Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Kim Stanley Robinson

Sunday Morning Links!

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* One might, it’s true, wonder how cultural capital has survived the last half century’s apotheosis of pop, the rollback of the old patrician-bourgeois culture of the West, postmodernism’s putative muddling of low and high. But the sociologists have gone and checked, and the answers are not hard to find: Fancy people are now more likely to consume culture indiscriminately, that is, to congratulate themselves on the expansiveness of their tastes; indistinction has become distinction. They are more likely to prefer foreign culture to their own, at least in some who-wants-takeout? kind of way. And they are more likely to enjoy culture analytically and ironically, belligerently positing a naïve consumer whose imagined immersion in the object will set off everything in their own approach that is suavely arms-length and slaunchwise. Such, point for point, is the ethos of the new-model English department: of cultural studies, new media, the expanded canon, of theory-courses-without-objects. To bring new types of artifacts into literature departments is not to destroy cultural capital. It is merely to allow new things to start functioning as wealth. Even here, the claim to novelty can be overstated, since it is enough to read Bourdieu to know that the claim to interpret and demystify has always been an especially heady form of symbolic power. The ingenious reading confers distinction, as do sundry bids to fix the meanings of the social. Critical theory is cultural capital. Citing Judith Butler is one of the ways in which professional people outside the academy understand and justify their own elevation. Bickering recreationally about the politics of zombie movies is just what lawyers and engineers now do.

* The Kindle edition of The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson is (still) on sale for $1.99. Here’s the LARoB review!

* Meanwhile, LARoB also reviews Paradoxa 26, which has my essay on Snowpiercer in it.

* Extrapolation 56.1 is now available.

Sherryl Vint, “Skin Deep: Alienation in Under the Skin
Isiah Lavender, “Reframing Heart of Darkness as Science Fiction”
Sharon DeGraw, “Tobias S. Buckell’s Galactic Caribbean Future”
Karen May and David Upton, “‘Ser Piggy': Identifying an Intertextual Relationship between William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones
Lee Braver, “Coin-Operated Doors and God: A Gnostic Reading of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik”

Nepal After the Earthquake.

* Baltimore after Freddie Gray.

* The good inequality. Policy debate in the age of neoliberalism.

* Gene Wolfe, sci-fi’s difficult genius.

* The slow apocalypse and fiction.

* Can you fix the NBA draft?

In the meantime, we will all have to cope with the fact that education technology has just become weaponized. Arizona State is now the first predator university. They are willing to re-define what education is so that they can get more students from anywhere. If they don’t kill other universities by taking all their students with a cheap freshmen year, they’ll just steal their fish food by underselling 25% of the education that those schools provide and leaving them a quarter malnourished. The result is that schools which stick to reasonable standards with respect to the frequency and possibility of teacher/student interaction now have to fear for their very existence.

Contingency and Gender.

The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education.’

The obvious corollary is that, in order to stem the tide of tuition increases, we should seek to stabilize or increase state funding and curb the power of administrators.

Why They Hate Cornel West.

* I’m seeing it mostly mocked and dismissed, but I think the Columbia case (K.C. Johnson summary at Minding the Campus) will be important flashpoint in Title IX law. My sense is that the wind on this is really changing strongly against the feminist left; we’re going to see many of the received truths of campus anti-rape policies coming under serious challenge. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to require some unpleasant reconsideration of the way we talk about this issue.

New Simulation Shows How The Pacific Islands May Have Been Colonized.

Incredibly, the percentage of parents throughout the state who engaged in the civil disobedience of refusing the test for their kids is higher than the 15 percent of eligible voters who cast a ballot for Andrew Cuomo in the low-turnout election last year.

* All of the juniors at Nathan Hale High School refused to show up for state testing this week.

* Against the creative economy.

* What if Man of Steel was in color?

* Gasp! The Apple Watch May Have a Human Rights Problem.

Microsoft Word Spells the Names of Game of Thrones Characters Better Than You Can.

Nine Months After He Filmed Eric Garner’s Killing, the Cops Are Trying to Put Ramsey Orta Behind Bars.

“We must disband the police: Body cameras aren’t enough — only radical change will stop cops who kill.”

* Meanwhile.

* Yes please: Telltale is making some kind of Marvel game.

The Feds Say One Schmuck Trading From His Parents’ House Caused a Market Crash. Here’s the Problem.

* See, Dad? I knew you could survive on girl scout cookies.

* There’s always money in the banana stand: The Fed’s Cold War Bunker Had $4 Billion Cash For After The Apocalypse.

* Won’t you give? What you can? Today? Poetry is going extinct, government data show.

* I believe any crazy story with China in the headline. That’s my policy.

* Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.

It’s Time To Stop Treating Childhood as a Disease.

* And you thought The Dark Knight Strikes Back was bad.

Spring Break Is Over and All Our Accomplishments Turn to Ash Links

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* The best news: Jaimee’s book has won the Anthony Hecht Prize at Waywiser Press.

* Median Salaries of Tenured and Tenure-Track Professors at 4-Year Colleges, 2014-15.

