Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘galactic empires

Monday Morning Links (The Kind You Don’t Take Home to Mama)

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* CFP: The Evolution of Evil in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Academia Lunare.

But the other thing that strikes me – we were talking early on about the history of modernity as connected in a structural way to the history of slavery, of capitalism, to histories of ordering and wasting – when I read that long history, a striking thing is capitalism’s impulse to abolish limits. From a capitalist’s standpoint, there are simply no limits. In regard to almost anything and everything, limitlessness is the law. Another striking thing is that capitalism aims to abolish some of the key dualisms without which the very idea of society as we understand it would have been unimaginable. To some extent, capitalism is the only religion without taboos humans have ever invented.

The way it works is that, once the first settlers on a new planet demonstrate that they won’t die horribly from allergies, pathogens, or getting buried under the excrement of herds of titanosaurs, they then spread out to build mining settlements all over the planet, high-grade all the most accessible mineral deposits, drill for oil, and grow the infrastructure needed to build starships. With starhips built and trade links established, they grow into a mature colony over the course of a few centuries, all the while founding as many daughter colonies on new planets as possible. Eventually, they run into serious pollution problems, loss of usable mineral deposits, changing climate (both natural through the equivalent of Milankovich cycles, and anthropogenic), and a biosphere that coevolves to exploit the colony, because that’s just what life does (think pesticide resistant bugs, coyotes, superweeds…). At that point, the colony starts to fall apart. Interstellar trade shifts away from it (after all, whatever’s causing them to collapse them might be contagious). Ultimately the survivors hang on to become a truly resilient indigenous population in a backwater world–or all die horribly as their critical infrastructure fails. Their fate doesn’t matter to our interstellar civilization, because it has literally already moved on to new frontiers, boldly going where no man has gone before. So long as they can find new worlds to conquer, they can go on forever.

Hard to argue with this reading of Harry Potter, honestly.

“Eco-Philosopher Fails Hurricane Test, Crawls Under Rock.”

* Scenes from the trade war.

* A mere couple of hours away till the end of America, get excited.

* MSNBC is bad for you.

* Still, God help me, I can’t get enough of this stuff: What if Donald Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987?

Madeleine Albright: ‘The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad.’ Yeah, that’s what I keep saying!

* America is catastrophically incapable of holding its elites responsible for their crimes, and that’s supposed to be the good news.

* Meanwhile, the Trump Foundation was a comically illegal slush fund and it just doesn’t matter.

* A Mexican couple was turned over for deportation this week when they tried to visit a New York military base to celebrate the Fourth of July with their son-in-law, who is an army officer. They had lived in Brooklyn for decades. More here.

The couple’s son-in-law is a sergeant in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. According to the family, the Department of Defense won’t let him intervene in the case.

“Most worrying is the fact that both parents have recently undergone surgery and need medication,” the report said. “The Silvas say they have gotten calls from their mother, who said she was denied her medication. They say they have not heard from their father.”

This is a different army base in Brooklyn than the one that called ICE on a pizza delivery guy a few weeks ago.

* ICE has kidnapped a journalist in retaliation for his negative coverage of the Memphis Police Department.

Trump admin won’t reunite all migrant families, will place some kids in foster care.

Illinois governor profits off ICE detention center contracts.

The Power of “Abolish ICE.”

* Not for nothing. Of course you’ve heard me sing this song before.

* Notes from the Ocasio-Cortez campaign.

* Even “being drunk” is culturally specific.

Introducing the Marvel Curriculum: A look at film history via the MCU.

* What if HBO, but super, super creepy?

How Much Does Being a Legacy Help Your College Admissions Odds?

* Elon Musk’s submarine is nonsense. Meanwhile.

* Brexit vs. Gibraltar. Brexit vs. Britain. Brexit vs. the Tories. Brexit vs. Brexit.

* Privileging the lie.

I happened to listen to NPR for a few hours this morning, and I heard three stories that are very much connected to climate change without anyone on the radio mentioning climate change even once.

U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials.

* Like Pizzagate but it actually happened.

* 150 Cheers for the 14th Amendment.

* Killing all the whales and turtles to own the libs.

* Zero, explained.

* Actually existing media bias watch: 1, 2.

* Siri: show me fragile masculinity.

* And the headline reads: “Fake sultan was scamming a Miami billionaire. Then he ate pork.”

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.

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 25, 2016 at 5:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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NYEE Links! A Whole Lot of Them!

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* What happened when slaves and free men were shipwrecked together. Amazing read.

* Schedule for the MLA Subconference.

The MLA’s annual report on its Job Information List has found that in 2014-15, it had 1,015 jobs in English, 3 percent fewer than the previous year. The list had 949 jobs in foreign languages, 7.6 percent fewer than 2013-14. The full report.

“These young T.A.s believed they were being asked to prostitute themselves in order to increase enrollment in the Spanish Department.”

33fede02e91b49a340ebc73e372b33f9* A gallery of interesting gravestones.

