Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Finland

Tuesday Morning Links!

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The University of Wisconsin-Madison Mellon Postdoctoral Program invites recent PhDs to apply for its three two-year postdoctoral fellowships. The theme for 2017-2019 applicants is Translation, Adaptation, Transplantation. 

* A message from the Marquette administration: Milwaukee, our home. And a letter from MUPD. Decades of grievances come to a head in Milwaukee after police shooting. The “unrest” in this city began decades ago. The Racial Segregation And Economic Devastation That Made Milwaukee A ‘Powder Keg.’ Powder keg. Decades in the making. Decades in the making. Ongoing tensions. Not a surprise. No one can deny. Outsider agitators! The radicalism of Black Lives Matter. “What can I do to help Milwaukee?” What It’s Like To Experience Black Pain In Milwaukee. Half of Wisconsin’s Black Neighborhoods Are Jails.

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Scientists say the US is facing the strongest hurricane season since Sandy hit the East Coast. California is in flames right now, with fires fueled by historic drought. A first-strike against climate change is the only solution.

The 10 Most Overly-Specific Supervillains in Comics.

* The story no one asked for will finally become the series no one can watch. And when I made that joke on Facebook a friend reminded me of the goddamn forehead ridge thing that will be totally inescapable.

* I told you, Dad! New research from the Journal of Health Psychology seems to supports the theory that intelligent people spend more time being lazy than people who are more active.

* Racial Politics After Obama.

* Decolonizing sociology.

* Insurers say they’re losing money under the Affordable Care Act and are fighting for double-digit rate increases. This week Aetna announced it is pulling back from most exchanges.

* When the Hospital Is Covered but the Health Care Isn’t.

Why the Next President Should Forgive All Student Loans.

* Area Man’s Wife Achieves Lifelong Dream Through Dedicated, Drive, and Incredible Physical Prowess. It gets worse, my friends. (It gets better too.)

Juanita Broaddrick Wants To Be Believed. Right wing ratfucking though it may be, the cognitive dissonance required to simultaneously honor contemporary norms about sexual consent and the 90s-era “none of our business” defense of Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior seems increasingly difficult to sustain.

* The amount of effort this took was the most alarming thing given his history,” the guy told the Post. Anthony Weiner’s Back at It Again With the Saucy Twitter DMs. I’m still saying it:

* This Andrew Cuomo fan fiction is now totally my head canon.

Comedy Central Cancels Larry Wilmore’s Late-Night Show. Comedy Central’s decision this week to cancel “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” was a surprise. The reason it was a surprise is that Wilmore isn’t the real problem with the cable channel’s late-night offerings. Wilmore gone, but Comedy Central’s late-night problem is Noah.

The Life Aquatic’s Seu Jorge Announces David Bowie Covers Tour. Chicago on (the day after) my birthday!

NeverEnding Story Returns To Movie Theaters For Limited Run. I wish my kids were just a little bit older so we could do this.

The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked.

How Cuba’s greatest cartoonist fled from Castro and created ‘Spy vs. Spy.’

Their goal: Meet the Beatles on tour in 1966. Their solution: Impersonate the opening act.

* Hidden Figures really does look good.

* Suicide Squad and the bitter future of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Why Colleges Still Scarcely Track Ph.D.s.

* How to make your office gun-free. Why, it couldn’t be simpler!

“People think a computer could run index funds­—and they’re so wrong,” says Brian Bruce, a former index fund manager who’s now chief executive officer of Hillcrest Asset Management in Plano, Texas, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Index Investing. Five years, tops.

* The rise of neuroprosthetics.

* Augmented reality games and ethics. And just for instance: Mich. couple suing Pokémon Go for ruining their quality of life.

* It is easier to imagine the end of dads than the end of capitalism.

How legroom on major airlines compare to one another.

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* “People don’t realize there is effectively no regulation of cosmetics.” Their Hair Fell Out. Should the F.D.A. Have the Power to Act?

Don’t Bring Your Dog to Work.

Donald Once Turned Down a Million-Dollar Bet on “Trump: The Game.” Trump Could Sweep Toss Up States And Still Lose The Election. Right now polls show Donald Trump losing every single swing state. The kids are all right. Hell, even their parents are all right. The Great GOP Divide.

Technology and Liberty in French Utopian Fiction.

Taken in cumulative, these data suggest two unusual possibilities:

A. Karl Marx is the single most important, influential, and far-reaching thinker who ever lived, and his empirically attested syllabus presence accurately reflects this extreme degree of influence that he has over virtually all aspects of human knowledge.