Russian Witch Baba Yaga’s Guide To Feminism.

* Get ready for Margaret Atwood’s next.

Kim Stanley Robinson Says Colonizing Mars Won’t Be As Easy As He Thought. But it’s not all bad news: Suddenly, It Seems, Water Is Everywhere in Solar System.

Time, Space, and Memory at Whitney Plantation.

* Twitter and tenure.

* They found Cervantes’s tomb.

* Black Mirror IRL.

2050_Map_Megaregions2008-thumb-474x316-3663* The megaregions of America.

The Concussion Crisis Reaches a New Level.

Choctaws helped starving Irish in 1847.

* Ian Bogost: Video Games Are Better Without Characters.

But in 2014, the financial year that appears to have been the final straw for Sweet Briar, total operating revenues were $34.8 million and total operating expenditures were $35.4 million, which means that the deficit the school is running is actually smaller than the cost of any of the bad deals it’s gotten itself into with banks.

The United Arab Emirates, where New York University opened a new campus last year, has barred an N.Y.U. professor from traveling to the monarchy after his criticism of the exploitation of migrant construction workers there.

* If one arbitrary, designed-by-committee college ranking system is good, two must be…

“Capitalism posits a future of endless innovation in products and production processes, but no possible change in the social relations that move them.”

What is Star Trek’s vision of politics?

The Uncensored, Epic, Never-Told Story Behind ‘Mad Men.’

* The Secret History of the Hardy Boys.

A household name to black audiences yet completely unknown to white audiences, Gary Owen, a blond, blue-eyed stand-up from Ohio, has a career wholly unlike that of any comedian before him.

Almost seven years ago, a troubled 11-year-old girl reported that she had been raped — twice — in her Northwest Washington neighborhood. Despite medical evidence of sexual assault, records show that no suspects were arrested and the cases were given only sporadic attention by the police . Instead, in the second case, the police had the girl, Danielle Hicks-Best, charged with filing a false report.

People who lose their jobs are less willing to trust others for up to a decade after being laid-off, according to new research from The University of Manchester.

 * Docs Perform First Successful Penis Transplant.

Bruce Springsteen’s Reading List: 28 Favorite Books That Shaped His Mind and Music.

The Disturbing Puzzle Game That Nobody Can Solve.

What would happen if an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated above midtown Manhattan?

The two Wisconsin tween girls accused of stabbing a friend 19 times and leaving her in a park—because they believed doing so would protect their families from the mythical internet horror known as Slender Man—will be tried as adults for first-degree attempted homicide, a judge ruled Friday. 

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been on a mission to weed out purported voter fraud in the state since he took office in 2011. After launching an investigation into what he called an “expanding loophole” allowing non-citizens to vote in Ohio and potentially decide elections, he announced Thursday that 145 non-citizens were registered to vote illegally in 2014, amounting to just .0002 percent of the 7.7 million registered voters in the state.

* Nihilism watch, Washington Post edition.

How to Build a $400 Billion F-35 that Doesn’t Fly.

* What happened to UNC?

This is the best version of Star Wars — and watching it is a crime.

Before Star Wars: Rogue One Takes Off, a History of the X-Wing Series.

* What could possibly go wrong? In South Africa, Ranchers Are Breeding Mutant Animals to Be Hunted. Have to say I’m really pulling for the mutant animals here.

And now comes another, increasingly prevalent way to show appreciation for those who’ve served in the military: exempting them from taxes. Would you like to know more?

Guess Who’s Editing the Wiki Pages of Police Brutality Victims.

California has about one year of water left.

* “Yahoo seems down for just about anything,” Harmon said. “I don’t know why they’d turn their nose up to a movie about a low-rated show. They seem to be very naive.” 

* That gum you like may actually not be coming back into style.

* How did they manage to screw up Powers?

Four years after Fukushima, just one man lives in the exclusion zone – to look after the animals.

* And in a time without heroes, there was Florida Man.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Spring! Break! Forever! Links!

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* The Department of Special Collections and University Archives will host an upcoming talk by Tolkien scholar Janet Brennan Croft March 26, at 4:30 p.m. in the Raynor Memorial Libraries Beaumier Suites. Croft is the author of “Barrel Rides and She-Elves: Audience and ‘Anticipation’ in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy,” and has written on film adaptions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. The talk will explore Tolkien’s “Hobbit Trilogy” in regards to audience expectations, the difficulties of filming a prequel after a sequel, and issues of anticipation in relation to character development.

The death of writing – if James Joyce were alive today he’d be working for Google.

In Amsterdam, a revolt against the neoliberal university.

* Make School a Democracy.

* The persistence of inequality.

How A Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless.

Working-Class Women at the MLA Interview.

* Checking flights now: Kim Stanley Robinson Week at Ralahine.

Using Science Fiction to Re-Envision Justice.

Arab Sci-Fi: The future is here.

‘House of Cards’ is the worst show about American politics. Ever. On the perfunctoriness of House of Cards.

