Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘humanitarianism of a particular sort

Weekend Links! Some Especially Really Good Ones This Time I Promise

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* ICYMI, some single-serving posts from the last few days: How to Grad School and KSR’s The Lucky Strike. You may have also noticed that I’ve put a link to The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction pre-order page. Please alert all interested parties and institutional book-orderers!

* Hyping a project I have nothing to do with: you should also check out the Science Fiction BFI Film Classics series at Palgrave Macmillan, with monographs on Alien, Brazil, Solaris, Dr. Strangelove, and more.

* The final frontier of Star Trek fan canons: what if the Abramsverse universe is the Prime timeline? Read all the way to the end for some nice metacommentary on the project.

* According to a financial plan obtained by Crain’s Chicago Business, UChicago faces operating deficits of $5 to $30 million a year through 2018, and “ratings agencies could downgrade the university’s credit by as many as two notches.” In comparison, the pay increases detailed above would constitute 8 to 50 percent of the projected deficits, and the eight administrators’ overall pay would constitute 20 percent to 120 percent of the deficits.

* Unpacking the Myths of Financial Aid.

Why would the university award aid in this way? Couldn’t it just adjust the ratio of merit aid to need-based aid? Unfortunately, the “high tuition/high aid” model only “works” when it’s organized like this. That’s because, for many university administrators, financial aid is not so much a form of charity as it is an instrument for maximizing tuition revenue.

* The liberal discourse on gentrification has absolutely nothing to say about finance or prison, the two most salient institutions in urban life. Instead, it does what liberal discourse so often does: it buries the structural forces at work and choreographs a dance about individual choice to perform on the grave. We get tiny dramas over church parking lots and bike lanes and whether 7-11 will be able to serve chicken wings. Gentrification becomes a culture war, a battle over consumer choices: gourmet cupcake shop or fried chicken joint? Can we all live side by side, eating gourmet pickles with our fried fish sandwiches? Will blacks and whites hang out in the same bars? wonders Racialicious. Liberalism and Gentrification.

In Philadelphia, education reformers got everything they wanted. Look where the city’s schools are now. How to Destroy a Public-School System.

Democracy is not, to begin with, a form of State. It is, in the first place, the reality of the power of the people that can never coincide with the form of a State. There will always be tension between democracy as the exercise of a shared power of thinking and acting, and the State, whose very principle is to appropriate this power.

* Once more unto humanitarian intervention.

* …disaster relief and the “disaster narrative” is central to the development of the American welfare state.

* This is a very provocative critique of framing consent as a legal category: You Can Take It Back: Consent as a Felt Sense.

If you accept the premise that someone’s experience of sexual violation “counts” as rape, regardless of whether they granted verbal permission beforehand, then in order to avoid being accused of rape you’ll have to shift your mindset from, “I’d better make sure I was told it was okay to do this first,” to “I’d better make damn sure this person isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and feel like I raped them.” The latter is a standard requiring much more communication, understanding, and compassion from the people involved than the former, especially in situations with near-strangers like one-night stands, hook-ups, or play partners you might meet at a club.

I don’t know anything about the author, and I think from an argumentative perspective the writing of the piece could definitely be stronger, but all the same it’s an idea I’ll be thinking about a while. There’s a thought experiment in a later post that is illuminative: trying to identify the precise last moment that one can “withdraw” consent.

* “Presenteeism afflicts all business sectors, but some more than others.” The Case for Staying Home from Work.

* An evaluation of course evaluations. This is an above average meta-evaluation for sure; you could really tell how much he cared about the material.

* The women I pretend to be: on working in a male-dominated industry. #4, the Victim, is especially disheartening:

I remember one particularly bad day at a games conference. The event was, as is typical, about 10 percent female. At the start of the day, one of those “I’m just really touchy-feely” men put his hands where I had not invited them when we were crushed together in a crowded corridor. Then, in a talk, one dude took it upon himself to give a very detailed and enthusiastic account of a “rape game” he’d invented—where you had to stare deeply into the eyes of the “other player” while describing to them how you’re going to rape them, until they tell you to stop. It was genuinely traumatizing to hear the glee in his voice as he talked about it. Shaken, I went to sit in a quiet, empty room to regain my composure. A well-built man at least a foot taller than me came in, sat between me and the door and said: “You know, I messaged you on OKCupid but you never messaged me back.” By this point I genuinely felt too afraid to tell him to just fuck off. So I played nice and smiled and apologized.

* New Media watch: the rise of the podcast network.

* The case against the Supreme Court.

* Those benefitting most from the secure property rights might be forgiven for conceptual ignorance – introspection being a scarce commodity amongst the wealthy – but the vociferous and cynical denial of the asymmetric benefits of securing property rights, both intra- or inter-generationally, whether due to some combination of attribution bias, feigned religious belief, or simple greed is less excusable. In a new gilded age, the idea that the rule of law is vastly underpriced by those who benefit most should be anything but contentious.