* Reading Everything Aaron Swartz Wrote.

* “Obscure law lets Prince of Wales set off nuclear bombs.”

* “The hidden legacy of 70 years of atomic weaponry: at least 33,480 Americans dead.”

* Your weekly must-read: N.K. Jemisin has a new SF/F column in the The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in SF: A Conversation.

Adjuncts at Loyola University Chicago Want a Union. Will the Jesuit University Respect Their Demands?

* The Absolute Disruption blog has some thoughts on spoilerphobia and The Force Awakens, with a digression through my Tolkien/TFA piece. That piece has had some interesting patterns of circulation, incidentally; the Salon piece did well on Facebook and Twitter while the WordPress version has had a second life in the conservative blogosphere by way of Ross Douthat and Tyler Cowen….

* George Lucas, genius. Another oral history of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Star Wars and the death of culture. What was cut from The Force Awakens. 13 Story Ideas That Were Dropped from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What is a Mary Sue, and does Star Wars: The Force Awakens have one? I have not seen the new Star Wars but ambient levels of Star Wars have reached such a peak that I feel eminently qualified to review it without actually seeing the film or even reading a plot synopsis. Anakin Skywalker and the Methods of Rationality.

Given that the term Mary Sue will always carry gendered connotations and that it is highly likely to be disproportionately applied to female protagonists—who, in big budget epics, are already vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts—I see very little benefit to its continued use.

* “This iconic picture will live in history. When a women escaped ISIS territory and was able to wear color again.” More links after the photo.

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A suggestion for search committees, and some questions.

The Irresistible Psychology of Fairy Tales.

* From the archives: The Really Big One.

When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater. (Watch what your fingertips do when you flatten your hand.) The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”

In the Pacific Northwest, the area of impact will cover* some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people.

* ESPN is such a money pit it’s even dragging Star Wars down.

* My life as a job creator.

Guy Beats Fallout 4 Without Killing Anyone, Nearly Breaks The Game.

It’s a brute-force method, yes. Like I said earlier, Fallout 4 really doesn’t want you to play the game this way, and all of its mechanics ensure that, at some point during a normal playthrough, you’ll have to lodge bullets into someone’s noggin. Even if you take the so-called peaceful perks.

Cleveland Officer Will Not Face Charges in Tamir Rice Shooting Death. How Can No One Be to Blame for Tamir Rice’s Death? How Philadelphia prosecutors protect police misconduct: Cops get caught lying — and then get off the hook. Police Rarely Criminally Charged for On-Duty Shootings. When is it legal for a cop to kill you?

Why we turned off comments on Tamir Rice news stories.

* ASU’s Global Freshman Academy Is a Complete Bust.

* Being Véra Nabokov.

* Today in loopholes: consumptive demand.

* Loophole watch, part two: Pope Francis: atheists who follow their consciences will be welcome in Heaven.

* Why not cubic centimeters, or raw tonnage? Among other issues, the report said, Princeton had allotted “only 1,500 square feet” for student incubator and accelerator programs, “whereas Cornell has 364,000; Penn 200,000; Berkeley 108,000; Harvard 30,000; Stanford 12,000; Yale 7,700; N.Y.U. 6,000; and Columbia 5,000.” 

* Great moments in political campaigning.

* This story has everything.

* Like Goodfellas but for embezzling from a fruitcake company.

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions.

* Africa and the Looting Machine.

* The House That Marx Built. Marxism for Tomorrow.

How Esurance Lost Its Mascot to the Internet.

* NSFW, obviously, but: These Real Women Want to Show You How to Give Them an Orgasm.

* Everything is totally normal, don’t even sweat it.

* We’ve been talking about climate change for a long time. Why Engineers Can’t Stop Los Angeles’ Enormous Methane Leak.

The Opium Wars, Neoliberalism, and the Anthropocene.

The Radical History of 1960s Adult Coloring Books.

The DMCA poisoned the Internet of Things in its cradle.

* More than one-third of wells in dairy farm-intensive Kewaunee County were found to be unsafe because they failed to meet health standards for drinking water, according to a new study.

William Gibson: how I wrote Neuromancer.

This Man Just Guessed How Much the Movies Have Spent “Rescuing” Matt Damon.

* For the poor in the Deep South’s cities, simply applying for a job exposes the barriers of a particularly pervasive and isolating form of poverty.

* Your 2016 TV Preview.

Why Do Employers Still Routinely Drug-Test Workers?

When Gun Violence Felt Like a Disease, a City in Delaware Turned to the C.D.C.

Reports of rapes of college-age women in localities of big-time teams go up significantly on game days, national study finds.

After difficult summer, UW-Madison fighting off efforts to poach top professors. The view from the provinces.

The Coolest Images From National Geographic’s 2015 Photo Contest. This Is Your Brain on Nature.

Star Wars Lego Sets Exploding at 3,000 Frames per Second Is the Best Guilty Pleasure.