-or-

B. Karl Marx enjoys a grossly outsized presence on college syllabi relative to his importance as a thinker, owing to a similarly disproportionate affinity for his thought among university faculty and particularly those faculty outside of the economics profession.

I really think you could make a halfway legitimate case for some version of (A) — bracketing religious figures like Christ or the Buddha, and limiting the scope of influence to the mid- and post-20C milieu — but the later observations about the Manifesto as a kindergarten lesson probably poison that possibility.

A genetic mutation that has been found to cause people to act outrageously when they’re drunk also appears to lower the risk of certain metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. Peculiarly, the mutation has so far only been found in Finnish people, and is thought to affect around 100,000 people in the Nordic country.

* You’ll Get to See the Documentary About Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four This Fall. And keep your eye out for For the Love of Spock.

* Time travel and RPGs.

* Why I’m loving No Man’s Sky.

* Weird futurism watch: in the future, should everyone be a twin?

* Abridged classics.

* And this is basically just a panel from The Flash.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 16, 2016 at 9:09 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Reading!

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* Some late-breaking academic jobs (in Europe)! Assistant Professor Gender Studies & Postcolonial Studies. Tenure-track vacancy in Anglophone Literature.

* CFP: Call for Papers: Spanish Science Fiction. (couldn’t find a link)

Science Fiction Studies invites contributions to the monographic issue on Spanish SF (guest editors: Sara Martín and Fernando Ángel Moreno). By ‘Spanish SF’ we mean SF novels and short fiction written specifically in Spain, excluding other Spanish-language areas. We are particularly interested in articles dealing with writers Gabriel Bermúdez Castillo, Rafael Marín, Rodolfo Martínez or Javier Negrete and with SF women writers (excluding Elia Barceló). All submissions must be in English and conform to SFS submission policies, which includes a rigorous peer-reviewing process. Abstracts (150-200 words) are due by March 30, complete papers by 1 September (maximum 7000 words). Please, email your proposals to Sara Martín (Sara.Martin@uab.cat).

There were apparently no answers to these questions.  But the trend is clear. Without restored public funding, the New Normal means the permanent downgrading of all levels of public higher education, and the reversion of top-quality learning and research to small elites.  Unless we restore cut public funding, California will continue to pioneer educational post-democracy.

Are CEOs overpaid? Not compared with college presidents.

* Mount St. Mary’s now in trouble with its accreditor. Good! I can’t see how they can possibly retain accreditation with this leadership still in place.

Emails Show Michigan Aides Worried About Flint’s Water a Year Before Acting. When is someone going to go to jail over this? How the Flint River got so toxic.

* Riffing a bit more on this (“A presidential run by Michael Bloomberg could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis”), it seems to me there’s a real possibility of GOP leaders doing this on purpose, if they think a third-party run can keep both Clinton and Trump under a majority and thereby throw the whole thing to a presumably GOP House. Meanwhile: GOP elites “verging on panic.” Trump and the fake-university fraud. (Even the right-wing National Review, etc!) And then there’s just this morning. But you don’t have to take my word for it…

Jeb: An Elegy!

* Alas, Bernie.

* I don’t remember who said it, but someone on Twitter was remarking just the other day about how well Trump has turned the ignore-facts-trust-only-me ethos of Fox against Fox itself. And behold.

bdjones_2016-Feb-28* In your heart, you know she’s right.

* Meanwhile, on the other side of the cable news swamp: Melissa Harris-Perry Is Probably Not Coming Back to MSNBC. Scratch that “probably.”

Dow Chemical Co. said it agreed to pay $835 million to settle an antitrust case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death reduced its chances of overturning a jury award.

The Great Pennsylvania Government Porn Caper.

* Finland, education, and equality.

Ron visited the Burrow after he had gotten clean. He was dismayed to see how many photos of Hermione his mother kept on the walls. Harry Potter and Your Twenties.

* Truly, the cruelest month: Mississippi Governor Proclaims That April Is Now ‘Confederate Heritage Month.’

* …what is the best strategy for dealing with a body of thought that, on one hand, is riddled with internal contradictions and tensions and yet, on the other, is highly coherent and effective (for example, through the transformation of human subjects into financialized forms of capital)? Should we seek to destabilize neoliberalism by exposing its internal inconsistencies, or reject its market rationalities by embracing forms of sociality and politics that cannot be reduced to economic principles such as price, or perhaps both? These questions are, to some extent, left hanging, and the book leaves one with the feeling that the battle against neoliberalism is being lost, and perhaps even that there is an air of inevitability about where things are heading. This book, then, is at the same time enlightening and disheartening: it provides a brilliant insight into some of the darkest developments of our times while at the same time providing little hope for social and political change of a different kind.