* Corey Robin on the emerging “right to be forgotten.”

Mentally Ill Inmate In Solitary Confinement Died Of Thirst, Autopsy Finds.

* With Red Mars finally actually happening, Y: The Last Man is my new I-can’t-believe-they-haven’t-made-a-series-of-this-yet text.

* That’s they’re actually making The ExpendaBelles is the actual literal end of culture. Mark it down.

* Provocation: It’s not crazy for Mitt Romney to run for president again.

* Peace in our time: Marvel and the Kirby estate have settled.

* SMBC on proof by induction.

* The only link from this list you really need: There’s A Life-Size Game of Mouse Trap in Milwaukee.

* And has any social media network gone from hype to big backlash as quickly as (Vermont’s own!) Ello? Any faster and the entire social network would be goodbye-cruel-world manifestos…

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Monday Night Links!

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* CFP for every online academic I know but me: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Representation in Scandal.

* I think this problem goes beyond just academia, though academic life is a particularly hypertrophic version of it. Basically every professional career left in America requires you to completely reboot your life at least three times between high school and your first job.

* Dana Carvey on Harmontown is an amazing episode, but honestly I’d turn it off after Carvey leaves unless you’re a real Harmontown diehard. It’s a pretty big bummer of an episode otherwise.

* BREAKING: Coca-Cola is delicious poison.

* This is what Pangaea would look like with modern borders.

This article takes as its starting point the observation that neoliberalism is a concept thatis ‘oft-invoked but ill-defined’. It provides a taxonomy of uses of the term neoliberalismto include: (1) an all-purpose denunciatory category; (2) ‘the way things are’; (3) an insti-tutional framework characterizing particular forms of national capitalism, most notablythe Anglo-American ones; (4) a dominant ideology of global capitalism; (5) a form of gov-ernmentality and hegemony; and (6) a variant within the broad framework of liberalismas both theory and policy discourse. It is argued that this sprawling set of definitions arenot mutually compatible, and that uses of the term need to bedramatically narrowed fromits current association with anything and everything that a particular author may findobjectionable.

* Is our bloated, monstrous prison system failing its teenage inmates? The New York Times is on it.

* Could a Single Marine Unit Destroy the Roman Empire? Popular Mechanics is on it.

The American Studies Association’s executive committee has called on the United States government to withdraw all support from the state of Israel, citing attacks on Palestinian universities, including a recent strike on the Islamic University in Gaza City.

* Too much power for any one man: Scientists reconstruct speech through soundproof glass by watching a bag of potato chips.

* First, they came for consumers of child pornography, and I said nothing because a Google bot passively uncovering child pornography on its email server didn’t seem like all that serious a privacy violation to me…

* Obama administration happily screwing up the legitimacy of humanitarian aid for absolutely no reason.

* Are fish far more intelligent than we realize?

* Who’s the richest person in your state?

What Real-Life Plants Could Groot Have Evolved From?

In fact, modern text-speak bears a striking resemblance to the system of abbreviations and shorthand present in medieval manuscripts, what I’ve termed here “quill speak.”

* There Is A “Bomb Gaza” Game On The Google Play Store And It’s Pretty Awful.

* Athletics Is Said to Drive Culture of Rape, Drug Use at Air Force Academy.

* They’re trying so hard to ruin the new Spider-Man franchise but test audiences keep saving us.

* 5000 words have been added to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, because ours is an age of weaklings.

* They Benghazi’d the Benghazi inquiry, now we’ll never know who Benghazied the Benghazi at Benghazi.

* Getting a bit ahead of ourselves, perhaps.

* But what was the Mad Hatter doing before he met Alice?

* Cruel optimism.

* Cruel optimism, part two: Chronicle scribe Max Landis to bring Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels to TV.

* Kickstarter: Designers & Dragons is a four volume book series of RPG industry awesomeness, meticulously researched and prettily packaged. Author Shannon Appelcline guides you company by company through the history of tabletop starting in the 1970s all the way up to present day. This series is chock full of fascinating insider tidbits, company profiles, and yes—enough drama to fuel a hundred campaigns.

* This computer program can predict 7 out of 10 Supreme Court decisions. Sadly, the model still can’t identify who has more money in the remaining 30% of cases.

* And my thinkpiece on Guardians of the Galaxy has been scooped. Alas.

Tuesday Morning Links

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* From the archives: The university is no longer primarily a site of production (of a national labor force or national culture) as it was in the 1970s and 80s, but has become primarily a site of capital investment and accumulation. The historical process through which this transformation was implemented is long and complicated, and we cannot give a detailed account of it here. Instead, we want to describe the general shape of this new model and the consequences it might have for political action in a university setting. We take as paradigmatic the case of the University of Michigan, where this model has been worked out in its most developed form and from which it is spreading across the United States, as university administrators across the country look to and emulate what they glowingly call the “Michigan model.” In this new university, instruction is secondary to ensuring the free flow of capital. Bodies in classrooms are important only to the extent that money continues to flow through the system. It is a university that in a global sense has ceased to be a university—its primary purpose is no longer education but circulation. This is the new logic of the university. If we want to fight it, we have to understand it.

