Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘James Comey

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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Christmas and/or Fascism Megapost Forever and Ever Links – Part Two!

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(here’s part one)

* The story behind the Christmas Truce of 1914, simultaneously the most and least utopian thing that’s ever happened.

* Now that’s running it like a sandwich: College Can’t Prove It Taught 16,000 Online Students.

* Shockwave: A Syllabus for the End Times.

* Addressing the myths of academic job market.

* Arrival and the end of the academy.

* This was not called execution. It was called retirement.

* Colleges should invest in career services.

The Oakland Fire Tragedy and Higher Education.

* Inside the Bob Dylan Archive.

* Afrofuturism: The Next Generation.

* Rewriting Rogue One. And more.

* Rogue One: An Engineering Ethics Story. The Death Star and poor design.

* Rogue One: The Jacobin seal of approval.

* High praise: The Man in the High Castle season 2 is the worst TV show of the year.

* Buck Up, Democrats, and Fight Like Republicans. Team Bernie: Hillary ‘F*cking Ignored’ Us in Swing States. Building a Mass Socialist Party.

* Cabinet of Deplorables: Rex Tillerson. Rick Perry. An Intellectual History. Trump and the Late Deciders. Yes, Pence is preferable to Trump. The supermanagerial reich. The Age of Anger. Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it. What do you do when your reporter is personally attacked by the President of the United States? Twitter, Trump’s Ring of Power. This is fine.

* tfw your research collapses and it’s too late to rewrite the book

Politics got weird because neoliberalism failed to deliver.

* Their fake news, and ours.

The trail of painkillers leads to West Virginia’s southern coalfields, to places like Kermit, population 392. There, out-of-state drug companies shipped nearly 9 million highly addictive — and potentially lethal — hydrocodone pills over two years to a single pharmacy in the Mingo County town.

* Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump.

A sense of ennui and overdetermination binds the audience of NPR podcasts together in a bloc of obnoxious explainerism.

* The End Is Always Near: The New Inquiry reviews Peter Frase’s Four Futures.

* The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

What Was James Comey Thinking? James Comey never should have been FBI director in the first place.

* Horrors in Aleppo. What Is Aleppo?

* The Business of Institutionalization.

* Michigan search for welfare fraud has a mere 93% failure rate.

* Cover Letter to the Search Committee from My Shadow Self. Eight Excuses I Have Told My Son to Use for His Failure to Hand in English Homework, Excuses I Have Learned Are Acceptable During a Thirty-Year Career in Journalism, Books, and Film.

* Climate change, meet your apocalyptic twin: oceans poisoned by plastic. Real-time interactive map shows the pollution engulfing Earth. The Greater New York City Region Must Plan for “Permanent Flooding.”

* Google and the death of knowledge.

* There’s no safe space for kids anywhere: 368 gymnasts allege sexual exploitation.

* Hey, let’s all fight about Shakespeare again.

Living with Exploding Head Syndrome: This is what it feels like to hear gunshots in your mind.

* United Nations to Wonder Woman: Drop Dead.

We Want To See All the Scifi Movies on the 2016 Black List.

* Sold in the room: New Star Trek Comic Imagines a World Where the Romulans Made First Contact With Earth.

* Norm Macdonald: A Raw and Uncensored Interview.

* Anne Frank may not have been betrayed to Nazis, study finds: Raid that led to her arrest could have been part of investigation into illegal labor or falsified ration coupons.

* Talk to your kids about quantum mechanics — before someone else does.

* By the numbers: the technosphere now weights 30 trillion tons.

The CIA Is Celebrating Its Cartography Division’s 75th Anniversary by Sharing Declassified Maps.

Mr. Thompson confronted the officer in command of the rampaging platoon, Lt. William L. Calley, but was rebuffed. He then positioned the helicopter between the troops and the surviving villagers and faced off against another lieutenant. Mr. Thompson ordered Mr. Colburn to fire his M-60 machine gun at any soldiers who tried to inflict further harm. RIP.

My Life With the Thrill-Clit Cult.

* Billy Joel is really leaving money on the table.

* And dystopian film is never going to be able to keep up with the present.


Written by gerrycanavan

December 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Rage, Rage against the Dying of the Links

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* Some of my own stuff from the weekend: Making America Great Again with Octavia Butler and the formal, official, can’t-take-it-back-now release of Octavia E. Butler in Kindle, hardback, and paperback. CFP: Buffy at 20. Jaimee’s election poem at the New Verse News: “Donald Trump, Kate McKinnon, Leonard Cohen.”

* CFP: Capital at 150. CFP: Marxist Reading Group: Genre and the Crisis of Narrative.

* Jerome Winter on the new space opera.

* Other books I’d rather be reading: In a Galaxy 90 Miles Away: The View from Cuban Science Fiction. No Mind To Lose: On Brainwashing.

How I Wrote Arrival (and What I Learned Doing It). A Ted Chiang profile in The Guardian.

* A history of Chinese science fiction. An Islam and Sci-Fi Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson.

* The Two Americas.

clinton_v2-artboard_6 trump-artboard_8


* Shirtless Trump Saves Drowning Kitten. The Trump Meltdown Begins. There is no way to predict where this is heading. (Okay, maybe we can predict a little bit.) How Trump Won. The counties that flipped parties to swing the 2016 election. It probably wasn’t voter suppression (except maybe in Wisconsin). We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions. Yeah, good luck. It Can’t Happen Here in 2016. The Plot Against America in 2016. Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America. Preparing for the Worst: How Conservatives Will Govern in 2017. Trump takes to Twitter to blast ‘hater, loser’ children; vows retribution. Where the Democrats Go From Here. How to Build an Exit Ramp for Trump Supporters. Amazing what a week can do. Blue Feed, Red Feed. Abolish the Electoral College. Post-Election College Grading Rubric. Google Emoluments Truth. The nine liberals you meet in hell.

* He might as well try: Obama Can and Should Put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court.

Hillary Clinton’s Vaunted GOTV Operation May Have Turned Out Trump Voters. The Democrats’ Real Turnout Problem. Clinton Aides Blame Loss on Everything but Themselves. Comey! The Clinton Campaign Was Undone By Its Own Neglect And A Touch Of Arrogance, Staffers Say. Epic. This didn’t have to happen. They Always Wanted Trump: Inside Team Clinton’s year-long struggle to find a strategy against the opponent they were most eager to face. Twilight of the Messageless Candidate. Blame the Clintons. Obama after Obama. Whatever happened: The whole Democratic Party is now a smoking pile of rubble. 2009: The Year the Democratic Party Died. The decimation of the Democratic Party, visualized. Does the Democratic Party Have a Future? Well, have you met the Democrats? The Worst Possible Leader at the Worst Possible Time. These are the key governors’ races the Democrats will blow in 2018. Blueprint for a New Party.

* DNC Aiming To Reconnect With Working-Class Americans With New ‘Hamilton’-Inspired Lena Dunham Web Series.

* From the archives: Umberto Eco on Ur-Fascism.

* Historians under Hitler. When Hitler Pivoted. Autocracy: Rules for Survival. What Is The “Alt-Right”? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media. Prepare For Regime Change, Not Policy Change.

Why FiveThirtyEight Gave Trump A Better Chance Than Almost Anyone Else. More from Nate’s Twitter. And from another angle entirely: Things look an awful lot like they would if we decided elections by coin flip.

So many more examples could be given, but it’s getting late, and one general takeaway from the 2016 Election seems clear: our popular media, from those producing it to those sorting it with editors and algorithms, are not up to the task of informing us and describing reality. This won’t happen, but those people who got Trump sooo consistently wrong from the primaries to Election Day should not have the job of informing us anymore. And if you were surprised last night, you might want to reconsider how you get information.

* The New Inquiry has been all over the Trump Resistance. Waking up in Trump’s America. Lose Your Kin. Against Extinction. Fuck. The Gamble. And the struggle goes on: “Thanksgiving is the festival of white reconciliation.”

* No President. What a proper response to Trump’s fascism demands: a true ideological left.

* Richard Rorty, 1998.


* Do any laws bind electors to vote along with their state? Not really. But this cuts both ways, and basically ruins any sort of “hack the Electoral College scheme” from the jump too. Meanwhile, let’s hack the Electoral College, because what could possibly go wrong.

* Truly, only the superrich can save us now.

* Beginning to look a lot like Christmasttime: UPS strike. O’Hare strike.

* Rise of the Sanctuary Campus.

And yet, to my knowledge, no one has explained clearly enough that globalization is over, and that we urgently need to reestablish ourselves on an Earth that has nothing to do with the protective borders of nation-states any more than the infinite horizon of globalization.

* Being Productive in Scholarly Publishing: Advice from Jason Brennan. No one said you’d like it.

* A GoFundMe for SEK’s medical bills. I only wish the prognosis were better.

The New Intellectuals: Is the academic jobs crisis a boon to public culture?

* Title IX is effectively finished, at least in its current form. More here. “College” as a concept may not be all that far behind.

* On toxifying, rather than repealing, the ACA.

Trump Will Have Access To Personal Info Of “Dreamers” For Deportation Efforts. This precise possibility, of course, was raised as an objection to Obama’s action at the time.

* Democrats, 2016, preserving the state, and the man of lawlessness.

* After a tweet blaming this all on Bill Clinton, Steve Shaviro provided a time-travel novel to soothe my pain: The X-President.

* The coming Democratic defeat on infrastructure.

What Women Used Before They Could Use the Law.

* Trans in Trump’s America.

* Passing the baton.

* I want things to be different.


* This world is so messed up. Let’s go do something good.

* How to Reverse Engineer Smells.

november_2016* The Official November 2016 Guide for Making People Feel Old.

* The 100-Year-Old Man Who Lives in the Future.

* Why kids need recess.

Fact-checking doesn’t ‘backfire,’ new study suggests. Calling people racist might, though.

Harry Potter and the Conscience of a Liberal.

* What if X-Men were a Gothic novel?

* Calexit.

The economists are leveraging their academic prestige with secret reports justifying corporate concentration. Their predictions are often wrong and consumers pay the price.

* Next crash brewing.

* Huge, if true: Report finds many graduate students are stressed about finances.

* An Oral History of My So-Called Life.

* The Fate of Reading in a Multimedia Age.

* I think I did this one a few months ago, but at least somebody has a plan: Optimal search path for finding Waldo.

* We asked eighty-six burglars how they broke into homes.

* New research suggests the Earth’s climate could be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than thought, raising the spectre of an ‘apocalyptic side of bad’ temperature rise of more than 7C within a lifetime. With Trump’s election I think any hope of solving this without geoengineering is over, and perhaps all hope period.

The North Pole is a mere 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends. Give it a chance!

Stephen Hawking says we’ve got about 1,000 years to find a new place to live. So you’re saying we have 999 years before we even need to think about this.

* But it’s not all bad news! Blood from human teens rejuvenates body and brains of old mice.

* And the thrilling conclusion to the thisisfine.jpg trilogy, truly the epic of our times.


Written by gerrycanavan

November 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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