Posts Tagged ‘genocide’
* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.
* Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.
* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.
* From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.
* The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.
* Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.
* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.
* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.
(…though Tuesday’s links are still perfectly good…)
* I’m really excited to see that the Jameson talk on the army as a figure for utopia I talked about at the end of my Battle: Los Angeles essay is becoming a book (with some collected responses).
* One of my favorite Ted Chiang stories, “Understand” has been adapted as a radio drama at the BBC. Go listen!
* If you’re local, don’t forget! Mad Max: Fury Road discussion on campus today at 5 PM!
* The FBI’s probe into the security of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail has expanded to include a second private technology company, which said Tuesday it plans to provide the law enforcement agency with data it preserved from Clinton’s account.
* Two great tastes: For decades, researchers have debated whether a major asteroid strike or enormous volcanic eruptions led to the demise of dinosaurs almost 66 million years ago. According to a new study, the answer might be somewhere in between: The asteroid impact accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes, and together, these catastrophes led to the mass extinction.
* The Vancouver public-speaking and drama instructor sees his reasons for assigning Alcor US$80,000 of life insurance benefits to have his brain cryopreserved as strictly pragmatic.
* Kristof said that more preschoolers are shot dead each year than are on-duty police officers. For children aged 0-4, that is accurate for the past six years. For children aged 3-5, the statement is true in most years, but not in every year. We rate the claim Mostly True.
* Twenty-first century problems: Can Crowdfunding Save This Town from White Supremacy?
* A new working paper from the Federal Reserve Board that looks at what role credit scores play in committed relationships suggests that daters might want to start using the metric as well. The researchers found that credit scores — or whatever personal qualities credit scores might represent — actually play a pretty big role in whether people form and stay in committed relationships. People with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships and marriages and then stay in them. In addition, how well matched the couple’s credit scores are initially is a good predictor of whether they stay together in the long term.
* This might be even worse than the drill bits: Greenfield Police Using Pink Handcuffs, Wearing New Pins For Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
* Get a head start on next week: “It’s time to abolish Columbus Day.”
* Just a reminder that I’ll be in DC for a debate, Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs.
* Against this backdrop, UW System leaders’ public statements in response to JFC’s omnibus bill—statements whose overriding tone is one of gratitude undergirded by obsequiousness—make perfect sense, even as they alternately disgust and infuriate the rest of us. Amid the general calamity for faculty, academic staff, classified staff, and students, there is an alignment of legislative priorities with administrative interests.
* It’s sad to say that when the administrators shut down any possibility for dialogue, when administrations withdraw into cocoon-like gated communities in which they’re always on the defensive, I think that it’s probably not unreasonable to say that this is not just about an assault, this looks like a war strategy. It looks like power is functioning in such a way as to both stamp out dissent and at the same time concentrate itself in ways in which it’s not held accountable.
* Who’s getting Koch money today? University edition.
* Under these weird meritocratic dynamics, bourgeois characteristics make you more valuable not because they are good characteristics in themselves, but merely because they are bourgeois characteristics, and therefore relatable to the top of the economic hierarchy that directs the resources top spots in top firms are competing to get. This poses obvious problems for social mobility, which is the direction people usually take it, but it poses even deeper problems for the idea of “skills” more generally. Where “skills” refers, not to some freestanding objective ability to produce, but rather to your ability to be chummy and familiar to those with the money, they don’t actually seem to be “skills” in the sense most people imagine the term. Upper crust professionals no longer appear to be geniuses, but instead people who went to boarding school and whose manner of conducting themselves shows it.
* When a child goes to war. We talked about the Dumbledore issue a ton in my magic and literature class this semester. Stay tuned through the end for what is indeed surely the greatest editorial note of all time:
* The map is not the territory (from the archives): The Soviet Union’s chief cartographer acknowledged today that for the last 50 years the Soviet Union had deliberately falsified virtually all public maps of the country, misplacing rivers and streets, distorting boundaries and omitting geographical features, on orders of the secret police.
* Some discussion of the Hastert case that explains why his supposed “blackmailers” may not be facing any charges: it’s legal to ask for money in exchange for not suing somebody.
* “Do we really want to fuse our minds together?” No! Who wants that?
* The Time War was good, and the Doctor changing it was also good. Take my word for it, I’m an expert in these matters.
* Everything you want, in the worst possible way: Michael Dorn is still pitching Captain Worf.
* And after a very uneven season the Community series (?) finale is really good. The end.