Merit, Diversity and Grad Admissions.

* Big Data and Graduation Rates.

* Teaching the controversy in California, Holocaust edition.

* Another absolutely botched college investigation of a sexual assault.

* Violent Abuse of the Mentally Ill Is Routine, Widespread at Rikers Island.

* Bullshitting about Gaza.

* Malcolm Harris on redheads and playacting racist.

* Why it’s time we talked about the sex lives of humanitarians.

* Shouting About Diving, but Shrugging About Concussions. How to stop FIFA from being such a parasite. Could the World Cup Champion Beat the Best Club Team in the World? Stadiums and/as prisons. Another World Cup Is Possible.

* That’s… ominous. Parts of Yellowstone National Park closed after massive supervolcano beneath it melts roads.

* Buzzfeed has a longread about the behavior of a long-term predator in an elite California private school.

* Meanwhile, Pope Francis’s back-of-the-envelope calculation of the number of predators in the clergy is utterly horrifying.

* Demolition unearths legacy of toxic pollution at Milwaukee plant.

* Is Milwaukee the No. 1 city for tech? Not so fast.

* The July effect is real: new doctors really do make hospitals more dangerous.

* Joss Whedon has written more Buffy the Vampire Slayer. True fact!

Behind-The-Scenes Footage Of Buffy Stunts Is the Ultimate Time Suck.

On the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons.

* Against natural gas as a “transition fuel.”

* If you pretend precedent is meaningful and the rule of law is an operative concept in America, and squint real hard, here’s a way Hobby Lobby could be good news for liberals.

There is, Steve estimates, room enough on the ark for 23 people to live comfortably. And Australians are welcome. Singles, couples, families, believers. All that’s required is a $300 one way ticket from Brisbane to Luganville and a commitment that means forever.

* A bit on the nose, don’t you think? Two Fruitland Park, Fla. cops have lost their jobs after an FBI source named the two as members of the Ku Klux Klan.

* Uber and rape: Seattle Police Clear Uber Driver of Rape Charge, But Not Sexual Assault.

* When Park Middle School cheated on a high-stakes test.

* The goal of ethics is to maximize human flourishing.

* And the new Doctor Who trailer fills me with a little bit of sadness: I was really hoping the Capaldi era would be more swashbuckling than brooding. I guess I’m looking forward to Moffat moving on.

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Links

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* Teju Cole has expanded his White Savior Industrial Complex tweets into a full piece at the Atlantic.

* Erik Loomis vs. the MLA. Also on the Erik Loomis tip: Notes from a Changing Climate.

* Procedural reasons SCOTUS may punt on health care. Personally I’d be very surprised if we don’t get a definitive ruling this summer.

* “Which dystopian novel is it where thousands of surveillance robots constantly monitor us from the stratosphere?” Send in the Drones.

* Pop! Goes the Law School Bubble.

* Wired profiles James Erwin, whose Reddit comments landed him in Hollywood.

* A résumé filled with grievous errors in the period 1996–2006 is not only a non-problem for further advances in the world of consensus; it is something of a prerequisite. Our intellectual powers that be not only forgive the mistakes; they require them. You must have been wrong back then in order to have a chance to be taken seriously today; only by having gotten things wrong can you demonstrate that you are trustworthy, a member of the team. (Those who got things right all along, on the other hand, might be dubbed “premature market skeptics”—people who doubted the consensus before the consensus acknowledged it was all right to doubt.)

* Illinois has run out (!) of financial aid.

* Is the Portal to Hell Opening Up Under Wisconsin Right This Very Minute? Single-serving website in 3… 2… 1…

Friday!

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* In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day. At the agency’s Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the ‘vengeful librarians’ also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.

* It was linked in the Adam Kotsko post from earlier, but it’s worth promoting on its own merits: Nobody Cares about Property Damage.

In both cases, the liberal position is based around a belief that we can control how we are perceived, and how the state (and its ideological apparatuses like the media) will respond to us. Or actually this could be put more strongly: the criticism reveals the liberal’s desperate need to be in control. The fact that protestors have very limited ability to prevent state crackdowns, and certainly individual protestors can do almost nothing, is scary, and it conflicts with deeply held liberal beliefs about how the state works, and how protesting can change it.

* Occupy Oakland contrarian watch: WSWS.

* The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has devised a bizarre plan for deploying its new XO-3 tablet. The organization plans to drop the touchscreen computers from helicopters near remote villages in developing countries. The devices will then be abandoned and left for the villagers to find, distribute, support, and use on their own.

* From Facebook: the fifty states of paranormal horror.

* And the chart of the day: American oligarchy.