* Unarmed teenager shot by police in Madison. Students march.

* Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s sheriff wants attention.

* The Unfortunate Fate of Sweet Briar’s Professors. This headline really buries the lede:

Of course, faculty members aren’t the only employees who are taking a hit. Rainville suggested that nearly a third of the college’s hourly workers are descendants of the Fletcher plantation’s original slave community. Some of the staff members have worked at Sweet Briar their entire adult lives.

* Detenuring and its discontents.

Marina Warner on the disfiguring of higher education.

What Obama’s ‘Student Aid Bill of Rights’ Will — and Won’t — Do. Student Loans Viewed Differently Than Other Debt, Study Finds.

* Fear of a Muslim Planet. From TNI #38: “Futures.”

* Did somebody say FUTURE!

Islamophobic Bus Ads In San Francisco Are Being Defaced With Kamala Khan.

* Finally, a technological solution to the problem of taking attendance!

LARPing Hamlet at Castle Elsinore.

* These Photos Beautifully Capture the Complex Relationship Between Mothers and Daughters. These are really amazing. Many more links after the photo.

Soraya and Tala, Yarze Lebanon 2014.

* The 1 percent’s white privilege con: Elites hold “conversations” about race, while resegregating our schools.

Austerity won’t collapse under its own contradictions. We’ll need a movement for that.

* Big Sugar vs. your teeth.

It’s a mistake to ask whether this is wealthy people defending their financial interests or wealthy people expressing their ideology, or which motivation is reallyin the driver’s seat. The triumph of modern conservatism is that it has collapsed the distinction. The interests of the wealthy are the ideology. Fossil fuels are the ideology. They’re bubbling in the same ethno-nationalist stew as anti-immigrant sentiment, hawkish foreign policy, hostility toward the social safety net, and fetishism of guns, suburbs, and small towns. It’s all one identity now. The Kochs (and their peers) are convinced that their unfettered freedom is in the best interests of the country. There’s no tension.

* What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies?

* Native language study at UWM.

Judge Says University Failed to Shield Professor From Colleagues’ Retaliation. Yeah, sure sounds like it.

* It is now twelve months to the day that I set myself the task of, for one full year, reading books only by straight, white, middle-class, Anglopone, cis male authors. During that time I read 144 books. The things I learned in my year of selective reading made me pretty glad to have persevered.

* NYU union does good work.

Ph.D. students will receive 4 percent more in total compensation for their work as teaching assistants, bringing the average annual compensation up to approximately $36,600. The agreement also guarantees yearly minimum wage increases of 2.25 to 2.50 percent through 2020. For graduate employees at NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, some of whom currently make only $10 an hour, hourly wages will increase to $15 next fall and reach $20 by 2020. Those employees will also receive a $1,500 bonus for work done over the past three semesters.

* Diving into the weeds: Is University of Oklahoma frat’s racist chant protected by 1st Amendment? 5 Ways Fraternities Are Wielding Major Influence Over University Administrations. A decade of bad press hasn’t hurt fraternity membership numbers. A Brief and Recent History of Bigotry at Fraternities.

Where has all the money gone? The decline in faculty salaries at American colleges and universities over the past 40 years.

* Flexible online education can never fail, it can only be failed.

* Small Private College Shuts Down, Donates Campus to the University of Iowa.

* Mass Firings in History at Boise State.

* The eco-optimists.

The U.S. is being overrun by a wave of anti-science, anti-intellectual thinking. Has the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind?

Florida Officials Ban The Term ‘Climate Change.’

Climate Change Is Altering Everything About The Way Water Is Provided In Salt Lake City.

* The Desertification of Mongolia. Still not done, more links below.

futuristic-archaeology-7

* Introducing the Gawker Media SecureDrop.

* Buffy is old enough to go through that weird test they make Slayers go through when they turn 18.

White candidates with degrees from less-selective universities can expect to get a response every 9 résumés, while equally qualified black candidates need to submit 15.

* Is Scott Walker the most dangerous man in America?

* The troubled history of the foreskin.

* I’m honestly amazed the insurers were letting Harrison Ford fly small planes to begin with.

* In the U.S., a notary public does unglamorous legal drudge work. But in many Latin American countries, a notario is an ill-defined but powerful figure with broad legal authority, often someone with the connections needed to navigate bureaucracies that, while arcane, are also flexible. Unscrupulous notarios in the U.S. exploit these facts to con immigrants into believing that all it takes to finally get legal is the right person to file the paperwork.

* Emily Yoffe has another piece at Slate arguing against the current approach to sexual assault at colleges, this time framed around The Hunting Ground.

* English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet.

* Dystopia in our time: “Why Buzzfeed Is The Most Important News Organization in the World.”

* The end of cable: HBO is coming to Apple TV.

* I have altered the Expanded Universe. Pray I do not alter it further. But at least progress marches on.

* Gasp! Airbnb Is Making Things Worse for LA Renters.

* Meritocracy watch: Chelsea Clinton Absolutely Open to Running for Office.

How Reddit Became a Worse Black Hole of Violent Racism than Stormfront.

* “A simple design fluke and marketing are afoot here. When Gard accidentally increased her breast size by 150 percent, the creative team insisted it was maintained. The parent company’s marketing team found this to be a boon to breaking through the noise that would buoy their success.”

Porntopia: A trip to the Adult Video News Awards.

* Interview with a Torturer.

In 1923, Daylight Saving Time Was Actually Illegal In Some States. It’s time to make daylight saving time year-round. PFT speaks.

The salary you need to buy a home in 27 U.S. cities.

These maps show where the world’s youngest and oldest people live.

Ottawa doctors behind breakthrough multiple sclerosis study. This sounds amazing. I hope it’s true.

* Coming this October: Back in Time: The Back to the Future documentary.

* You know, like Ghostbusters, but Ph-balanced for a man.

* Scenes from the class struggle at NBC News.

Day-in, day-out, Calvin keeps running into evidence that the world isn’t built to his (and our) specifications. All humor is, in one way or another, about our resistance to that evidence. The Moral Philosophy of Calvin and Hobbes.

Men make their own brackets, but they do not make them as they please. Marx Madness. Via MarxFi.

* And they say our culture is no longer capable of producing great things.

MM-Bracket

Written by gerrycanavan

March 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links!

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* Marquette English’s course offerings for summer and fall 2015, including my courses on Science Fiction as Genre, J.R.R. Tolkien, and American Literature after the American Century.

* Speaking of my courses, this is such an incredible answer to the last few weeks of my cultural preservation course I almost feel as though I somehow made it up.

* An amazing late comment on my Universities, Mismanagement, and Permanent Crisis post, including some great commentary on the Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

* My review isn’t coming for a few months, but I really loved Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora. I can’t wait to talk to people about it. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll keep my mouth shut for now.

* If you want a vision of the future: Sweet Briar College, Citing ‘Financial Challenges,’ Will Close Its Doors in August. (More, more.Clarkson U., Union Graduate College Explore Merger. It’s Final: UNC Board of Governors Votes To Close Academic Centers. Jindal cuts higher ed by 78%.

Where has all the money gone? The decline in faculty salaries at American colleges and universities over the past 40 years.

* It’s always “the end of college.”

* “De-tenure.” Don’t worry, it’s just another regrettable drafting error!

Why we occupy: Dutch universities at the crossroads.

The academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has focused largely on how fake undergraduate classes helped athletes maintain their eligibility to compete. In an article in The News & Observer over the weekend, a former UNC official says athletics officials also sometimes asked the university’s graduate school to bend the rules to admit athletes in order to extend their eligibility.

* This is the best Dean of Eureka Moments post yet. Maybe literally the best possible.

* College admissions and former inmates.

* Nine out of ten startups fail, which is why every institution in society should be converted to the startup model immediately.

The Search for a Useable Past: An Interview with Paul Buhle on Radical America.

* The politicization of even the idea of knowledge.

Michigan Frat’s 48-Hour Rager Wrecks Resort, Causes $430,000 in Damages.

* Le Guin vs. Ishiguo: “Are they going to say this is fantasy?”

* The United States of Megadrought: If you think that California is dry now, wait till the 2050s.

US sea level north of New York City ‘jumped by 128mm.’

A Major Surge in Atmospheric Warming Is Probably Coming in the Next Five Years.

* Vox considers the end of American democracy: 1, 2.

* Against the West Wing.

* Against “learning styles.”

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules. Hillary Clinton’s personal email account looks bad now. But it was even worse at the time.

* …whose frown / And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command / Tell that its sculptor well those passions read / Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things…

Why aren’t the seven witnesses to Dendinger’s nonexistent assault on Cassard already facing felony charges? Why are all but one of the cops who filed false reports still wearing badges and collecting paychecks? Why aren’t the attorneys who filed false reports facing disbarment? Dendinger’s prosecutors both filed false reports, then prosecuted Dendinger based on the reports they knew were false. They should be looking for new careers — after they get out of jail.

When A Newspaper Gave Blade Runner‘s Replicant Test To Mayor Candidates.

* “An ode to Juiceboxxx, a 27-year-old rapper from Milwaukee no one’s ever heard of.”

* “When Your Father Is the BTK Serial Killer, Forgiveness Is Not Tidy.”

Scott Walker Wants To Stop Funding Renewable Energy Research Center. Of course he does.

Defense Bill Passes, Giving Sacred Native American Sites To Mining Company.

The forgotten masterpieces of African modernism.

Man gets life in prison for selling $20 worth of weed to undercover cop.

* Justice department determines Ferguson is a terrible place.

* Wrong way Obama?

* The Americans and austerity.

* Two ways of looking at income inequality.

* How a French insurer wrote the worst contract in the world and sold it to thousands of clients.

* Teach students about consent in high school.

Vermont Town May Allow 16- And 17-Year-Olds To Vote In Local Elections.

* Crunching the numbers: How Long Can A Spinoff Like ‘Better Call Saul’ Last?

What Marvel Characters End Up Being Called In Other Languages.

Panpsychism’s Labyrinth.

* Careers of the future: professional dumpster diver.

* It’s where those parallel lives diverge, though, that might provide a lasting new insight. Beginning on the day in 1968 when Jack was drafted and Jeff was not, Jack suffered a series of shifts and setbacks that his brother managed to avoid: two years serving stateside in the military, an early marriage, two children in quick succession, a difficult divorce, and finally, in the biggest blow of all, the sudden death of his teenage son. After these key divergences in their lives, Jack went on to develop not only Parkinson’s but two other diseases that Jeff was spared, glaucoma and prostate cancer. The twins place great stock in these divergences, believing they might explain their medical trajectories ever since. Scientists are trying to figure out whether they could be right.

* The globalist sublime.

Mars One colonists better off eating frozen pizza than local veggies.

Local Lab In Berkeley Accidentally Discovers Solution To Fix Color Blindness.

Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.

How the MFA Glut Is a Disservice to Students, Teachers, and Writers.

But there’s another breed of MFA program out there, proliferating constantly. These programs have nearly 100% admittance rates, fund zero percent of their students, collect outrageously high tuition, and often pay their instructors very little. And because there are so many people (rightly or wrongly) clamoring for MFAs, they have no incentive for standards, either—no incentive to reject any person, no matter how badly they write. One person’s money is as green as the next, after all. If you’ve received an undergraduate degree and can type on a computer, you’re in.

10-Year-Old Math Genius Studying for University Degree.

* The Last Man on Earth really shouldn’t work. And yet…

Officials at Arizona State University probably weren’t expecting the full Stormfront treatment when its English department advertised a spring semester class exploring the “problem of whiteness.”

No shades of grey in teaching relationships.

* Pendulum keeps swinging: Now Americans Should Drink Much More Coffee.

* But not Keurig.

* It’s been so long so I posted one of these I haven’t even linked to anything about the dress yet.

In 1971, William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide to making bombs and drugs at home. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print.

* Why Americans Don’t Care About Prison Rape.

Robear: the bear-shaped nursing robot who’ll look after you when you get old. What could possibly go wrong?

* The invention of blue.

In the 1800s, Courts Tried to Enforce Partnerships With Dolphins.

* The 16 Strangest Dragons In Dungeons & Dragons.

* Mark your everythings: Community comes back March 17.

* First the gorilla who punched the photographer, now this.

* Wes Anderson’s X-Men.

* Abra kazam.

* LLAP.

* And the arc of history is long, but: North Carolina Legalizes Call Girls For Politicians.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 4, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Junior Associate Dean of Closing All My Tabs Links

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jpeg* The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction is “temporarily out of stock,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t place your order! Cyborg Lincoln commands it!

* #SnomgIcanteven2015. Good luck, East Coast!

The Day the Purpose of College Changed. Great piece. I’ve added it to Wednesday’s reading in the Cultural Preservation course, alongside readings from Bérubé and Bousquet that I added to the syllabus this year.

* The idea behind it is simple: Get donations, and give them to contingent faculty members in need.

Scott Walker can’t afford to let Bobby Jindal be the only candidate in the race who destroyed education in his state. And while we’re on the subject: Dropkick Murphys Order Scott Walker To Stop Using Their Music: ‘We Literally Hate You!’

I’m going to have to differ with former president Clinton and possible future president Bush. To me, Arizona State looks like a dystopia, rather than a model for the future. ASU is pretty clearly set up as a factory of credentialing, and any lip-service to educational excellence, particularly in the undergraduate sphere, is exactly that.

* What provosts think. The crucial takeaway: Say Nothing if you Want a Job. Elsewhere in academic freedom: Fox News Raises Alarm Over College Course About Race. Other universities could stand to learn something from ASU’s statement on the subject:

The university, however, issued a statement Friday after the segment, reading:

This course uses literature and rhetoric to look at how stories shape people’s understandings and experiences of race. It encourages students to examine how people talk about — or avoid talking about — race in the contemporary United States. This is an interdisciplinary course, so students will draw on history, literature, speeches and cultural changes — from scholarly texts to humor. The class is designed to empower students to confront the difficult and often thorny issues that surround us today and reach thoughtful conclusions rather than display gut reactions. A university is an academic environment where we discuss and debate a wide array of viewpoints.

* Of course, in addition to everything else ASU is also the school that’s trying to force its composition adjuncts into a 5/5 workload with minimal salary increase, so I’m not going to lose my mind defending it or anything.

Part everyman tale, as far as English departments go, and part lesson in unintended consequences, Maryland English’s story looks something like this. Between 1996 and 2011, the number of majors actually grew, from 641 to 850 students. Then the university rolled out a new, faculty-backed general education program. Unlike the old general education program, which centered on the liberal arts and required a literature course, the new one offers students much more flexibility in how to fulfill their various requirements. So students who aren’t interested in the liberal arts can much more easily avoid them. Part of the idea was to take some of the burden off departments, such as English, that fulfilled requirements for many students under the old system. Faculty members generally supported the idea.

But then the numbers got funny. In the spring of 2012, the English department lost 88 majors. The following year, it lost 79 – then 128 more majors 12 months later. Between spring and fall 2014, 66 more majors fell from the rolls. Over all, the department lost 363 majors — about 40 percent — and the numbers continue to fall. I basically get called out personally as the article goes on:

One of the more controversial departmental reform topics is how to change the English program itself, including by creating more recruitment-oriented, lower-level courses. Cartwright said there’s a demonstrated interest in updated versions of Great Books courses, but also in what he said some have called “zombie courses” – pejoratively, not descriptively. Those include courses on such popular genres as science fiction, fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkein, regional literature or children’s literature.

Cartwright said there’s some feeling among his colleagues that such offerings equate to “dumbing down” the curriculum. But he said others feel there’s value in meeting students “where they are.” And of course there are professors whose areas of expertise are in those fields and vouch for their importance.

* Rise of the medical humanities.

* Associate Dean of Eureka Moments. Now accepting applications.

The children of the rich and powerful are increasingly well suited to earning wealth and power themselves. That’s a problem. A Hereditary Meritocracy.

Greek Conservative Spokesman Concedes Defeat to Anti-Austerity Left. Greece: Phase One. I guess I’ll take the “Eeyore” side of the bet:

Audio edition of Pacific Edge, the most uplifting novel in my library. KSR!

* How Amazon series misreads The Man in the High Castle. I’m glad someone got to this thinkypiece before I did; I’m crossing it off my list.

* The State department wants Frozen PSAs to finally convince the powerful children’s voting bloc to support climate change legislation.

A new wave of videogames offers lessons in powerlessness, scarcity and inevitable failure. What makes them so compelling? And from the archives: Desert Bus: The Very Worst Video Game Ever Created.

Free speech, and other things that cost $91,000,000.00.

* Massive open online sexual harassment.

* Sex, anxiety, and Big Data.

Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.

The bacteria at USC depend on energy, too, but they obtain it in a fundamentally different fashion. They don’t breathe in the sense that you and I do. In the most extreme cases, they don’t consume any conventional food, either. Instead, they power themselves in the most elemental way: by eating and breathing electricity. You were supposed to find us bacteria that eat garbage and shit electricity. I swear to god, I don’t know what you scientists are even doing sometimes.

American Sniper is a racist, militaristic movie. But it has much to teach us if we want to build a successful antiwar movement. Learning from American Sniper.

* Why they throw subway cars away in the ocean.

They Are Not Ghosts: On the Representation of the Indigenous Peoples of North America in Science Fiction & Fantasy.

* Great video bringing a kid’s imagination to life.

Andrew Cuomo rips teacher unions as selfish ‘industry’ more interested in members’ rights than student needs. #ReadyforCuomo

When the Boss Says, ‘Don’t Tell Your Coworkers How Much You Get Paid.’

* Gasp: Rationale for anti-ACA case continues to unravel.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 15: Wellness.

* “No king, no king, lalalala” in three dozen languages. Apropos of nothing, of course.

* Ninth Circuit Panel Suggests Perjury Prosecution For Lying Prosecutors. You mean that’s not the rule already?

* The age of miracles: Near-Impossible Super Mario World Glitch Done For First Time on SNES.

The murderers of Charlie Hebdo prove that Puritan thugs (broadly defined) do in fact exist. However, this does not mean (contra McKinney and his supporters, educated and otherwise) that all those speaking out against Puritan thugs are beyond reproach. Nor does it place a seal forever upon the righteousness of comics creators or comics scholars. Is comics scholarship an academic field devoted to the understanding and discussion of comics, bringing a wide range of knowledge and approaches to a complicated, sometimes beautiful, sometimes flawed, sometimes undervalued, and perhaps sometimes overvalued medium? Or is comics scholarship to be devoted to boosterism, advocacy, and sacralization?If Charlie Hebdo’s accomplishment was to fight against all priesthoods, then surely it does them little honor to try to set up a priesthood in their name, handing down stern pronouncements about how their work must be read and understood.

Wikipedia Purged a Group of Feminist Editors Because of Gamergate.

* Great moments in he said/she said: Maybe Drunk, Sleeping Woman Wanted to Be Set on Fire.

Within two seconds of the car’s arrival, Officer Loehmann shot Tamir in the abdomen from point-blank range, raising doubts that he could have warned the boy three times to raise his hands, as the police later claimed.

* No touching.

Within two seconds of the car’s arrival, Officer Loehmann shot Tamir in the abdomen from point-blank range, raising doubts that he could have warned the boy three times to raise his hands, as the police later claimed.

* Deflategate by the numbers: Data Show The Patriots Have Fumbled The Ball Far Less Than Any Other NFL Team.

* How to write like J.K. Rowling.

* The headline reads, “Pope Uses Balloons As Peace Symbols After Dove Debacle.”

Pope Francis Wants To Cross The U.S.-Mexico Border As A ‘Beautiful Gesture Of Brotherhood.’

* The New Measles: One of the most infectious viruses on the planet is making a comeback in the United States, and many doctors have never even seen it. How Anti-Vaxxers Ruined Disneyland For Themselves (And Everyone Else.) Measles is horrible.

* The idea that a major problem with climate change is “sunburn” is just so incredibly, blisteringly stupid I doubt I’ll ever sleep again.

* More bad news: Negative tweets mean you’re probably going to die of a heart attack, study says.

* I’ve let so many tabs pile up since my last link post I have no choice but to do a “nightmare headlines” lightning round: Burglar gets 30 years in prison for raping 101-year-old woman in home. Father of ailing twins can only donate his liver to one of them. Vanderbilt Woman Didn’t Think She’d Been Raped Until She Saw Video Of It. Nearly two dozen cats seized from a Md. home, then euthanized touches off a furor. Prison Visitor Says Guards Made Her Prove She Was Menstruating By Letting Them Inspect Her Vagina. Ocean Warming Now Off The Charts. Here’s A Spider So Awful You’ll Wish It Would Only Bite You To Death.

* Mamas, don’t let your cities grow up to be gambling metropolises.

* Weird op-ed (linking to Serial) that seems to argue that extreme prosecutorial coercion through overcharging and oversentencing is a feature, rather than a bug. That said, I’d thought the podcast itself had explicitly explained why strangulation is associated with “premeditation,” though perhaps that’s only something I saw on Reddit.

* #serialseason2: Who killed Padmé Amidala? I actually like this theory fan rewrite a lot.

* George Lucas said Disney killed all his ideas for New Star Wars movies. Okay, so they did one thing right.

* The precession of simulacra: Car Manufacturers Have Been Faking Our Engine Noises.

* Peak Vox, but I actually found it interesting: Here are 9 surprising facts about feces you may not know.

Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet.

Median weekly earnings by educational attainment in 2014.

Federal Prison Sentence Begins for Anti-Drone Activist.

* You don’t really believe microeconomics of the American public sector has changed in the last twelve months, do you?

* The Princess Bride, the new film from Francois Truffaut.

* The Star Wars tipping point.

* How to tell if you are in a High Fantasy novel.

Would Crashing Through a Wall Actually Kill the Kool-Aid Man?

* My current favorite video: Marquette in the 1980s.

* And here they all are, together forever. All 1,547 Star Trek lens flares.

Thursday Links!

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* I’ll be speaking next Thursday at “Between Activism and Apocalypse: The Work of Margaret Atwood” at Indiana University. The schedule for the symposium is here.

* CFP: Stage The Future 2: The Second International Conference on Science Fiction Theatre.

* SF short-short of the day: Isaac Asimov’s “Silly Asses.”

* Here’s the calendar of events for C21 this semester.

* Cheryl Abbate has a blog post on the vicious hate mail she’s received after being thrust into the media spotlight.

* “Things like computer vision are starting to work; speech recognition is starting to work There’s quite a bit of acceleration in the development of AI systems,” says Bart Selman, a Cornell professor and AI ethicist who was at the event with Musk. “And that’s making it more urgent to look at this issue.” AI Has Arrived, and That Really Worries the World’s Brightest Minds.

* Of course it’s already worse than you think.

* Elsewhere in mad billionaire news: Internet! in! Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

* Gender Differences in the Road to the Doctoral Degree. Less support, more debt, more time to degree.

* Forbidden Planet reviews Richard McGuire’s incredible graphic novel Here.

* Hours After State Of The Union, Senate Targets National Parks. Once again, it’s always worse than you think.

* Saul Goodman, the last difficult man.

* A smart observation from Peter Paik: “Common Core teaches students that there is only one way to read a text (to glean information) but there are many ways to solve a math problem (the target of much outrage on social media).”

* Some Colleges Are Moving Past Eve Ensler’s “Cisnormative” ‘Vagina Monologues’ — And That’s OK.

* Occupy the Syllabus.

* Milestone Media rides again.

* How ‘Harry Potter’ fans won a four-year fight against child slavery.

* English professors combine areas of study for new specialization.

The department, known for its expertise in disability and LGBT studies, is looking to newer faculty to blend the two topics into a common subject area.Robert McRuer, who chairs the English department, said he was the first scholar to combine LGBT studies with disability studies and call it “crip theory.” The theory looks at the histories of and issues within the LGBT and disabled communities, which have both faced marginalization. “Crip” is a term that people with disabilities have “reclaimed,” he said.

Personally I’d send that name back for another round of workshopping, but what do I know.

* Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia.

* I actually always thought Joss should have had a David Boreanaz cameo in the background of the Firefly pilot and then never mention it again.

* Marvel is teasing a big Crisis-on-Infinite-Earths-style reboot, for the first time in its history.

* Simon Pegg is co-writing Star Trek 3. [raises one eyebrow]

* And great news for KSR fans: J. Michael Straczynski To Write Spike TV’s ‘Red Mars’ Drama Series Project.

This is a supercut of all the moments in A New Hope where characters interacted with machines, doors, screens, levers, knobs and buttons.

* Violent crime on college campuses is decreasing, but the number of sworn and armed police officers on campuses continues to rise, according to a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics… Nearly 70 percent of colleges and universities operated full law-enforcement agencies in 2012, and 94 percent of those officers are authorized to use a firearm.

* Meanwhile, on the town and gown beat: NYU decided not to report an attempted murder to the police.

* Abolish college sports watch: Before Gary Andersen goes on, he wants to make one thing clear. A part of his surprising departure from Wisconsin had to do with admission standards.

* When choosing between doing good and doing evil, don’t forget there’s always a third option.

* Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

* And a reminder that SFFTV is looking for your submission for its Star Trek at 50″ special issue.

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All the Weekend Links You’ll Ever Need

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Key Findings in Chapel Hill’s Academic-Fraud Investigation. I find the scale of this thing totally amazing; that the NCAA is still claiming it has no jurisdiction here is also amazing. It’ll be interesting to see UNC’s next accreditation report.

* Another sportsball-related disaster that the NCAA, alas, just can’t do anything about: Many Athletes Receive Little Education on Concussion.

Lawsuit Alleges College Athletes Should Be Paid at Least Minimum Wage. The NCAA wishes it could act.

S’More Inequality: The Neoliberal Marshmallow and the Corporate Reform of Education.

* Miami University gave George Will four adjuncts’ yearly salary for this nonsense. But presidents of higher ed nonprofits say that’s chump change.

* Study: we should probably just abolish men.

* Law Will Allow Employers to Fire Women for Using Birth Control. So old I can remember when giving employers direct veto power over health care was the reductio ad absurdum of the Hobby Lobby case.

* Surfers of the nightmare Internet: The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed.

The Anti-Socialist Origins of Big Data.

* African Writers in a New World. The interviews in this series will lead up to the Symposium of African Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. The event, which will take place December 2-3, 2014, will feature conversations with Laila Lalami, Maaza Mengiste, Nnedi Okorafor, Sofia Samatar, and Taiye Selasi. “African Writers in a New World” will conclude with a conference report from the Symposium. 

* It became necessary to destroy Detroit in order to save it. And Chicago. And pretty much everywhere.

* Rio has used mega-events like the World Cup and the Olympics as a “state of exception” to push through private development projects and neoliberal reforms. The Jock Doctrine.

* America’s perpetual state of emergency.

* I said on Twitter that this “13th grade” pilot program in Oregon seems like an example of Goodhart’s Law, though I think I could probably be convinced otherwise.

* Republicans increasingly saying the quiet part loud.

* And that’s not even a link to this utterly bizarre video from AEI about roofies.

* Infidels defile the sacrament: I suspect some of the irrationality around voter ID laws might be linked to Stephen Keating’s notion of voting as religious ritual.

* Speaking of saying the quiet part loud: Seattle Cops Bring Lawsuit Claiming They Have A Constitutional Right To Use Excessive Force.

* At about 4 a.m., officers were dispatched to 3779 W. 5300 South to check on a man who had called a suicide hotline, according to Detective Matt Gwynn, the public information officer for Roy Police Department. A negotiator from the SWAT team was then brought in, and Gwynn says a 6- to 6 ½-hour standoff ensued. “At some point those negotiations failed and unfortunately the SWAT team was involved in a shooting, and the subject is now deceased,” Gwynn said.

Cops Use Action-Movie Arsenal to Catch Teen Who Stole Cigarettes. I just thank god they caught the guy.

* CHP officer says stealing nude photos from female arrestees ‘game’ for cops.

* Cash damages for woman duped into having undercover spy’s child.

Climate Change Is Causing Mountain Goats To Shrink. Will you act now, America?

Methane Leaks Wipe Out Any Climate Benefit Of Fracking, Satellite Observations Confirm.

* By pretending climate change isn’t real we develop the tax base to deal with climate change. With a plan this solid, what could go wrong?

* I’m sure Miami seceding from the rest of Florida would solve it. Of course Republicans have a better idea.

* No one trusts Buzzfeed.

* The United States of Reddit.

* It’s nearly impossible to fire a tech millionaire.

* I mean really, we need to figure out how to fire some of these guys.

* On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed. Cassandra among the creeps.

Matt Yglesias Entirely Misunderstands Why [Anything] Exists.

* Your daily running total.

* Peter Jackson vows Battle of the Fire Armies will be literally unwatchable.

* J.K. Rowling releasing new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge.

* If you call slipstream “transrealism” it sounds like a new thing.

* You’re finally getting (another) dark, gritty Archie reboot.

* What’s my risk of catching Ebola? But that’s no reason not to panic.

* Kim Stanley Robinson on “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

* Science proves I listen to Counting Crows because I’m just that smart. So it’s not my fault and no one can blame me. I’m as much a victim as anyone.

* And io9 has your Top 100 Science Fiction-Themed Songs Of All Time. That they left off “Nothing But Flowers” is a crime against all time and space.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 25, 2014 at 8:21 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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