Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘I Am Legend

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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What’s Next

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China Mieville tries to get ahead of upcoming trends in SF. Via 3 Quarks Daily.

ii) Post-Elegiasm

The end of the world, whether wrought by Peak Oil, rising sea levels, the rage of nature, war, warlordism, nuclear conflagration or–D’oh!–tailored virus will not be achingly beautiful, nor morality tale. So will insist the Post-Elegiasts. This grumpy group of literary dissidents will be infuriated by the lightly disguised End-Times pornography of all the countless supposedly ‘bleak’ and ‘dystopian’ (right…) apocalypse fictions and culture. Visions of startlingly gorgeous ice floes under the Chrysler building, lugubrious lip-smacking depictions of ash landscapes, the lumpen bucolicism of all those overgrown cities, will not be for them.

Post-Elegiasts are to be united in scorn for what they will perceive as this cowardly surrender, and will term ‘High Tea among the Ruins’. This will manifest in one of two very contrasting ways: the ‘High’ Post-Elegiasts will depict the not-end of the world, endless accelerating advances, perhaps including singularities, perhaps asymptotic improvements, never one-sided but doggedly progressive. The ‘Low’ or ‘Punk’ wing will revel instead in depictions of Ragnaroks of various kinds that are genuinely horrible, ends-of-the-world unrecuperable by sanctimonious aesthetics, ugly, base and totally depressing. These are to be considered the more daring artists, but will sell in very low numbers.

The influences of the High Post-Elegiasts will include Golden-Age Science Fiction, Extropianism, Futurology and Fabianism, as well as self-help manuals and Paolo Coelho. The Low will focus instead on splatterpunk, Pierre Guyotat and D. Keith Mano’s The Bridge. Both wings will be united in their disdain for Alan Weisman, Richard Jefferies and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

What to say: ‘Fiction of justice beyond an eschatological horizon is exoneration.’

What not to say: ‘Will Smith sucked but overgrown New York looked kewl.’

Written by gerrycanavan

June 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm

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Great Opening Sentences from Science Fiction

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io9’s playing with great opening sentences from science fiction. (More at MeFi.) Contrary to the aesthetics of io9’s list, it seems to me that the best are those which refuse to immediately announce themselves as science fiction. Here are just a few from favorite s.f. novels that I haven’t seen anywhere else (all links go to Amazon):

“We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”
—Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

“Mars was empty before we came.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars

“On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.”
—Richard Matheson, I Am Legend

“What’s it going to be then, eh?”
—Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Though what can match the quiet elegance of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed? “There was a wall.”

Unless of course it’s Octavia Butler in Dawn: “Alive!”

QUICK UPDATE: I realized too late that I’d omitted a book that should be on any list of this sort, Olaf Staledon’s Star Maker:

One night when I had tasted bitterness I went out on to the hill.

Encouraging I Am Legend Review

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At Salon, Stephanie Zacharek wonders if I Am Legend might not be the most meditative action movie ever. This is music to my ears: the movie might actually be good.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 14, 2007 at 5:16 pm

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Nerds!

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Some good links from SF Signal this morning, including a promising trailer for the infinitely prolonged I Am Legend and a fantastic 1979 essay from Stanislaw Lem on the nature of sci-fi that declares Philip K. Dick “a visionary among the charlatans”:

The peculiarities of Dick’s worlds arise especially from the fact that in them it is waking reality which undergoes profound dissociation and duplication. Sometimes the dissociating agency consists in chemical substances (of the hallucinogenic type—thus in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch); sometimes in “cold-sleep technique” (as precisely in Ubik); sometimes (as in Now Wait for Last Year) in a combination of narcotics and “parallel worlds.” The end-effect is always the same: distinguishing between waking reality and visions proves to be impossible. The technical aspect of this phenomenon is fairly inessential—it does not matter whether the splitting of reality is brought about by a new technology of chemical manipulation of the mind or, as in Ubik, by one of surgical operations. The essential point is that a world equipped with the means of splitting perceived reality into indistinguishable likenesses of itself creates practical dilemmas that are known only to the theoretical speculations of philosophy. This is a world in which, so to speak, this philosophy goes out into the street and becomes for every ordinary mortal no less of a burning question than is for us the threatened destruction of the biosphere.

There’s also a link to what is probably the best indexed ever, as well as the only worthwhile comment on the whole “Dumbledore is gay!!!” fiasco that I’ve seen:

Written by gerrycanavan

October 26, 2007 at 2:39 pm