* When Bobby Shrugged.

The science myths that will not die.

* Because you demanded it! The DeBoerist Manifesto.

* And Here’s More Evidence That Galactic Super-Civilizations Don’t Exist. But don’t you believe it! Bring on 2016!

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 30, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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* I have a short essay in the New Orleans Review‘s science fiction issue. Check it out! (Sorry, it’s not online.)

* CFP: Special Issue of American Literature: “Queer about Comics.”

* Academics of color experience an enervating visibility, but it’s not simply that we’re part of a very small minority. We are also a desired minority, at least for appearance’s sake. University life demands that academics of color commodify themselves as symbols of diversity—in fact, as diversity itself, since diversity, in this context, is located entirely in the realm of the symbolic. There’s a wound in the rupture between the diversity manifested in the body of the professor of color and the realities affecting that person’s community or communities. I, for example, am a black professor in the era of mass incarceration of black people through the War on Drugs; I am a Somali American professor in the era of surveillance and drone strikes perpetuated through the War on Terror.

Universities love a flagship building that sets them apart from the rest. But are they being designed with learning and research in mind?

Cornell Grad Students Form Unrecognized Union.

* The Irony of Catholic Colleges.

* The end of content.

* The end of tenure.

* Fake traffic is rotting the Internet.

* So weird: John Boehner, House Speaker, Will Resign From Congress.

* The College President-to-Adjunct Pay Ratio.

* The Journal of Academic Freedom has a special section devoted to Steven Salaita.

* Science proves you like being ripped off by airlines.

Fordham, Marquette rescind honorary degrees they gave Cosby.

Here’s More Evidence That Galactic Super-Civilizations Don’t Exist. Yet!

What a massive sexual assault survey found at 27 top U.S. universities. Counterpoint: The latest big sexual assault survey is (like others) more hype than science. Counter-counterpoint: The University of Chicago’s message to the Class of 2019: Don’t be a rapist.

* Speech and the campus newspaper at Wesleyan. And from the Southern Poverty Law Center: Campus Newspaper Thefts since 2000.

* Today in the apocalypse: Why some scientists are worried about a surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean.

* Ahmed’s Clock, Banneker’s Clock, and the Racial Surveillance of Invention in America.

* “Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges.”

A recent study suggests that acetaminophen—found in Tylenol, Excedrin and a host of other medications—is an all-purpose damper, stifling a range of strong feelings. Throbbing pain, the sting of rejection, paralyzing indecision—along with euphoria and delight—all appear to be taken down a notch by the drug.

Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software. Volkswagen hires BP’s Deepwater defense team as the lawsuits start. But it’s not all bad news.

Stojcevski was sent to the Macomb County Jail in Mt. Clemens, Mich., on June 11, 2014, to serve a 30-day sentence after failing to appear in court over a ticket for careless driving, according to the lawsuit. During the 16 days between his imprisonment and his death, the lawsuit alleges, staff at the jail knowingly allowed him to suffer through “excruciating” acute withdrawal without treatment.

Inside the collapse of Scott Walker’s presidential bid.

* Inside Retraction Watch.

* Inside Salvador Dali’s Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Rather than fighting for more and better work, we should fight for more time to use as we please. Proposals like a universal basic income may well lead to this. Most importantly, in thinking about the time bind, we should keep in mind what it would mean to be really free from it. We should keep in mind the full possibilities of liberation: what we want is not to be allowed to work more or in better conditions, but to be allowed to live as we see fit.

* Counterpoint: Against UBI.

* I had nightmares like this: What If the Answer Isn’t College, but Longer High School?

* A Urine Collection Bag from Apollo 11 marked with the initials “NA.”

* The Bowe Bergdahl case is a weird choice for Serial season two, but I suppose nearly anything would be.

Netflix Data Reveals Exactly When TV Shows Hook Viewers — And It’s Not the Pilot.

* DC reboots the Spectre.

* Happy Birthday, everyone.

* …the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.

* Honestly this would work pretty well for academics too.

* Listen, this is just getting silly now.

We have burned all the furniture for fuel and we’re starting to chop away at the deck. We are a terrible, dispirited society and we finally have the terrible, dispirited Muppets we deserve.

What Can ‘Star Trek’ Teach Us About American Exceptionalism?

* Rude hand gestures from around the world.

* And I’m devoting the rest of my career to the Mysteries of the Unknown books, now that I’ve been reminded they exist.

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 26, 2015 at 9:00 am

Saturday

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* Should LeBron play for the league minimum? Sports Illustrated makes a strong case. (via Eric Barker)

* Naomi Klein on climate debt.

* How to power your galactic empire.

* And two from this week’s New Yorker: a piece on Caster Semenya, the intersex South African runner, and “My Parents, Enid and Sal, Used to Be Porn Stars.” The piece on death hysteria in American politics, centered around Morris County, New Jersey’s Karen Ann Quinlan, is also quite good—but it’s not online.