HBO Will Make Asimov’s Foundation With Interstellar‘s Jonathan Nolan. I may lose my mind over this show. I may even do a podcast. And a lot of what went wrong with Interstellar wasn’t even Jonathan Nolan’s fault!

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