Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Iraq

Happy Day after My Birthday to Me Links

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* I’ve had a few pieces come out in the last couple weeks, including a short rumination on memory in the Anthropocene (and Richard McGuire’s Here) for the online journal Deletion. I’m also batting cleanup in a beautiful new volume called Science Fiction: A Literary History, with a piece on “New Paradigms, After 2001.”

The Syllabus: A tribute to the late, great Jim Clark. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone singlehandedly hold a thing together the way Jim held together the UNCG MFA Program.

* The C21 conference for 2018 has a theme: Ends of Cinema. There’s also a promising looking conference happening at McMaster University on Embodiment in Science Fiction and Fantasy. CfP: Fandom—Past, Present, Future, DePaul University, Chicago, IL. And a cool postdoc at Madison: Postdoctoral Fellowship on the Plantationocene.

* I loved this episode of The Lit Review podcast on Octavia Butler’s Earthseed books, with Adrienne Maree Brown. Highly recommend!

Angry Optimism in a Drowned World: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson.

The Anthropocene is that moment in which capitalist expansion can no longer expand, and you get a crush of the biophysical system – that’s climate change – and then you get a crush of the political economy.

31 Essential Science Fiction Terms And Where They Came From.

A Timeline for Humanity’s Colonization of Space.

* If China Makes First Contact.

* Science Fiction and the Arab Spring.

8 Sci-Fi Writers on Where Star Trek Should Go Next.

* The Uncanny Resurrection of Dungeons and Dragons.

* Critical Perspectives on Waluigi.

* Welcome to the future, time traveler!

The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students. The GOP Tax Plan Will Destroy Graduate Education. Grad Students Are Freaking Out About the GOP Tax Plan. They Should Be. I would expect a massive wave of college closures in 2018 and 2019 if this goes through.

* I’m very excited to read Malcolm Harris’s book on millennials, which is getting rave reviews. Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times.

Unions aren’t just good for wage workers. Students can use collective bargaining, too. The idea of organizing student labor when even auto factory workers are having trouble holding onto their unions may sound outlandish, but young people have been at the forefront of conflicts over police brutality, immigrant rights and sexual violence. In terms of politics, they are as tightly clustered as just about any demographic in America. They are an important social force in this country, one we need right now.

It’s in students’ shared interest to seek later start times for the school day to combat the epidemic of insufficient sleep among high schoolers. It’s in their shared interest to improve their mental health by reducing competition. They could start by demanding an end to class rank or a cap on the number of Advanced Placement courses each student can take per year. It’s in their shared interest to make life easier and lower the stakes of childhood in general. Only young people, united, can improve their working conditions and end the academic arms race.

The excerpt from Harper’s was really good, too!

By looking at children as investments, it’s possible to see where the product of children’s labor is stored: in their human capital. It’s a kid’s job to stay eligible for the labor market (and not in jail, insane, or dead). Any work beyond that adds to their résumé. If more human capital automatically led to a higher standard of living, this model could be the foundation for an American meritocracy. But millennials’ extra work hasn’t earned them the promised higher standard of living. By every metric, this generation is the most educated in American history, yet its members are worse off economically than their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Every authority from moms to presidents told millennials to accumulate as much human capital as they could; they did, but the market hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. What gives?

* The Uncounted.

* Documenting bias against married women in junior faculty searches. What It Looks Like When a University Tries to Revoke a Professor’s Tenure. The University and Debt: Thinking About Neocolonialism in the United States. The Great College Loan Swindle. The Finger-Pointing at the Finance Firm TIAA. Public Higher Ed Skews Wealthy. University History Departments Have a Race Problem. Public engagement is a two-way street.

What Flannery O’Connor’s College Journal Reveals.

It’s Official: ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series Gets Multiple-Season Commitment at Amazon. With Christopher Tolkien stepping down as executor of the estate I really think they should have waited to try to get the rights to The Silmarillion (which would work much better on television than in cinema). Trying to do the Jackson trilogy on a shoestring is just not going to hold up. Elsewhere in Tolkien news: an earnest effort to see him named a saint in the Catholic Church.

* Honestly Amazon just should have done Prydain.

* I’ve been saying it since the 1990s: Bill Clinton should have resigned. And Al Franken, who I thought better of, should now.

* My dream of one day being a federal judge remains alive.

Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary. Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between. World’s witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires’ wealth swells to $6tn. Weaponizing the tax code. The coming retail apocalypse.

* This is one of the sickest deportation stories yet.

* Two murder convictions for the same shot.

Sexual Harassment Will Change Your Career Forever. Someone is editing all the bullshit out of celebrity sexual assault apologies. The Myth of the Male Bumbler. Let this flood of women’s stories never cease.

* Why Are There No Great Female Werewolves?

* In a time without heroes…

Portrait Of An American Mass Shooting.

* Malice for malice’s sake.

Scientist recalls training Laika for space.

* Mapping Quantum Leap.

Oh No, I Got Sucked Into the X-Wing Tabletop Game.

* The nightmare that is children’s YouTube culture.

* In a historic move I’m limiting myself to just one “we’re all going to die” link: Democrats Are Shockingly Unprepared to Fight Climate Change.

* Remembering that it is in fact possible to solve difficult environmental problems with deliberate intervention and international cooperation.

The truth about Easter Island: a sustainable society has been falsely blamed for its own demise.

* Japan, are you okay? I was worried and wanted to reach out.

* And I’ve been on the record saying this for years! Universe shouldn’t exist, CERN physicists conclude.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 17, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Thursday Night Links!

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New Photo Seems To Prove Amelia Earhart Survived Plane Crash, Was Captured By Japanese.

If hunger had an effect on our mental resources of this magnitude, our society would fall into minor chaos every day at 11:45 a.m. Or at the very least, our society would have organized itself around this incredibly strong effect of mental depletion. Impossibly Hungry Judges.

* Free download: Posthumanism and the Graphic Novel in Latin America.

* On My High School Obsession with UFOs.

* It’s in the National Review — and it describes a phenomenon at work in many departments along many political axes — but this piece describes a problem academics should take more seriously than they do. This is probably the most crimethink intellectual position I hold.

* Trump White House openly discusses extorting Time Warner and AOL to manipulate CNN coverage, no one bats an eye.

* Head of Office of Government Ethics resigns, sending President Trump a serious message. The message is “you can do whatever you want and nobody will stop you.”

4 dumb ideas that centrist Democrats simply adore.

Mark Penn has been giving shitty advice for literally forever. But don’t worry, we’ve got this.

Meet the populist Wisconsin Democrat looking to dethrone Paul Ryan.

* But in truth the Declaration wasn’t quite the singular achievement we remember it to be. As it turns out, nearly 100 other “declarations of independence” had already been issued in the months leading up to July 4th, 1776, by states, towns, counties, and assorted other bodies. The Declaration of Independence endorsed at the Continental Congress that July wasn’t a bolt out of the blue: It was more like a final draft in a loose, many-centered, wide-ranging process, authored not by one man but by a chorus of voices in a fledgling nation whose people had caught independence fever and were suddenly proclaiming it with contagious enthusiasm.

* Hobby Lobby Agrees to Forfeit 5,500 Artifacts Smuggled Out of Iraq.

* No SWAT Zone: Resisting police militarization under Trump.

* Mom Feared Beating by United Employees — So She Gave Up Toddler Son’s $1000 Seat to Standby Passenger. It’s clear the time has come for United to be abolished.

* Rick Perry left his smart-guy glasses at home today. Check out 2nd Term SS 1970.

* Arizona Court Overturns In-State Tuition for Some Immigrants.

Facebook and Google gobble ’99 per cent of new digital ad cash.’ Media buyers warn Facebook viewability ‘diabolical and horrible.’ Taxonomy of Humans According to Twitter.

* Easily the most boundary-pushing, offensive path they should have chosen: South Park to Lay Off Trump Jokes, Focus on Childhood Antics.

* The poverty of expanded universes: Man, Rey and BB-8 Went Through a Lot During Their One Night on Jakku.

This is how climate change will shift the world’s cities.

* It really is their century.

* An editing error, you say.

* When your book only sells sixty copies. Don’t tell me what to do. Or, the utopian impulse. And they hated Jesus because he told them the truth.

Monday Morning Links!

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* On Saturday night the SFRA announced its award winners. Congrats to all! And here’s a Storify of the weekend’s #SFRA2017 tweets.

Civilizations in Crisis: Chinese Speculative Fiction. And at the New Yorker Radio Hour: The Cultural Revolution and the Alien Invasion.

* The Jobless Utopia of La Zarzuela.

SF, Pulp & Grit.

‘Seat 14C’ short stories imagine a 20-year time warp – and now you can hop on board.

As one of the four finalists for the Edward Said Chair, I returned from the campus interview to experience a prolonged waiting period. When the news was finally delivered, I did not learn whether I had gotten the position or not. Rather, the email informed me that the position had been cancelled altogether, due to unforeseen administrative issues.

Constructing the cyber-troll: Psychopathy, sadism, and empathy.

* President Trump appears to have sourced his CNN wrestling tweet from a racist troll on Reddit.

Let us instead critique liberal multiculturalism and liberal feminism, while advancing a socialist-feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist vision. And let us try to leave behind the sectarian divisions that have hampered us and seize the opportunity to build a new left.

* Proponents insist that the emails, as deranged as they might seem, work. Critics argue that the tactic has a short shelf life and is deceptive. But Their Emails.

D.C. police are investigating whether patrol officers struck an 11-year-old bicyclist with their cruiser Thursday night in Northwest Washington’s Park View neighborhood and drove away without reporting the incident.

* Did Trump break the law over alleged Morning Joe National Enquirer blackmail threat? Oh honey. The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians. Trump’s CNN Tweet Linked To Reddit User HanAssholeSolo.

* Democrats completely around the bend.

How handsome is Mike Pence? We asked the experts.

* Once we dispense with the pragmatic-compromise explanation for the MSPRA, it’s much easier to understand what CAP is doing. They are proposing a “bipartisan” patch on Obamacare, not because they think they can win through compromise, but because they largely agree with what Republicans want to do. They are promoting market-based healthcare instead of embracing popular support for single payer because they do not want to see single payer succeed. There’s no counter-intuitive chess game going on here; liberals are telling the left exactly what they want, and we would do well to take them at their word.

* Generation Catalano rebrands again, again.

University of Melbourne Associate Professor of Sociology Dan Woodman—who, probably not coincidentally, was born in 1980—says the “Xennial” label applies to those born between 1977 and 1983. It’s a unique demographic group, he argues, because Xennials spent a significant chunk of their childhoods without access to computers—and indeed, will someday be among the last people on Earth to remember a time before the internet—but experienced the internet revolution early enough to still become early adopters of new technologies. People who were actually college aged when Facebook came out, in other words.

* Another one: Generation Space.

The forgotten cyberspace of the Neuromancer computer game.

* Okja and translation.

* Iran’s temperature hit 127 degrees yesterday.

* Being James Thomas Hodgkinson’s widow.

* Methadone for social media addiction.

As Cost Of Opioid Epidemic Rises, One City May Consider Not Reviving Addicts Who Repeatedly Overdose.

* How valuable is Stephen Curry?

Phone Sex Operators Say They Are Making Less Than Minimum Wage.

Escaped elephant takes a stroll through Wisconsin neighborhood.

* Ancestry.com presents: Descendents of the Founding Fathers.

* disappointedspringsteen.gif. I mean really.

* Debt and the future.

* McConnell’s nearing a deal. Don’t sugarcoat this. Trump just called for 32 million people to lose health coverage.

* A Muslim doctor in Trump country.

New Florida law lets any resident challenge what’s taught in science classes.

* ‘Terrorism’ misspelled on bench at Indiana war memorial.

Mass Grave Of Dozens Of Tortured Black Men Found In Deceased KKK Leaders Estate. UPDATE: This was a fake story.

* Personally, I think teaching is improv.

* Against Gorsuch. Against Gorsuch. Against Gorsuch.

* Fascinating analysis: The newspaper offered no definitive answer, but the question itself points to a broader issue that tends to be underexplored in the context of wrongful convictions: what typically happens with respect to the underlying crime—and, by implication, the cause of justice and of public safety—when the person found legally responsible for committing it later is determined not to be.

A Brutal Intelligence: AI, Chess, and the Human Mind.

Privilege and responsibility are the words we call on when the dream of a society organized by individual merit runs up against the hard world of systematic and intractable inequality.

In Honoring Enslaved Laborers, Colleges Seek to Blunt the Force of Their Pro-Slavery Icons.

* Wikipedia as Text Adventure.

* The Hardest Job in the World. I’m like an X-Man with psychic attack powers. Time Management: A Guide for Busy Moms.

* Factionalism / small talk. All things carry yin and embrace yang. Look for the helpers.

Horror is the only film genre where women appear and speak as often as men.

* Never meet your heroes.

* And I consider this a canonical part of Zefram Cochrane’s backstory.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 3, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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#SFRA2017 Links for All Your #SFRA2017 Needs!

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* Watch #SFRA2017 for all the tweets from SFRA2017! I’ll be presenting this afternoon in the 4 PM session: “No, Speed Limit: Hyperspace in the Anthropocene,” mostly talking about John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire but also hitting Octavia Butler, Cixin Liu, Kim Stanley Robinson, Margaret Atwood, H.G. Wells, and others.

* And just in time for #SFRA2017, SFFTV 10.2 is now available! A special issue on the SF films of Stephen King.

* From Canavan’s Razor to Kotsko’s Hammer: If you believe that you have caught your enemy in a contradiction, you are mistaken. At best, you have misjudged their real priorities and goals. At worst, you have fallen for a deliberate smokescreen, designed to confuse and distract you.

* CFP: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at 200 (Science Fiction Studies, Special Issue).

Emma Watson has been hiding copies of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale around Paris, with a handwritten note inside each one.

The City University of New York picked the worst time to raise the salaries of its top administrators to as much as $402,700 — the same day it cut the operating budgets of its four-year colleges and raised tuition.

* Can’t you see? Star Wars needs mediocrity.

* Return of the travel ban. Return of the lawsuits. The travel ban going into effect would have saved zero lives from terrorist attacks in the last 20 years. It’s going to get worse.

* This seems normal and fine.

Gun Sales Are Plummeting and Trump Wants to Help.

GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn.

Republican Health Care Bill Cuts Medicaid 24 Percent By 2036. Trumpworld’s push to get a Senate health deal. Senate GOP Health Care Surrender Watch.

* “California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth”: The maternal mortality rate in the state is a third of the American average. Here’s why.

The Case for Paying Less Attention to Donald Trump. And Now the Trump Presidency Begins to Fail for Real. MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski say President Trump and his White House used the possibility of a hit piece in the National Enquirer to threaten them and change their news coverage.

* Hell yes, Rep. Barbara Lee.

* Normally I’d say “teach the controversy,” but these allegations are simply too serious to treat flippantly: NASA Denies That It’s Running a Child Slave Colony on Mars.

* Cyberattack attacks Chernobyl radiation monitoring station.

* On desistance and detransition.

* Global warming will intensify regional inequality in the United States, according to a revolutionary new economic assessment of the phenomenon.

* Two brothers, two deaths.

Illinois Approaches 3rd Year Without Budget.

US quietly publishes once-expunged papers on 1953 Iran coup.

SCP-3008-1 is a space resembling the inside of an IKEA furniture store, extending far beyond the limits of what could physically be contained within the dimensions of the retail unit. Current measurements indicate an area of at least 10km2 with no visible external terminators detected in any direction. Inconclusive results from the use of laser rangefinders has lead to the speculation that the space may be infinite. SCP-3008-1 is inhabited by an unknown number of civilians trapped within prior to containment. Gathered data suggests they have formed a rudimentary civilisation within SCP-3008-1, including the construction of settlements and fortifications for the purpose of defending against SCP-3008-2.

* Just what is happening at Disney?

* Rick and Morty season three, at last, by God.

And Jurassic Park but with the dinosaurs from the 90s TV show Dinosaurs, forever and ever amen.

Sunday’d Reading!

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* Presenting the International Journal of James Bond Studies.

* On graduate labor and the Yale commencement protest.

A shadowy international mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan targeted the movement opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures, collaborating closely with police in at least five states, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents provide the first detailed picture of how TigerSwan, which originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror, worked at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, to respond to the indigenous-led movement that sought to stop the project.

“Self-defense” in America safeguards the privileges of white men as possessors of property, arbiters of sexual access, and inflictors of violence.

* Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared!

* Flynn, Sessions, etc.

* So old I can remember when Eric and Donald Jr. were going to run the business and not have a political role. (January.)

* Cool, thanks for looking into it.

* Same joke but with the one of the highest capitalized companies on the planet claiming poverty to avoid not being quite so sexist.

Google has begun using billions of credit-card transaction records to prove that its online ads are prompting people to make purchases – even when they happen offline in brick-and-mortar stores, the company said Tuesday.

Google’s AI Is Now Creating Its Own AI.

The Republicans Broke American Politics, and Media Elites Are Blind to It. A week that reveals how rotten today’s Republican Party is.

The life and death of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. It’s too late, of course, the cultists will believe in it for all time.

* Horrific hate crime in Portland. Seems to be part of a disturbing trend.

* New Orleans principal loses job after wearing Nazi-associated rings in video. Glowing 2015 profile.

* Meanwhile, in Arizona. In New Jersey.

* New Jersey not doing great in my newsfeed today generally. Though this was good.

* U.S. Airstrike Killed Over 100 Civilians in Mosul, Pentagon Says. The U.S. Is Helping Allies Hide Civilian Casualties in Iraq and Syria.

* ‘Mostly Toddlers’ Among 31 Drowned.

* A spectre is haunting Goldman Sachs.

* Trump going to the mattresses.

How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative.

* Democrats doing much better, still can’t win a damn thing. The only answer is to keep offering them nothing and telling them they’re stupid, until they finally come around. Wake up, liberals: There will be no 2018 “blue wave,” no Democratic majority and no impeachment. Donald Trump Is A Big Reason The GOP Kept The Montana House Seat.

* The end of Breitbart?

* Remember how terrible the AHCA is?

* Can Trump pardon by tweet?

* Trump and the drug war.

* RNC PR BS but even more so.

* Sheriff Clarke and some totally appropriate, not at all batshit insane behavior.

* A GoFundMe Campaign Is Not Health Insurance.

* A 31-year-old undocumented Honduran bicyclist, Marcos Antonio Huete, was hit by a car in Key West, Florida, on his way to work. The policeman’s camera shows him inquiring about the victim’s immigration status before offering medical assistance. He was later detained by the Border Patrol.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers ate breakfast at a Michigan restaurant, got up, and detained three employees on Wednesday morning.

* “We want you to think Luke is bad” is an awfully large part of Last Jedi hype. I have to think that means they won’t actually do it…

* Title IX Policy shift at the University of Oregon: Faculty members at the University of Oregon will no longer be required to notify campus authorities when students confide in them that they’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed but say they don’t want the information reported.

* Wealth, I realized, is the adult version of magic: an incredibly powerful but ultimately arbitrary resource that transfers primarily through inheritance. It has some logic to it— but also enough randomness that those without can hope for a spontaneous windfall in the form of an improbably lucrative investment or a secret inheritance.

* Disaster: The Game!

* Unexpected and interesting: Joss Whedon isn’t just finishing Justice League; he’s been working on it for a while.

* Not So Random Trek.

* Truly, ours is the darkest timeline.

* Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the head.

The average person keeps thirteen secrets, five of which he or she has never shared with anyone else.

* A chance meeting with Mr. Rogers.

* RIP, Denis Johnson.

* Crayola by the numbers.

If you’d bought $1,000 of Bitcoin in 2010, you’d be worth $35M.

* Uber: a cheap scam all the way down.

* Original draft of Revenge of the Sith actually treated Padme as an interesting character.

* Obituaries My Mother Wrote for Me While I Was Living in San Francisco in My Twenties.

* These birds have the right idea.

* This one cuts me. When you’re in your thirties. Call CPS. #TheResistance.

* Everything was connected, and I was fucked.

* Can someone please explain the physics of Casper?

* And N6946-BH1 is all of us right now.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 28, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Links!

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being an addendum to these Supersized ICFA Weekend Links

* On that “asking questions about Russia” NYT op-ed I linked yesterday: Getting an op-ed into the New York Times is notoriously difficult, as the paper’s editors treasure its selectivity and prestige, for the obvious reason that a NYT byline confers an extraordinary amount of credibility on the writer. Thus the Times makes particular choices about the voices that are worth listening to, and the voices that are not. And by printing the Mensch op-ed, the Times has said that Mensch is a person whose thoughts ought to be in the paper. But one can only think this if one has abandoned all standards for what constitutes reasoned opinion on Russia.

Democratic elites are delusional — you can’t subdue the reactionary right without a robust alternative political vision. Politicking Without Politics.

More than 200 civilians killed in suspected U.S. airstrike in Iraq. We have been bombing this country nearly continuously for nearly thirty years.

* As Spencer shows, it is these seemingly anodyne conceptual commitments, combined with their structural expression, that bind contemporary architecture to the imperatives of neoliberalism, a term for which Spencer develops a coherent and persuasive account. Pushing against the conception, developed by theorists such as David Harvey, of neoliberalism as simply the latest step in the developmental “logic of capital,” Spencer sees it as something much more intentionally and insidiously cultivated: it is “a school of economic thought,” he writes, “that has consciously directed itself, through key individual thinkers, as a project to remake the mentality and behaviour of the subject in its own image.” Following Foucault, Spencer argues that neoliberalism — characterized primarily by its valorization of the free market — is a form of “governmentality” involved not just in the shaping of economies but in the “production of subjectivity.” Neoliberalism does not impose itself on us coercively, via punitive measures or structures of discipline, but gently shapes our common-sense understandings of the world and ourselves through the medium of our everyday experiences, turning us into competitors, entrepreneurs, and round-the-clock workers. We are not exactly subjugated by neoliberalism, as one is subjugated by totalitarianism; instead, we are “subjectified” by it. Rather than its victims, we learn to become its willing participants; and architecture, argues Spencer, becomes one of our key instructors. What Exists is Good: On “The Architecture of Neoliberalism.”

Paul Ryan Failed Because His Bill Was a Dumpster Fire. Why Obamacare Defeated Trumpcare. GOP wonders: Can it get anything done? Trump the Destroyer. Sidelined Democrats let grass roots ‘resistance’ lead the way on health care fight.

Is a billionaire-funded coup to rewrite the Constitution on the verge of happening? Trump is president and the Senate still exists. I say take the deal and then fight for a real democracy at the convention. You’ll never get it this way.

* Tressie Mcmillan Cottom talks Lower Ed at Dissent‘s “Belabored” podcast.

On this episode of Left of Black, Professor André M. Carrington (@prof_carrington), author of Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction (University of Minnesota Press), joins host Mark Anthony Neal (@NewBlackMan) in the Left of Black studio.  Carrington was at Duke University to deliver a keynote address at the Black Is, Black Will Be: On Black Futures symposium.

Survey Finds Foreign Students Aren’t Applying to American Colleges. So that about wraps it up for American universities I suppose.

Civilization VI Is Already So Much Better.

* Unprison your think rhino.

* Improved.

* And the magic was inside you all along.

Tuesday Morning Links!

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* The course descriptions for Marquette’s Fall 2017 English classes are up at the department website. Check them out! I’m teaching Tolkien and a grad seminar on utopia. 

* Also in Marquette news! Marquette to host ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ conference in April.

Becoming a parent forces you to think about the nature of the problem — which is, in a lot of ways, the problem of nature […] the realities of aging and sickness and mortality become suddenly inescapable. […] [My wife] said something during that time I will never forget. “If I had known how much I was going to love him,” she said, “I’m not sure I would have had him.” Mark O’Connell on transhumanism and immortality.

* From the great Ali Sperling: Reading Lovecraft in the Anthropocene. And this review of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem from the great David Higgins!

* Adam Roberts reviews New York 2140. Another review, from a climate scientist. And an interview with Stan. My review comes out in LARB this weekend…

The Most Cringeworthy Monuments to Colleges’ Innovation Jargon.

Perverse outcomes: UC Berkeley deletes 20,000 audio and visual lectures in the name of compliance with the ADA.

Speculative Fiction and Survival in Iraq.

* Is it really so hard to understand that when your students go broke just trying to graduate they aren’t exactly moved to donate later?

harcourt_fenton_mudd_2267* The liberal arts at Harvey Mudd College, whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford.

* You-might-be-from-Wisconsin-if at Ask MetaFilter.

President Roosevelt signed the order on February 19, 1942, almost exactly 75 years ago. By spring, American citizens would be arriving at the Fresno and Pinedale camps: our neighbors.

* Wisconsin is apparently harassing trans state employees.

* Chaos, again. This is fine. Even James Comey. Twilight of Reince Preibus. Ten Questions for President Trump. Ten More Questions for President Trump. Remember when it was scandalous that Obama, years before he became a politician, once sold his house?

It is through the Justice Department that the administration is likely to advance its nationalist plans — to strengthen the grip of law enforcement, raise barriers to voting and significantly reduce all forms of immigration, promoting what seems to be a longstanding desire to reassert the country’s European and Christian heritage. It’s not an accident that Sessions, who presumably could have chosen from a number of plum assignments, opted for the role of attorney general. The Department of Justice is the most valuable perch from which to transform the country in the way he and Bannon have wanted. With an exaggerated threat of disorder looming, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency could become a machine for trying to fundamentally change who gets to be an American and what rights they can enjoy.

The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”

* “Forever war, but too much.”

An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the American government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed on Saturday. Profiles of immigrant arrested in Austin. Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws. (Note this lawsuit was filed in 2014.This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World. And if it were a book, it’d seem laughably contrived: A letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Resisting ICE. Here we go again.

* 4chan and the Great Meme War.

* Russia and the Cyber Cold War.

* And while we’re on the subject: The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation. I think this is a very good reminder of the need to stay calm and detached from the chaos of the news cycle.

Instead, a new model is proposed: the president keeps everyone in a constant state of excitement and alarm. He moves fast and breaks things. He leads by causing commotion. As energy in the political system rises he makes no effort to project calm or establish an orderly White House. And if he keeps us safe it’s not by being himself a safe, steady, self-controlled figure, but by threatening opponents and remaining brash and unpredictable— maybe a touch crazy. This too is psychological work, but of a different kind.

* Democrats keep trusting demographics to save them. It hasn’t worked yet — but maybe this time…

NASA unveils plan to give Mars an ‘Earth-like’ atmosphere.

House Republicans Unveil Bill To Repeal Obamacare. The GOP health bill doesn’t know what problem it’s trying to solve.

Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.

* No! It can’t be! Researchers have found strong evidence that racism helps the GOP win.

* Losing West Virginia.

Contrary to What You Learned in Sex Ed, You Can Get Pregnant While Pregnant.

* Mid-decade gerrymander in Georgia.

* Autism and Addiction.

* What We’ve Learned from Giving Dolphins LSD.

In a world first, a teenager with sickle cell disease achieved complete remission after an experimental gene therapy at Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris, researchers say.

* Possible lynching outside Seattle, in 2017.

* The end of suburbia.

* In the richest country in human history, children have “lunch debt.”

The only way in which a game is guaranteed to end is when the player abandons their device. Everything else is game design.

“These devices don’t have emotional intelligence,” said Allison Druin, a University of Maryland professor who studies how children use technology. “They have factual intelligence.” How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants.

* Finding a jury of your peers in a racially segregated society.

* A colony in a nation.

Divination hasn’t disappeared; it’s taken over the world.

But these second-order obstacles aren’t enough to explain the current collapse of poll-driven political certainty. They’re just excuses, even if they’re not untrue. Something about the whole general scheme of polling—the idea that you can predict what millions of undecided voters will do by selecting a small group and then just simply asking them—is out of whack. We need to think seriously about what the strange game of election-watching actually is, in terms of our relation to the future, our power to choose our own outcomes, the large-scale structure of the universe, and the mysteries of fate. And these questions are urgent. Because predictions of the future don’t simply exist in the future, but change the way we act in the present. Because in our future something monstrous is rampaging: it paces hungrily toward us, and we need to know if we’ll be able to spot it in time.

When I said that opinion polls are sibyls and soothsayers, it wasn’t just a figure of speech. Opinion polling has all the trappings of a science—it has its numbers and graphs, its computational models, its armies of pallid drones poring over the figures. It makes hypotheses and puts them to the test. But polls are not taken for what they are: a report on what a small number of people, fond of changing their minds, briefly pretended to think. Instead, we watch the tracking graphs as if the future were playing itself out live in front of us. The real structure of the electoral-wonk complex is more mystical than materialist: it’s augury and divination, a method handed down by Prometheus to a starving and shivering humanity at the faint dawn of time. Behind all the desktop screens and plate-glass of his office, the buzz of data and the hum of metrics, Nate Silver retreats to a quiet, dark, and holy room. He takes the knife and slits in one stroke the throat of a pure-white bull; its blood arcs and drizzles in all directions. He examines its patterns. And he knows.

There’s a never-ending fount of stories you can write about when someone is breaking away from canon or not, and create many controversies all the way through preproduction and production and even until a movie opens, about whether or not they’re breaking canon. Is it a blasphemous movie or not? At some point, you gotta stop and say, Is there this expectation that it’s like we’re doing Godfather Part I and II, only it’s going to nine movies? And we’re just gonna cut them into this kind of Berlin Alexanderplatz that never ends? We’re gonna suddenly take a moment to really savor the fact that these movies exist in an identical tone? The reality to me is that you can’t have interesting movies if you tell a filmmaker, “Get in this bed and dream, but don’t touch the pillows or move the blankets.” You will not get cinema. You will just get a platform for selling the next movie on that bed, unchanged and unmade. James Mangold on Logan.

* The making of The Silmarillion.

* And we have but one choice: the Ring must be destroyed.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 7, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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