Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘just so stories

Commencement Weekend Links!

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* Commencement speech bingo. More links below!

ut_bingo_f* Pro-tip: apparently it only counts as free speech if you’re already powerful.

* ICYMI: My guest post at SF Signal on dystopia, anti-utopia, and the end of the world.

College is a promise the economy does not keep.

Of Course Women Are Getting Sexually Harassed by Drones.

* CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Rethinking Monopoly for neofeudal capitalism.

Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries. Well, yes, I’m definitely worried. That’s madness.

“Hood disease.” My God, don’t call it that.

* It places the United States in the top spot, ahead of Sweden and Canada, which come in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Yet when the scores are adjusted for national levels of income, the United States drops to 15th place, behind such developing countries as China and Serbia.

* If you want to help low-income students succeed, it’s not enough to deal with their academic and financial obstacles. You also need to address their doubts and misconceptions and fears.

* The proposed rule would cut off student aid to career-focused programs at for-profit and nonprofit colleges if the program’s student-loan default rate reached 30 percent or if half of its graduates failed two student-loan debt standards.

* Kansas and the death of academic freedom.

* The NCAA will allow Boise State to help its homeless player.

MRA city councilman files Title IX complaint on behalf of U Oregon players arbitrarily kicked off team after DA slow-walks the process to protect their eligibility for March Madness and then declines to bring charges, thereby completing the circle of shitshow.

According to faculty accounts, deans received an email from the administration on the evening of May 5, alerting them to a meeting the next day about staffing issues. At that meeting, deans in certain colleges were told they needed to cut a prescribed number of full-time faculty positions. Of 16 total cuts, 11 were to come from the College of Arts and Sciences, faculty members said. Deans were given two days – until Thursday – to consult with their department chairs about which faculty members to terminate. Affected instructors were notified that day.

* Kate Hayles and Mark Kruse have developed a model for humanities/STEM cooperative teaching.

* U.S. Cities Under 12 feet of Sea Level Rise.

* The Forever Drought.

* The best way to think of the dilemma is keeping in mind the three things Obama wants his regulations to accomplish: He wants them to effectively reduce carbon pollution, he wants them not to cost consumers too much, and he wants to be sure they can survive legal challenge. The trouble is that he can only pick two of these. And the primary question weighing on administration regulators as they make their decision will be how to read the mind of Anthony Kennedy.

* To turn the US-Mexico border into “The Border,” America had to erase its Caribbean history.

An article about secrecy and the death penalty in Missouri got the May edition of St. Louis Magazine banned from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

* Meanwhile the New York Times is a complete mess.

The Rise of the Voluntariat.

The voluntariat performs skilled work that might still command a wage without compensation, allegedly for the sake of the public good, regardless of the fact that it also contributes directly and unambiguously to the profitability of a corporation. Like the proletariat, then, the voluntariat permits the extraction of surplus value through its labor.

But unlike the proletariat’s labor, the voluntariat’s has become untethered from wages. The voluntariat’s labor is every bit as alienable as the proletariat’s — Coursera’s Translator Contract leaves no doubt about that — but it must be experienced by the voluntariat as a spontaneous, non-alienated gift.

* Will roads made out of solar panels save us?

Playing football is even worse for players’ brains than we thought.

* An Oral History of The West Wing.

* Medical nightmare of the week: Morgellons disease.

* Speculative genetic explanations for social phenomena have an old and undistinguished history, some of which Wade reviews superficially, presumably to demonstrate his skill at reviewing topics superficially. The common thread, though, is that such explanations have always been (1) put forward to establish a bio-political point, to draw imaginary limits around the social progress of certain human groups; (2) accompanied by the dissimulation that they are not political statements, but merely value-neutral science; and (3) false.

* The Bay Area author of an upcoming book shatters the image of California’s historic missions as idyllic sites where Franciscan friars and Indians lived in harmony. Speaking before about 100 people Saturday at the American Indian Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz, Elias Castillo, author of “A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions,” said in reality the missions were “death camps.”

* Save your research in the cloud, they said.

* Viggo vs. Lord of the Rings.

The New York Pizza Project, Documenting New York City’s Pizza Shops in Photos and Interviews.

He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun. What could possibly go wrong?

* So maybe it’s for the best that Russia’s just evicted us from space.

Exactly 100% of the Sunday Links

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Hundreds of children have been killed by American drones. These were some of their names, written down and erased.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike. Give Skynet a Chance. Forever War Turns Its Hungry Gaze to Africa.

The Counterreformation in Higher Education.

* Another review of Ebony & Ivy, on the connection between slavery and the university. Study faults UCLA’s handling of faculty’s racial bias complaints.

* Were Brutalist Buildings Really Designed to Thwart Student Riots? I’ve been to UWM; you’ll never convince me otherwise.

* The New York Times says it will slowly, laboriously, exhaustively roll out a simple and obvious change to dramatically improve their reporting.

* The story of Phone Story.

Apple’s email to Molleindustria apparently claimed that four such lines were crossed: two lines related to “charities and contributions,” and two further “crossed lines” that suggested the game had depicted “violence or abuse of children” and “excessively objectionable or crude content.” With a curious bit of irony, the letter from Apple focuses on the very trendy discourse of protecting children from the moral hazards of the Web — a trend also picked up by the current Tory government in the UK, which promotes various protective methods to ensure kids are safe from/in the online world. Indeed, one is tempted to connect such a moral panic discourse to a wider neglect of other types of surely more direct abuse of children, as well as other vulnerable groups of workers worldwide. Protect the kids, if they get online — but not if their labor helps you get online and support the digital economy slightly further away from the actual cognitive work.

* Scenes from the BART strike: two workers killed by management-driven train.

I think one of the most damaging effects America’s omnipresent racism has on a person’s psyche isn’t the brief pang of hurt that comes from being called a slur, or seeing a picture of Barack Obama portrayed by a chimpanzee. Those things are common and old-fashioned, and when they happen I tend to feel sadder than angry, because I’m seeing someone who engages with the world like a wall instead of a human being. Rather, I think what’s far more corrosive and insidious, the thing that lingers in the back of my mind the most, is the framework of plausible deniability built up around racism, and how insane that plausible deniability can make a person feel when wielded. How unsure of oneself. How worried that you might be overreacting, oversensitive, irrational.

The Insidious Power of Not-Quite-Harassment.

The Messy Link Between Slave Owners And Modern Management.

A Field Guide to the North American Responsibility Troll.

LSD is good for you, say Norway researchers.

* Breathing ruled more dangerous than passive smoking, with risk highest in places like China.

Cheney Had Heart Device Disabled To Prevent Terrorists From Sending Fatal Shock.

* A brief history of the Washington Racial Slurs.

* Masculinity, patriarchy, violence.

Woman’s Abortion Used As ‘Proof’ She’s Unfit To Raise Kids. Female DUI Suspects in Washington Were Made to Strip for Their Jailers.

* A Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic? That may be overstating it.

* Why Teachers Quit.

* In retrospect, even though I have no reason to doubt Yanomamo ferocity, at least under certain circumstances, I seriously question the penchant of observers (scientific and lay alike) to generalize from small samples of our unquestionably diverse species, especially about something as complex as war. On just-so stories and evolutionary explanations of history.

* The ne plus ultra of Americans’ irrational free speech absolutism: Revenge Porn Is Awful, But The Law Against It Is Worse.

At the rate things are going, tens of millions of us could end up as temps, contract employees, call-center operators, and the like: The Task Rabbit Economy.

* Moral panics we can believe in: Salsa Overtakes Ketchup as Most Popular Condiment. I don’t think this is even the first time this happened.

“The 1979 conclusion by the House Select Committee on Assassinations is wrong,” Sabato said.

* The perfect rationality of markets: why don’t restaurants have dynamic, constant readjusting pricing schemes? What could possibly explain it?

* Two Rich People Hate Health Care for the Normals, Won’t Ever Drop It.

* And a Rich Person Says You Should Major in the Liberal Arts. There you have it! Go!

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Evolutionary psychology as an academic movement is, what, a few decades old? At least. So how are they still getting away with just making stuff up?

For women throughout history (and prehistory), the odds of reproducing have been pretty good. Later in this talk we will ponder things like, why was it so rare for a hundred women to get together and build a ship and sail off to explore unknown regions, whereas men have fairly regularly done such things? But taking chances like that would be stupid, from the perspective of a biological organism seeking to reproduce. They might drown or be killed by savages or catch a disease. For women, the optimal thing to do is go along with the crowd, be nice, play it safe. The odds are good that men will come along and offer sex and you’ll be able to have babies. All that matters is choosing the best offer. We’re descended from women who played it safe.

For men, the outlook was radically different. If you go along with the crowd and play it safe, the odds are you won’t have children. Most men who ever lived did not have descendants who are alive today. Their lines were dead ends. Hence it was necessary to take chances, try new things, be creative, explore other possibilities.

Where is the evidence that “women play it safe” while “men take risks,” where is the evidence that this is genetically rather than culturally determined, and where is the evidence that this accounts for the supposed differences either in reproductive outcomes or general behavior? For that matter, how does he make the leap from “most men who ever lived do not have descendants who are alive today” to “the odds are you won’t have children”? These aren’t necessarily the same thing.

This is assuming that the DNA evidence even really says what he claims it says.

In short, surprise surprise, he’s just spitballin’ here.

Via MeFi (coded and run by a man! who reproduced!).

Written by gerrycanavan

August 22, 2007 at 3:48 pm