Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘J.G. Ballard

Christmas Eve Eve Links

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* I was on On Point on NPR last week to talk about Star Wars. How to tell if someone read the EU novels. What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars. Medieval Star Wars. Smash the Force. Humorless Marxist Reviews: The Force Awakens. Starkiller Base: The Contractor Memos. Star Wars as Pastiche. “We now have something like proof that life for the average citizen in the Star Wars universe would have been better off if the rebellion had failed.” The Force Awakens as Jedi rewrite. Star Wars and the monomyth of Silicon Valley. George Lucas’s Secret Weapon. The only element that actually got me excited about what another galaxy might look and feel like was Rey’s instant bread. We Need to Make Room For This Gingerbread Darth Vader in the Smithsonian. This Lifesize BB-8 Cake Is Almost Too Beautiful To Eat. ‘Star Wars,’ if it were directed by Ken Burns. #WheresRey. An inversion of stakes so monstrous that it makes the film actually despicable. Please Stop Spreading This Nonsense that Rey From Star Wars Is a “Mary Sue.” Anyway, it did okay. And from the archives: “Hobbits in Space,” 1977.

* Another classic 1980s property gets a dark, gritty reboot.

* MLA Watch: 10 Years Gone But Change Goes On: Octavia E. Butler’s Public Legacy.

* A nine-month, non-tenure position teaching “What Is The Good Life?” to up to six hundred students. I’m not sure I know what the good life is but I think I can rule out at least one thing.

Here’s Why the SpaceX Rocket Landing Is Such a Big Deal.

What It’s Like to Be Noam Chomsky’s Assistant.

The case for determinism has two basic parts, material affordances and ideological construction (also called social construction).

In short, Orcs aren’t monsters. We are.

Better Management Through Belles Lettres.

* Pete Seeger’s FBI File.

Simon Pegg ‘Didn’t Love’ the ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Trailer, Asks Fans to ‘Hang in There.’

The Environmental Toll of a Netflix Binge: The data centers that support the Internet use a huge amount of energy.

* “yes Virginia, there is a left-wing reform movement.”

* World’s largest Star Wars cosplay association says new Star Wars villains are not evil enough.

* Marquette falls behind its peer institutions.

As part of their early schooling, Indonesians in the Soeharto era were deliberately traumatized by the state.

That’s right. The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to—while at the same time obscuring—the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.

* Against The Hateful Eight.

Would you support or oppose bombing Agrabah?

* Racebending Hermione, now canon.

Historians often undermine the hopes that activists live on.

* SNL: Meet Your Second Wife.

The Star Wars Holiday Special Was The Worst Thing on Television Ever. Look for it on How Did This Get Made? this week.

* Immediately greenlit: Quentin Tarantino Almost Made A Luke Cage Movie And Wants To Create His Own Superhero.

* And I say teach the controversy: ‘Bleeding’ Communion Wafer Caused By Mold, Not A Miracle.

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Tuesday Links!

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* CFP: Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies in Science and Popular Culture.

* “If time is money, then sleep is theft.”

* Life in the 21st Century, Part One: Reporters From Nevada’s Largest Newspaper Demand To Know Who Owns Their Company.

* And Part Two: Threats Made To Spoil Star Wars: The Force Awakens Unless Demands Are Met. The Chrome Anti-Star-Wars-Spoiler Extension Will Be With You, Always. (It actually pings the first link, but I think it was just seeing the words “Star Wars” and “spoil” in close proximity.)

In Flint, Michigan, there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared.

Why today’s long STEM postdoc positions are effectively anti-mother.

While we all take courses “outside” our field at some point, we generally sort ourselves into two groups pretty early: people who study American literature and people who study British literature. And, by the end of graduate school, we have become people who teach Introduction to American Literature and people who teach Introduction to British Literature. Finally, we become people who apply for jobs in American literature and British literature.

Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image. We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment. Once Tracy realized we would not respond, he subjected us to ridicule and contempt on his blog, boasting to his readers that the “unfulfilled request” was “noteworthy” because we had used copyright claims to “thwart continued research of the Sandy Hook massacre event.” More here.

The sad economics of internet fame.

* The Chicago Teachers Union has authorized a strike.

Here’s What We Can Piece Together About the Plot of Star Trek Beyond From the Trailer.

* warof1996.com.

* More movie trailers! Synchronicity! High Rise!

* Emory Students Want Professors Evaluated on Number of Microaggressions They Commit.

* The end of Yahoo?

Josh and Jessica review “self defense” under Common Law and the Model Penal Code in analyzing whether Han Solo was legally justified in shooting Greedo first in the original Star Wars (Episode IV).

The Star Wars bit part actors who are now more popular than ever.

* “We must get to Mars before World War Three kicks off.” Well there’s a rallying cry!

* And enjoy it: it’s the last good day to be a Star Wars fan.

Monday Morning Links

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* Doomsday officially here.

In the seven years since the Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened, hundreds of thousands of seed samples have gone into its icy tombs. And not one has come out—until now.

* Huge, if true: High Rise director Ben Wheatley: societal collapse is imminent.

* Huge, if true: Bernie Sanders can’t save America.

Countless gynecologists failed to diagnose my rare condition – until Planned Parenthood rescued me.

Endometriosis: the hidden suffering of millions of women revealed.

* Comic Crit reads Aurora and Seveneves.

Last year, a group of researchers at West Virginia University uncovered one of the biggest frauds in automotive history while working under a small $50,000 grant.

* “Our society needs a massive reset in terms of its priorities [regarding autism],” Silberman said. “One of the main problems facing families now is their children aging out of services. Yet almost all of the funding into research goes into investigating causes.” […] “Many things are being ignored by going after the cause of the alleged epidemic that may not even be one,” said Silberman. “It is amazing to me, after all this arguing about whether or not vaccines cause autism that we still haven’t done a basic prevalence study of autism among adults.”

The problem is, you can tear down an institution in a year.  It takes 25 — if you’re the best — to build it back up again. But it’s too late now. By breaking the rules of the search, Harreld helped violate the trust of the community and the values of the university. Iowa’s tradition has been sullied. If Harreld remains and wants to be a serious university president, his job is not going to be “going from good to great,” but rather repairing the damage that the Board of Regents, the governor and he, himself have done.

Cities bear rising cost of keeping water safe to drink. It’s always worse than you think.

 

We Lost Our Daughter to a Mass Shooter and Now Owe $203,000 to His Ammo Dealer.

* What could possibly go wrong? You Can Now Rent H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Apartment.

Inside every dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine is a little valve that directs the flow of water. For decades, most of these valves have come from a factory in the northwestern corner of Illinois, but not after today.

* Somebody get me Samuel L. Jackson.

* n+1 against the Patriots.

* The nonprofit-Coca-Cola-industrial complex.

* Fun fact: There have been 4,286 Robins.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

* Andy Daly, prophet.

If They Build It, Will We Come? Meet The Tech Entrepreneurs Trying To Take Back The Porn Industry.

* Being Pippi Longstocking.

* Hot desking, the worst.

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Sunday Morning Links

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* Call for applications: The 2015-16 postdoc seminar at Rice, “After Biopolitics.”

In the absence of sparrows: the front page story says you’ve been missing since / November 22, 2012. Everything else it doesn’t say. / In the absence of sparrows: you simply wandered off, past the Sunoco, pockets stuffed. / The door to your apartment is open still—

Together, these forums, initiatives, and spy teams constitute a sustained effort to suppress meaningful resistance to the university’s privatization program by placing strict boundaries on dissent. Policing Civility.

* Elsewhere in campus civility: The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police.

Hence I propose that, roughly speaking, one’s privilege level correlates with the likelihood that expressing anger will make people take your concerns more seriously rather than less — or at the very least, that it will prompt a reaction to you as an individual rather than triggering an immediate generalization about your demographic profile. This is one of the most intimate and insidious things about privilege dynamics: even the right to express perfectly natural and justified human emotions can’t be taken for granted.

* The Paris Review interviews Ray Bradbury.

If I’d lived in the late eighteen hundreds I might have written a story predicting that strange vehicles would soon move across the landscape of the United States and would kill two million people in a period of seventy years. Science fiction is not just the art of the possible, but of the obvious. Once the automobile appeared you could have predicted that it would destroy as many people as it did.

* …and translates Umberto Eco.

They affect us because we realize that if they are monsters it is because we, the adults, have made them so. In them we find everything: Freud, mass culture, digest culture, frustrated struggle for success, craving for affection, loneliness, passive acquiescence, and neurotic protest. But all these elements do not blossom directly, as we know them, from the mouths of a group of children: they are conceived and spoken after passing through the filter of innocence. Schulz’s children are not a sly instrument to handle our adult problems: they experience these problems according to a childish psychology, and for this very reason they seem to us touching and hopeless, as if we were suddenly aware that our ills have polluted everything, at the root.

* God, I wish these J.G. Ballard books for children were real.

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* Previously unknown final chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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Detroit’s Under-Funded Fire Departments Use a Soda Can For a Fire Alarm.

* Gape in amazement as The New Yorker‘s famous fact-checkers seriously drop the ball.

* Vox gets nostalgic for the 1994 AT&T “You Will” ad campaign.

As fast-food workers demonstrate nationwide for a $15 hourly wage, and congressional Republicans fight off a $10 federal minimum, little SeaTac has something to offer the debate. Its neighbor, Seattle, was the first big city to approve a $15 wage, this spring, but that doesn’t start phasing in until next year. SeaTac did it all at once. And, though there’s nothing definitive, this much is clear: The sky did not fall.

i.chzbgr* The way we live now.

* Profiles in courage: Obama to delay his big move on immigration until after election.

* Saving some time before the next invasion.

* Not really how it’s supposed to work: An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment last month for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God,” the American Humanist Association said Thursday.

* Peace activism vs. environmental activism.

* Geographers prove no one likes the Jets.

* “I’ve decided to ignore economic data and assume the challenges facing your generation are the same as those mine faced.”

* A marathon for Milwaukee?

* The gig economy won.

Apple Wants You To Pay For Things With An iPhone — But There’s One Nagging Problem, It’s an Obviously Terrible Idea That No One Would Ever Want.

* Female privilege is real: Sharks nine times more likely to kill men than women, study says.

* The eight white identities. I’m not 100% clear on the daylight between White Traitor and White Abolitionist, but otherwise it seems to taxonomize approaches to white supremacy I see on the Internet all the time.

* Could it be possible that police departments are lying when they say suspects handcuffed behind their backs are shooting themselves in the chest with hidden weapons that were somehow not found when they were searched? Truly, a bold provocation. Perhaps it will always be a mystery.

* Exhausted Noam Chomsky Just Going To Try And Enjoy The Day For Once.

* And: you fools: every day is Bill Murray Day.

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Thursday Links

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* Research shows that if a child discloses sexual abuse, chances are very, very good that no matter how young he or she is, how angry his or her parent is at the accused, how numb or stiff he or she seems discussing it, how willing she or he is to back off from the claim at any one point, how little physical evidence there is, that child is probably telling the truth. Six Reasons Why Dylan Farrow Is Highly Credible.

* A Brief History of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee at NYU.

Wildly popular accounts like @HistoryInPics are bad for history, bad for Twitter, and bad for you.

* On Saying the Same Thing a Thousand Times.

* We have not in modern high-income, public-education, open-access societies actually managed to increase the rate of social mobility above what it was in preindustrial society.

Male, Mad and Muddleheaded: Academics in Children’s Picture Books.

* “Oppressed Majority”: Life as a Woman.

* Also at Buzzfeed (sorry): What Arbitrary Thing Are You?

* The latest in terrible education reform ideas: the “parent trigger.”

* The latest in weird weather: “frost quakes.”

* Train Spills 12,000 Gallons Of Oil In Minnesota, No Major Cleanup Effort Planned.

* Jerry Seinfeld, philosopher.

“You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that.”

* True facts that sound false.

* Stolen Stradivarius violin recovered, sources say.

* Marbles Anne Frank gave a playmate when her family went into hiding from World War II Nazis are on exhibit in the Netherlands after 70 years in a cupboard.

* Marriage equality in Scotland.

* The tactical brilliance of BDS becomes clearer with every passing month.

* Iran Is Apparently Adopting Universal Health Care.

* ‘Shy’ male sues Women’s Studies teacher for failing him after he refused to attend class.

* What happens when two chatbots try to seduce each other.

* Finally, a Bachelor Contestant Exposes the Show’s Weird Sex Issues.

At some point we jumped the tracks and wound up in a really polemic 1980s dystopia.

Latinos overwhelmingly want action on climate change.

* Bill Watterson wins the Nobel Prize of Comics.

* So much for my doomsday prepping: The Great Lakes May Be Drying Up.

Single Mother Fired For Staying Home With Her Son When Schools Closed For Subzero Weather.

XStat Rapid Hemostasis System for Gunshot Wounds Works in 15 Seconds.

Wisconsin’s law on police accountability in custody deaths goes unused.

“That is as bad as anything I’ve ever heard,” he said of the decision to let Weston work with cleaning products. “Not only did they know he was suicidal, they know how he did it, and they gave him the very agent that he’s used to try to commit suicide. That sounds criminal.”

Your iPhone Has a Secret Undo Button.

* There’s a new TNI out, on H8.

* They’re making a movie out of High Rise, which is great news.

* The first fear is always the fear of the doppelgänger.

* And LifeHack has some important Beard Facts.

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Wednesday Links

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original* Apocalypse now: Nearly One In 10 U.S. Watersheds Is ‘Stressed.’

* Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa explains why the show is just going to get worse and worse and worse.

The protest took the form of three words, or three letters, scribbled onto equipment tape or actual equipment last Saturday during college football games. All Players United, or A.P.U., it read.

* Sensationalized bullshit gets around the world before nuance even has the chance to get its shoes on: Are Tenured Professors Really Worse Teachers? A Lit Review.

In 2006, however, Eric Bettinger and Bridget Terry Long published a book chapter that did address the graduation rate question by looking at student data. Analyzing the records of 43,000 undergraduates at public, four-year colleges in Ohio, they reached the “straightforward and unambiguous” result that freshman taught by adjuncts were more likely to drop out….

Of note here: The big divide wasn’t between tenured and non-tenured professors, but part-time vs. full-time.

Four years later, Bettinger and Long published a second study that added some interesting nuances to their findings. Ohio freshmen, they found, were actually more likely to take additional classes in a career-oriented field (think business, journalism, or computer science) if their first course was taught by an adjunct. In more academic departments (think English or History) students taught by adjuncts were less likely to come back for more. Once they looked beyond freshmen year, the authors found that adjuncts had a positive effect on student interest in every field, though it was still strongest in pre-professional areas of study.

Digital Craft and Humanistic Perspectives Beyond Academia.

  • We need to avoid the mentality of academic self-propagation – graduate studies should not focus on producing more academics, we should assume the norm is to form students for non-academic jobs (much as we do at the undergraduate level).
  • We need to better valorize the masters as a terminal degree – these aren’t the academic dropouts, they are super-graduates who have chosen not to further specialize.
  • We should explore an enhanced masters (or other designation) that fills an enormous gap between the short masters and the long doctorate.
  • We should, through example, encourage students to think of the value of their humanities knowledge, to be able to express it to others, and in some cases to imagine entrepreneurial opportunities for their expertise (have students feel empowered to create a job rather than searching for one).
  • We need to set a higher standard of digital literacy for humanities programs in simple recognition that graduates will be searching for employment in an information age (and more generally participating in a digital society).
  • We need to provide far more opportunities for humanities graduate students to become creators of contentbeyond text-based academic scholarship – producing such tangible works (digital or otherwise) can be valuable in a portfolio and lead to the development of differentiating skillsets on the job market.
  • We need to disrupt the dominance of the classroom-centric, multi-course per term format which seems to persist far more out of bureaucratic habit and convenience than pedagogical soundness. An alternative model is the “block plan” at Quest University, where students take intensive three-week courses. Graduate students might be expected to spend several consecutive days absorbing the more relevant and thought-provoking materials available, from published articles and monographs to blog posts and online videos. There may even be room for a MOOC-like component to provide some core concepts in highly produced and polished form (yes, as heretical as it may sound, I do believe that some aspects of knowledge in the humanities can be fairly neatly packaged, especially in a hybrid model where there are also more intensive small-scale interactions).

* Doin’ it wrong: Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth. UPDATE: An apology (kind of). UPDATE UPDATE: Hazlit has now published the full interview.

* Reforming campus rape culture and sexual assault unreporting.

* Public service announcement: Harvard is ridiculously rich. Please do not donate money to Harvard.

* Ballard, Miéville, Seinfeld, and the pornography of infinity.

Real-world Civilization game shows impact of war.

* It’s the utterly pointless prequel you’ve been dying to see, almost the ultimate crystallization of what’s wrong with this trend: Commissioner Gordon.

* 18 Products You’ve Been Using Wrong. At least one or two of these is actually helpful!

* Gawker announces plan to solve the privilege hierarchy once and for all.

* And a diver has finally captured our first photographic evidence of the creature scientists call “the Cookie Monster of the Sea.”

Stove Pipe Sponge, Aplysina archeri

A Few More Morning Links

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* J.G. Ballard’s reading list, from age 6 to age 25.

* Germans are stealing our precious words; their current favorite is shitschturm.

We should be wary of declaring “the end of the English major” when what has really happened is that, in terms of humanities enrollments, schools like Yale have gone from exceptional to merely above average.

* Dystopia now: “Sky has developed technology to transfer adverts from train windows directly and silently into commuters’ heads.”

* And what could go wrong? Ginsberg says she won’t retire before 2016.

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