* “The Big Short is, in one sense, about our protagonists’ search for a villain as formidable as the crisis they identify.”

* Parenting corner: Are picky eaters born or made? Given how terrible I was about this when I was a kid, and how relentlessly I’m being handed back every inch of it now, I’ve got to say there’s a genetic component to it, or at least a karmic one.

Shazam for Plants Will Identify Any Plant From a Picture.

Space is the Place: The Architecture of Afrofuturism.

What Life on Minimum Wage Actually Looks Like in 2016.

* This is still the best story.

This Is What Darth Vader’s Theme Would Have Been If He Had Been The Hero

* If you want a vision of the future.

* And it certainly is pretty: Licensing agreement reached on brilliant new blue pigment discovered by happy accident.

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End of the Semester Fire Sale: Every Link Must Go

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* Another galaxy is possible: Toshiro Mifune turned down Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader roles.

* CFP: Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2016.

The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

* Huntington’s disease and engineered humanity.

* A little on-the-nose, don’t you think? USS Milwaukee breaks down at sea.

* Elsewhere on the Milwaukee beat: Millennials: They’re Just Like Us!

College Football Coaches Are Making Millions Off A Useless Metric.

* AAUP calls UI search a ‘crude exercise in naked power.’

Report Highlights Faculty Conditions at Jesuit Colleges.

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to publish internationally bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson’s first stand-alone short story in twenty-five years.

* The Marquette Tribune did a short followup on my magic and literature class, returning this spring.

* 95,000 Words, Many of Them Ominous, From Donald Trump’s Tongue. How Will the Professors Act When Fascism Comes to America? I asked 5 fascism experts whether Donald Trump is a fascist. Here’s what they said. Understanding Trumpism the Scott Adams Way. And here’s where things get wild: GOP preparing for contested convention. Trumpism would be the perfect ideology for a third party.

When Popular Fiction Isn’t Popular: Genre, Literary, and the Myths of Popularity.

* On English studies and ennui. Gee, I wonder why a cohort of people who have discovered too late that they have committed themselves to an imploding profession might feel a little bit depressed.

* On the plus side: More Useless Liberal Arts Majors Could Destroy ISIS.

* The College of Saint Rose has laid off a number of tenured faculty, among them Scott Lemieux.

* Another mass shooting was over. The country had moved on. But inside one house in Oregon, a family was discovering the unending extent of a wound.

* Every year, roughly 40,000 people die in Minnesota. For some, it’s weeks or months before anyone finds them. Meet the crew who comes in to clean up the mess.

Amazing Graphics Show How Much Fruits Have Changed Since Humans Started Growing Them.

* At least five police officers present during a shooting that was captured on a video that has created a firestorm of protest in this city supported a discredited version of events told by the officer who fired the fatal shots, newly released records show. Laquan McDonald and police perjury: a way forward. The U.S. Department of Justice unit that investigates civil rights violations by police departments has only about 18 employees who work on such investigations full-time. According to a former head of the unit, a forthcoming probe into the Chicago PD could overwhelm its “ridiculously small” staff. Good luck to them! Meanwhile, Rahm tries to hold on to power despite a clear need to resign.

* Here’s how Las Vegas police halted a trend in excessive force.

* In the 1950s, a group of scientists spoke out against the dangers of nuclear weapons. Should cryptographers take on the surveillance state. 

* How the Democrats flubbed San Bernardino. The worst part is most them seem not to have noticed.

* Nice work if you can get it: Top 20 billionaires worth as much as half of America.

* An Isochronic Map of the World from London, c. 1914. More links after the map!

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* The geography of student debt.

* UBI in Finland — though it looks a bit like stealth social safety net cuts to me.

* On Jane Vonnegut.

Does America Deserve Malala?

* @Batman66labels.

* Obama scandal watch: This one does seem pretty corrupt, actually.

* Abandoned America: the Hershey Chocolate Factory.

* God save Title IX from its champions: ‘Hunting Ground’ Filmmakers to Harvard Law Profs: Criticizing Our Film Could Create a ‘Hostile Climate.’ When the core belief is that accusers never lie, if any one accuser has lied, it brings into question the stability of the entire thought system, rendering uncertain all allegations of sexual assault. But this is neither sensible nor necessary: that a few claims turn out to be false does not mean that all, most, or even many claims are wrongful. The imperative to act as though every accusation must be true—when we all know some number will not be—harms the over-all credibility of sexual assault claims. Relatedly, Newsweek has an article covering “the other side” of campus rape investigations.

* Telltale will make a Batman game.

* Two strikes against the next Wes Anderson movie: “…it’s a Japanese story and I’m playing a dog.”

* The Last Dalai Lama?

Servicemen Contradict Military’s Account Of Attack On MSF Hospital In Afghanistan.

* The arc of history is long, but Red Mars is finally going to series.

* Last year carbon emissions dropped while the economy grew for the first time in history.

* On anorexia.

* Public history at UNC: tracing the history of building names.

Reading Flannery O’Connor in the Age of Islamophobia.

* ACA collapse watch: The lone health insurance cooperative to make money last year on the Affordable Care Act’s public insurance exchanges is now losing millions and suspending individual enrollment for 2016.

* The Sports Bubble Is About to Pop. Don’t Let Kids Play Football. It’s Time To Take The Warriors’ Chances Of Going 73-9 Seriously. Golden State Warriors: best team in NBA history? The last team to start 20-0 like the Warriors was so good that its league folded.

* Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence.

All The Items Of Clothing Women Have Been Told Not To Wear In 2015.

This Supercut of All the Non-Leia Female Dialogue in the Original Star Wars Trilogy Will Astound You.

* The Founders and Islam.

* These People Took DDT Pills In the 1970s to Prove it Was Safe.

Being a good looking man could hinder your career, study finds. Happiness Doesn’t Bring Good Health, Study Finds. Stonehenge may have been first erected in Wales, evidence suggests.

* Why didn’t anyone stop Doctor Hardy?

* Latinx.

* Vice got the Rachel Dolezal profile.

Fractal Problems in Comparative Domestic Policy.

* How D.C. spent $200 million over a decade on a streetcar you still can’t ride.

* Kill Bill 3, please.

* Serial‘s back y’all. UPDATE: And it’s already super irritating!

UFO truthers want to make Roswell an issue for 2016. Meet their lobbyist.

Ron Howard says Arrested Development season 5 is in the writing stage.

* Teach the controversy: Building the Death Star Was an Economic Catastrophe.

* Pretty grim America: Gun Rights Groups to Hold Fake Mass Shooting at UT This Weekend.

* Just another here’s-what-happens-when-you-adopt-a-chimp story.

FDA Approves Device That Can Plug Gunshot Wounds in 15 Seconds.

The Definitive Guide to Sci-Fi Drugs Was Produced by the Government in the 1970s.

Why are so many toddlers being put on heavy psychiatric drugs?

* All right, I’m in: Margaret Atwood Is Writing A Part-Cat, Part-Owl, Part-Human Superhero Comic.

* xkcd explains the Three Laws of Robotics.

* Well, at least now we know.

* I’ve had dreams like this.

* And in an age without heroes, there was Matt Haughey.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thnksgvn Links

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* Once again, this year as every year, we give thanks.

* CFP: SFRA 2016, in Liverpool, UK.

The first space age was about politics. The second space age was about science. The third space age is about money.

How to Read Žižek on the Refugee Crisis.

The basic dynamic here is that ostensibly left-wing parties have put the right wing in the driver’s seat and have no strategy other than to denounce the very right-wing racism that their preferred policies actually stoke. The refugee article aims to unmask a similar dynamic in more radical leftist circles. Among leftist commentators, academics, and online activists as well, there is an abdication of any responsible policy-making that takes actual-existing reality into account. In its place, we find only empty rhetoric aimed at guaranteeing the speaker’s ideological purity.

* xkcd has another supersize edition. Here’s what we know so far.

* Officially outsourcing all my political commentary to John Kasich.

* Some college activists think making the movement a nationally despised joke might be a tactical mistake, but opinions still differ.

* Meanwhile! Arrests Made After Protesters Destroy Part of City Christmas Tree.

Police killings since Ferguson, in one map.

The Statue of Liberty Was Originally a Muslim Woman.

* Teach the controversy: Life on Mars was ‘destroyed by nuclear attack’, says physicist – and we could be next.

Baba Yaga’s Guide To Feminism.

* The Fragile Framework: Can Nations Unite to Save Earth’s Climate? Spoiler alert: I have some terrible news.

* Disability and science fiction fandom.

Jessica Jones is a Primer on Gaslighting, and How to Protect Yourself Against It. How Jessica JonesAbsorbed the Anxieties of Gamergate.

Internet trolls have learned to exploit our over-militarized police. It’s a crime that’s hard to stop — and hard to prosecute.

Kinsey Was Wrong: Sexuality Isn’t Fluid.

* How Chicago Tries to Cover Up a Police Execution.

* Against Ta-Nehisi Coates?

In a Crazy Turn of Events, Viral Sensation “Phuc Dat Bich” Says It Was All a Hoax. Is nothing sacred?

* Neil Blomkamp wants to fix the biggest mistake in the Aliens franchise: the death of Newt.

* The law, in its majestic equality, permits rich and poor alike to sleep outside.

Every Hint and Clue Hidden in the Captain America: Civil War Trailer.

* And today in data visualization: The Magnificent Bears of the Glorious Nation of Finland.

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Weekend Links!

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* I liked this brief addendum to my academic job market as “game” piece from the other day.

One thing I might add is that the game metaphor also helps us see the job market as something that could be improved. If we view the market as a system of pure luck, then there’s nothing we can do to fix it. And if we think of it as a meritocracy, then we don’t have any reason to. But if the job market is a game, structured, as Canavan says, by “a set of rules that may not make sense, much less be desirable, rational, or fair,” then those in positions of power in the academy (including people on hiring committees) could work to change the rules. In large and small ways they could work to make it a more rational and fair game.

I agree the game framing suggests change is possible in a way that neither merit nor lottery does. I’d hoped I made that point at the end (“make alliances, change the rules, overturn the table”) but perhaps I could have put more emphasis on it.

* I’ve always been really skeptical of Rolling Jubilee, so I’m a sucker for any time Naked Capitalism dumps on it.

So while it is impressive to hear of the large amounts of debt being forgiven, the fact is that the people who are finding their debts erased more than likely won’t care much because they are either no longer under any legal obligation to pay the note and have long since forgotten about it, or never intended to pay the note in the first place, and never would! So these borrowers won’t likely be gushing with praise and thanks, and frankly won’t be helped much if at all by the repurchase of the debt. I suspect that people learning of their debt being purchased and erased were, instead of relieved and grateful, were more perplexed as to why anyone would go to the trouble of clearing up debt that they themselves had forgotten about long ago! By far, the happiest participant in these transactions, are the banks/collection companies who are thrilled to get anything for the loans!

* But the elusive nomads who wander that desert say California was once a paradise.

Courts do not give justice, because they do not try. They follow a formal procedure, at best.

* Run the university like a business, you know, have such radically lax oversight that one person can steal $700,000.

* When I was talking the other day about the similarities between my childhood plan to become a priest for the free housing and lifetime tenure and my current profession as a secular monk performing textual exegesis at a Catholic school, 1, 2, 3, 4, I guess I didn’t think you’d take it so literally.

The Pharmacy School Bubble Is About to Burst.

Cutinella is the third high school football player to die in less than a week.

* On the life of PhDs working outside the US and Europe.

* Capitalism in 2014: “Payment is on an unpaid basis.”

* At least they got to waste all that money first: MOOC fever has broken.

* A gender-neutral pronoun is taking over Sweden.

* Elsewhere in the-Scandinavian-kids-are-all-right: How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play.

Maps Of Modern Cities Drawn In The Style Of J.R.R. Tolkien. No Milwaukee, but he did do Cleveland, Boston, and DC. Many more links below the image; you’re not getting off that easy.

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* Damn, Interstellar.

* I can’t figure out if Ascension is let’s-do-BSG-with-a-competent-showrunner or let’s-do-BSG-on-the-cheap. Mad Men in Space, though, so fine.

* Museum of Science Fiction Selects Design for Preview Museum.

We Still Don’t Know If This Tribe Discovered In The ’70s Was Real.

* An Apple Store employee has written the follow-up to I Am Legend.

* Ideology watch: “Let. Her. Go.” movie supercut.

* America was founded as a white supremacist state. You’ll never believe what happened next.

* Here’s a lawsuit that seems deliberately calibrated to freak everybody out: Black sperm incorrectly delivered to white lesbian couple.

Talking White: Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

* D.C. Attorney May Use FBI Headquarters As Leverage In Statehood Lawsuit.

* People are saying Homeland might be good again, but don’t you believe it. That’s exactly what they want us to think.

* Elsewhere in ideology at its very very purest. Mad Men: Lady Cops.

* The White Women of Empire.

* BREAKING: Startup Funding Is Given Almost Entirely To Men.

* Just imagine what England might accomplish if it ever gets a second actor.

* Right-wingers tend to be less intelligent than left-wingers, and people with low childhood intelligence tend to grow up to have racist and anti-gay views, says a controversial new study. Controversial, really? Can’t imagine why.

* Freedom’s just another word for a $1200 machine that lets anyone manufacture a gun.

* Human civilization was founded as a human supremacist state. You’ll never believe what happened next.

* Earth crosses the walrus threshold.

* Paid leave watch: Florida cop placed on leave after using taser on 62-year-old woman.

Today, former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, who was convicted of lying about torturing over 100 African-American men at stationhouses on Chicago’s South and West Sides, will walk out of the Butner Correctional Institution, having been granted an early release to a halfway house in Tampa, Florida.

* Please be advised: Jacobin 15/16 looks especially great.

* Even baseball knows baseball is dull.

* And a UF study suggests peanut allergies could soon be a thing of the past. That’d be pretty great news for a whole lot of people I know.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 3, 2014 at 7:52 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Friday!

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* When writer AD Harvey invented an 1862 meeting between Dickens and Dostoevsky, it was for years accepted as fact. So why did he do it – and why did he also create a series of fake academic identities? Following up on this classic from the Times Literary Supplement.

* Academia’s Pink-Collar Workforce.

Accreditor Approves Competency-Based Degree at U. of Wisconsin.

* Aaron Carroll draws our attention today to a new study in JAMA that compares American health outcomes with those in other rich countries. Overall, we’re now in 28th place, sandwiched in between Chile and Poland. The massive chart below shows how we do on treating specific diseases. We’re 31st on diabetes, 16th on breast cancer, 32nd on COPD, and (in our best showing) 8th on colon cancer.

The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms, better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change. Finland vs. the U.S., in the Atlantic.

* Fracking: basically comically evil.

* Google: basically comically evil.

Google, which prides itself on building a “better web that is better for the environment,” is hosting a fundraiser for the most notorious climate change denier in Congress, it has emerged.

* Unpopular opinion: I’m a sex-negative feminist.

T_GenreBar* Visualizing the Bechdel test.

* Drones in Niger. Prison hunger-strikers in California. Food stamps in New Jersey. Violent crime in Milwaukee this year is highest since ’08. Unemployment Rate For Black Women Higher Now Than Four Years Ago.

* If jobs mean maturity, not everyone gets to grow up.

Saitō ventured a count: There were 1 million people in a state of withdrawal or hikikomori, about one percent of the Japanese population. Eighty percent of them were men; 90 percent were over 18. “Social withdrawal is not some sort of ‘fad’ that will just fade away,” Saitō wrote. It is “a symptom, not the name of an illness,” and “there has been no sign that the number of cases will decrease.” His book became a best seller in weeks. Hikikomori joined otaku (a person with obsessive interests) and karoshi (death from overwork) as a loan word in English to describe a new social phenomenon that at first appeared uniquely Japanese.

* North Colorado, Whitetopia?

* And the thin get everything.

Academics who interview graduate school applicants systematically favor thinner candidates, according to a study.

Poor bastards.

The Charter School Scam

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Here’s what you see in Waiting for Superman, the new documentary that celebrates the charter school movement while blaming teachers unions for much of what ails American education: working- and middle-class parents desperate to get their charming, healthy, well-behaved children into successful public charter schools.

Here’s what you don’t see: the four out of five charters that are no better, on average, than traditional neighborhood public schools (and are sometimes much worse); charter school teachers, like those at the Green Dot schools in Los Angeles, who are unionized and like it that way; and noncharter neighborhood public schools, like PS 83 in East Harlem and the George Hall Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama, that are nationally recognized for successfully educating poor children.

You don’t see teen moms, households without an adult English speaker or headed by a drug addict, or any of the millions of children who never have a chance to enter a charter school lottery (or get help with their homework or a nice breakfast) because adults simply aren’t engaged in their education. These children, of course, are often the ones who are most difficult to educate, and the ones neighborhood public schools can’t turn away.

You also don’t learn that in the Finnish education system, much cited in the film as the best in the world, teachers are—gasp!—unionized and granted tenure, and families benefit from a cradle-to-grave social welfare system that includes universal daycare, preschool and healthcare, all of which are proven to help children achieve better results at school.

In other words, Waiting for Superman is a moving but vastly oversimplified brief on American educational inequality. Nevertheless, it has been greeted by rapturous reviews.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm