Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Information wants to be free

Memorial Day Links!

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* This weekend I got a chance to read an advance copy of Iain M. Banks, from the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series. It’s great! Highly recommended for fans of the Culture or of space opera more generally. Alfred Bester, which I also read this weekend, was great too!

* Anyway, who’s ready to be a walking blood-bag for an immortal tech lich?

* What Will Kill Neoliberalism? My money is on the managerial class one but with cash-for-sterilization and euthanasia payouts for the poors.

50 años de Cien años de soledad.

* Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared!

In the United States, the Trump Organization took Mr. Davies’s coat of arms for its own, making one small adjustment — replacing the word “Integritas,” Latin for integrity, with “Trump.”

What Mr. Trump got was a pair of lawsuits: one filed by Ms. Nwanguma and the other by one of Candidate Trump’s most fervent young admirers among the white nationalist movement, Mr. Heimbach.

* This country is officially a global laughing stock. Or worse.

That third bill, the “Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act,” which appeared in a tweeted photo of White House strategist Steve Bannon’s policy agenda, would see immigration violations traditionally treated as civil infractions transformed into criminal violations, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Speaking before judiciary committee members Thursday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the provision would “turn millions of Americans into criminals overnight.” Nadler added that the legislation was “straight out of the Donald Trump mass deportation playbook.”

* I’m Cory Booker, for #TheResistance.

How low do you have to sink to lose an election in this country? Republicans have been trying to answer that question for years. But they’ve been unable to find out, because Democrats somehow keep failing to beat them.

* Sheriff’s Clarke Definitely Real Medals. Washington Post breaks down Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.’s pins, to Clarke’s ire.

“Solar power delivers cheapest unsubsidised electricity ever, anywhere, by any technology.” 

The night before the University of California Board of Regents voted to raise student tuition to help cash-strapped campuses, they threw themselves a party at the luxury Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco and billed the university. The tab for the Jan. 25 banquet: $17,600 for 65 people, or $270 a head.

* In the richest country in human history.

* Three trillion and counting.

* “11 Years Old, a Mom, and Pushed to Marry Her Rapist in Florida.”

* Threads thinking about slavery, history, and ethical reasoning from @zunguzungu and @BigMeanInternet.

* This has got to be one of the misogynistic things the Post has ever published in its long and august history.

* It looks like Trump somehow managed to ruin even Fargo.

* Science fiction, the future that failed. I would buy this self-help book. The law, in its majestic equality. When you’re sad. Social media is ruining everything. White people, no! Shades of Satan!

*This* is how you issue a heartfelt and meaningful apology.

* And Nintendo says I may, someday, have a Switch.

Wednesday Links!

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Fans aren’t the irrational ones. They know how to seize pleasure from the world and hold tight even as it hurts them. If fandom is simply an obedient response to the signals of the consumer market, it is an obedience which threatens to overrun its master while saying yes.

* On unprofessional bodies.

* Another “I’m a professor” essay.

What my experience has taught me must become every instructor’s priority — that is, if we are in the profession because we want to develop engaged citizens. I have learned to teach students to notice how they are being groomed to join a “docile and contingent workforce” whenever they are not encouraged to think in ways that feel like a challenge. I couldn’t do this if I were busy cowering to avoid complaints. Besides, I want my students to be passionately engaged and to feel empowered about speaking up both inside and outside of my classroom. The real question, then, is: how can professors broach controversial topics in a way that does not lend itself to complaints that are grounded more in emotion than in intellectual inquiry? The solution is simple, but implementing it requires courage and tenacity: professors need to directly discuss power and power differentials, no matter the subject area.

Tenure, Fairness, and Fear(lessness).

But that is not really something that makes professors special. Rather, it is good for people to make their lives less fearsome and their minds less fearful. Those of us who have some of that privilege in our working lives should hold our heads high and try to be allies to others who are working to get their share of it. There’s no shame in having security, only in keeping other people from it.

In the wake of the UW System Board of Regents’ decision last week to “pretend to have tenure,” System leaders are coming to acknowledge more and more in their public statements the correctness of the worries they have simultaneously attempted to depict as alarmist. The very grave problem posed by section 39 of the JFC omnibus motion is finally on the public radar of UW administrators, though they continue to soft-pedal its severity.

Can the University of Wisconsin Survive Governor Walker?

* Unless you are in highly unusual circumstances, really, do not think of adjuncting as a long-term career.

* What different colleges could do with $400 million.

In Heated State-Budget Fights, Students Strive to Be Heard.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Cooper Union: Five Trustees, Including Daniel Libeskind, Abruptly Resign.

The accusations against Mr. Walker, one of several new claims of academic misconduct involving Texas athletes, illustrate how the university has appeared to let academically deficient players push the limits of its policy on academic integrity as it has sought to improve its teams’ academic records.

* On disliking poetry.

But the emerging field of Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential election is something else altogether. Of the dozen or so people who have declared or are thought likely to declare, every one can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.

* And then there was Rand, scooping the Democrats again.

“We will make them appear less Asian when they apply,” he says. “While it is controversial, this is what we do.”

Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, this suburban school district south of Baltimore is introducing a new curriculum in the fall for 5-year-olds. Chief among its features is a most old-fashioned concept: play.

* From infancy to employment, this is a life-denying, love-denying mindset, informed not by joy or contentment, but by an ambition that is both desperate and pointless, for it cannot compensate for what it displaces: childhood, family life, the joys of summer, meaningful and productive work, a sense of arrival, living in the moment.

How Utah Became A Bizarre, Blissful Epicenter For Get-Rich-Quick Schemes.

* New government research shows that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women, a startling finding that experts say poses disturbing questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the armed forces.

Apple is finally fixing the reason your Mac and iPhone’s Wi-Fi sucks.

The constant cycle of phone upgrades — in which consumers buy phones once a new model comes out every two or so years — is having serious effects on the environment, according to a new study.

Why These Tiny Island Nations Are Planning To Sue Fossil Fuel Companies.

* music is inefficient beep bop boop

Why Franklin Richards Is The Most Ridiculous Character In All Of Comics.

* Information wants to be free! With regard to the pornographic material Osama Bin Laden had in his possession at the time of his death, responsive records, should they exist, would be contained in the operational files. The CIA Information Act, 50 U.S.C 431, as amended, exempts CIA operational files from search, review, publication, and disclosure requirements of the FOIA. To the extent that this material exists, the CIA would be prohibited by 18 USC Section 1461 from mailing obscene matter.

Six days in North Korea.

* “Officer Involved.”

Iceland put bankers in jail rather than bailing them out — and it worked.

* And Germany’s oldest student, 102, gets PhD denied by Nazis.

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Thursday Links

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Weekend Links

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My proposed Coursera course will ask students to discover for themselves how and why John Doerr, and your other Venture Capitalists, are willing to provide an even greater abundance of knowledge in the service of greater economic and social equality than is the State of California, which clearly has the means to spend much more than it has cost your company to reach a worldwide enrollment in the millions. As the course progresses, my more diligent students will come to see, however, that reducing income gaps through education is not the main problem that Coursera and other Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers are trying to solve in their pitch to investors. That problem is, rather, how and when to price the content that you are now giving away in your current (pre-public offering) phase of development.

* Mike Konczal on a universal basic income.

“We are the people who live in the rivers where you want to build dams. We are the Munduruku, Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã, Arara, fishermen and peoples who live in riverine communities. We are Amazonian peoples and we want the forest to stand. We are Brazilians. The river and the forest are our supermarket. Our ancestors are older than Jesus Christ.”

Former Leader of Guatemala Is Guilty of Genocide Against Mayan Group.

Brezhnev-style capitalism.

Neoliberalism was a political system in which the world was put to the test in some way, it was simply that the tests employed were those which privileged price and entrepreneurial energy. I don’t want to defend this form of testing, which is often cynical, bullying and depressingly unsympathetic to other valuation systems. But there was often some consistency about it and the capacity for an unexpected outcome (for instance, that local economic diversity might be revealed to be more fiscally efficient). Look at Westfield today, however, and you see an economic culture being repeated, without any sincere sense that this represents ‘choice’, ‘efficiency’ or ‘regeneration’, nor any sense that things might have turned out differently even if this had been known. The point becomes to name this as ‘efficient’ and that (e.g. Peckham Rye Lane) as ‘inefficient’, and try and avoid or suppress evidence to the contrary. The fear arises that provable efficiency might involve abandoning one set of power structures in favour of another. And so economics becomes a naming ceremony, not a test.

“Why do we have all this money to go after man-made terrorist attacks, and then we let our bridges fall down?” Flynn wonders.

* The New York Times covers the catastrophic failure of leadership at Cooper Union.

* Everything you want in the worst possible way: Not-Quite-Community renewed for a fifth season.

* Aaron Swartz Was Right.

The problem, as many mathematicians were discovering when they flocked to Mochizuki’s website, was that the proof was impossible to read. The first paper, entitled “Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory I: Construction of Hodge Theaters,” starts out by stating that the goal is “to establish an arithmetic version of Teichmuller theory for number fields equipped with an elliptic curve…by applying the theory of semi-graphs of anabelioids, Frobenioids, the etale theta function, and log-shells.” This is not just gibberish to the average layman. It was gibberish to the math community as well.

Law would stop Tesla electric car sales in NC.

* Morale crisis in Americans nuclear forces?

Flying car crashes near school in Vernon, B.C.

* Julian Assange explains the coming super-surveillance state.

* Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.

* The New York Times profiles Dr. David A. Patterson.

His American name is David A. Patterson, his Cherokee name Adelv unegv Waya, or Silver Wolf. He is a tenure-track assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. His groundbreaking research on the pitfalls facing Native Americans is both informed and inspired by his own story of deliverance.

* And the L.A. Times profiles Elizabeth Warren.

Sunday Afternoon Links: Marx at 193, The Kids Aren’t All Right, The Sixth Season of the Wire, and More

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* ‘Employers have feasted on despair’: The War Against Youth.

In the early 1980s, 3 percent of college grads had had an internship. By 2006, 84 percent had done at least one. Multiple internships are common. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 75 percent of employers prefer students who have interned or had a similar working experience.

There’s some boilerplate tenure bashing in there too, but one can’t have everything.

Marx at 193.

It’s hard not to conclude from these selected sentences that Marx was extraordinarily prescient. He really did have the most astonishing insight into the nature and trajectory and direction of capitalism. Three aspects which particularly stand out here are the tribute he pays to the productive capacity of capitalism, which far exceeds that of any other political-economic system we’ve ever seen; the remaking of social order which accompanies that; and capitalism’s inherent tendency for crisis, for cycles of boom and bust.

* The bomb in the garden: Matthew Butterick on the slow death of the Web.

Someone’s already tweeting—“Butterick is an idiot. He doesn’t know that information wants to be free.” You know, I have heard that. But I also know that 99.99% of people who mention this line forget to talk about the first and last parts of it.

“What? There’s a first and last part?” Yeah, yeah. The whole line goes like this:

“Information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable … On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower … So you have these two fighting against each other.”

* Seconding @BCApplebaum: Washington Post publishes sixth season of The Wire. There really should have been a season devoted to the prison-industrial complex. There’s still time, Simon!

* And a trailer for the indie film version of Mario Brothers. I think I might have linked to this before, but either way I’d watch the hell out of this.

Wednesday Night Links: 8,000 Barrels, 0.000025%, 3,387 Men, $100 Bills, and More

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Over a longer time span, say a decade, we would expect about 19 spill incidents with an aggregate spill volume of about 8,000 barrels, enough to fill about half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  We would expect about 1.3 of these spills to be “large,” which means that on average we would expect a “large” spill to occur about once every 8 years or so.  Clearly, based upon reported historical industry performance, spills in general and large spills in particular would not be a rare occurrence for the proposed pipeline.

* Elsevier’s behavior is so egregious that it has provoked a boycott from academics who refuse to write or review papers for its journals. But to focus on one malefactor elides a larger question: Why should academic knowledge — largely produced by academics at public and nonprofit universities and often with government grants — be turned into private property and kept from public dissemination?

Dartmouth College Cancels Classes After Sexual Assault Protesters Receive Rape Threats. More at Student Activism.

* Piranhas are a very tricky species: On Gift Horses and Trojan Horses: The Proposed Aquatics Center.

* Tumblr of the day: Little Girls Are Better at Designing Superheroes Than You.

Women Writers take heed, you are being erased on Wikipedia. It would appear that in order to make room for male writers, women novelists (such as Amy Tan, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt and 300 others) have been moved off the “American Novelists” page and into the “American Women Novelists” category. Not the back of the bus, or the kiddie table exactly–except of course–when you google “American Novelists” the list that appears is almost exclusively men (3,387 men).

“I love to paint. It is — painting has changed my life in an unbelievably positive way,” the unprosecuted war criminal said.

Mad Men’s Misery Problem And How TV Can Handle Characters Who Never Change.

Right Wing Media Exploit Boston Bombings To Attack Government Assistance Programs. West Virginia Republican: Make Kids Work As Janitors For School Lunches.

Feds spend at least $890,000 on fees for empty accounts. That’s a crushing 0.000025% of the federal budget going to WASTE.

Holding Corporations Responsible for Workplace Deaths. And then there’s Matt “Proud Neoliberal” Yglesias.

Rhode Island Becomes 10th State To Approve Marriage Equality.

* A Slavoj Žižek Text Adventure.

* Monster.com bans unpaid internships.

* You majored in STEM? And you thought you’d get a job after graduation? Why didn’t you major in something useful?

* And the new $100 is awful. Good thing I’ll never actually have one.

The Digital Humanities

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I’m somewhat amazed at how quickly this went from a Twitter dustup between @academicdave, @parezcoydigo@briancroxall, @ibogost, @samplereality, and others and @rgfeal to an actual thing: MLAJobLeaks. Now you too can experience the disheartening collapse of our profession in real-time…

Written by gerrycanavan

September 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Wednesday Morning

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* It’s not the project I’d have chosen for him, but I’ll take it: Joss Whedon will produce S.H.I.E.L.D., including writing and directing the pilot.

* Why did the FBI spy on Ray Bradbury?

* Another China Miéville interview: 1, 2.

* Biden 2016? Let’s not be hasty. Surely there’s some even less appealing candidate out there somewhere.

* What’s the per-diem for a trip to the Moon? About $8 bucks, minus lodging.

* Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal.

* Of course you had me at Soviet-era board games.

And the Los Angeles Review of Books crawls deep inside Werner Herzog.

“You are on a foreign island, the first who has set foot on the island in centuries. It is overgrown now with jungles, butterflies, strange birds singing, and you are walking through the jungle and you come across a gigantic cliff. And upon closer inspection, this entire escarpment is made completely of emeralds, [where] a holy monk hundreds of years ago spent his whole life with a chisel and a hammer scratching a poem into the walls. It’s hard like diamond; it took all his life to engrave only three lines in a poem. Please open your eyes and you will see it; you will be the first one to see it, and you will read it to me.” When the man protested he didn’t have his glasses, Herzog encouraged him to move closer and he would be able to read it. His poem began: “Why can’t we drink the moon? Why is there no vessel to hold it?”

Midweek Links

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A collection of artists and activists advocating the neoliberalisation of children’s minds. That is scandalous and stupid. The text is open. This should – could – be our chance to remember that it was never just us who made it, and it was never just ours. China Miéville on the future of the novel.

* 53 Arrested Development Jokes You Probably Missed.

‘The Office’ Ends As Documentary Crew Gets All The Footage It Needs.

In retrospect, we really over-shot this thing by an enormous margin,” said Sheffield, adding that he likely had more than enough good material after filming a British workplace from 2001 to 2003.

* Romney didn’t get a Ryan bounce anywhere but in my beloved Wisconsin. Well, hell.

More great moments in polling: Obama apparently leads Romney among African-American voters 94% to 0%. Some room for improvement there.

* Nobody say “war crime”: Glenn Greenwald says U.S. drones are now attacking first responders.

* “Well, I think the fact that you’re actually innocent is a ‘technicality’! So there!” A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision said that prisoners found to be “actually innocent” should be released even if they had not followed all legal technical requirements. The next year, Congress passed a new law with stringent time limits on when inmates could file habeas corpus cases in federal court. But the nation’s highest court has never ruled on whether those deadlines apply in cases in which there is evidence of “actual innocence.” Appellate courts across the nation disagree on whether they do. The law, in its majestic equality…

* Answering leninology from the other day: here’s Gawker’s primer on the case against Julian Assange.

Bonobo genius makes stone tools like early humans did. Monkeys reject unequal pay. I’m sold. It’s their turn.

Information Wants to Be Free, But You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Tuesday Night Links

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* Scenes from the class struggle in Hogwarts: it costs at least $42,752 a year to get a proper wizarding education. UPDATE: Want more about the cost of attending Hogwarts? Misopogon at Dog Eat Crow World charges bravely into the weeds.

* Scenes from the class struggle in Cambridge: Reddit co-founder arrested for what amounts to an attempt to steal JSTOR. Reddit thread. MetaFilter thread.

* Contrarian watch: Naked Capitalism says Elizabeth Warren is too good, and too important, for the Senate. This all may be so, but I want her to run anyway.

* One down: Wis. Dem State Senator Wins Recall In Landslide.

* I’ve been trying to steel myself to the idea of a Mitt Romney primary win, despite my worry that he alone could actually beat Obama in 2012. (And maybe if Romney won he’d do something on the environment. It’s possible, right? UPDATE: Ugh.) Nate Silver puts an Obama-Romney race down at even odds. But TPM says I don’t need to worry: Mitt has already maxed out his donors. Chait concurs.

* The knives come out for Bachmann. More here, here, and here.

* Was Rupert Murdoch behind the CRU hack? Grist speculates. I’d also really like to know if there’s any truth to these several-years-old reports of a “black ops” room at Fox News. Related: Parliament determines News Corp. deliberately obstructed the investigation into the hacks.

Ron Howard’s planned Dark Tower megaseries has collapsed.

* And a truly great find: An NPR adaptation of A Canticle for Leibowitz from 1960.

David Simon Is Not Making Sense

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David Simon has written an article for Columbia Journalism Review that is absolutely, completely wrongheaded, arguing that The New York Times and The Washington Post should simultaneously erect paywalls for their online content. Contrary to Simon’s assumptions, this would only destroy newspapers faster; paywalls have never, ever worked.

What newspapers actually need to do is find successful funding models for the digital age, up to and including reestablishing themselves as nonprofit organizations if necessary. More conversation at MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Midday Tuesday

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Midday Tuesday!

* Those of you participating in Infinite Summer (hey kate) may enjoy IJ blogging from Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, and others at A Supposedly Fun Blog.

* Bleeding Cool reviews Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man script.

* Maybe information doesn’t want to be free? Malcolm Gladwell pours cold water on Chris Anderson’s Free, itself famously in trouble for some apparent plagiarism:

There are four strands of argument here: a technological claim (digital infrastructure is effectively Free), a psychological claim (consumers love Free), a procedural claim (Free means never having to make a judgment), and a commercial claim (the market created by the technological Free and the psychological Free can make you a lot of money). The only problem is that in the middle of laying out what he sees as the new business model of the digital age Anderson is forced to admit that one of his main case studies, YouTube, “has so far failed to make any money for Google.”

Why is that? Because of the very principles of Free that Anderson so energetically celebrates. When you let people upload and download as many videos as they want, lots of them will take you up on the offer. That’s the magic of Free psychology: an estimated seventy-five billion videos will be served up by YouTube this year. Although the magic of Free technology means that the cost of serving up each video is “close enough to free to round down,” “close enough to free” multiplied by seventy-five billion is still a very large number. A recent report by Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube’s bandwidth costs in 2009 will be three hundred and sixty million dollars. In the case of YouTube, the effects of technological Free and psychological Free work against each other.

* Kunstler: Don’t call Americans “consumers.” Because when you rename a problem it suddenly goes away.

Sunday Linkdump #3

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Sunday linkdump #3.

* The local food movement gets a big boost with news of a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. More at MeFi.

* Visualizing the organic food industry in the U.S.

* The Washington Post finally gets around to kind of correcting George Will’s dishonest columns on climate change. Sure, it’s been a month, but it’s not like the paper comes out every day.

* You may remember from Jon Stewart’s well-placed mockery when Barack Obama gave Gordon Brown a gift of twenty-five DVDs during his visit that paled in comparison to Brown’s gift of a pen-holder made from the timbers of the HMS Resolute. Well, it’s a little worse than you think.

Alas, when the PM settled down to begin watching them the other night, he found there was a problem.

The films only worked in DVD players made in North America and the words “wrong region” came up on his screen.

I’ve told you before, information wants to be free…

Even the list of DVDs itself is fairly unimpressive. Star Wars? The Godfather? Really? I’ve got to be honest, I think Brown’s probably seen some of these.

Etc.

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm