Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Kim Stanley Robinson

Fritrump Links!

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* Trump’s America Conference at University College Dublin.

* Midwest area research opportunity: Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture, Northern Illinois University.

* See Marquette University’s $600M plan to transform its Milwaukee campus.

Teens sue Wisconsin over nightmare conditions in juvenile jails.

Like everyone, I mocked the tweet. Deep down, I never thought it could happen to me. Now I wish I had stopped to think things through, because I didn’t know how to respond. A terrorist had actually kidnapped my baby. By all indications, he had rigged the poor little tyke with a bomb set to go off in one hour. Somehow, miraculously, I had wound up in the same room with him. And now I faced a terrible choice: do I torture the terrorist, or let my baby be blown up, by the bomb that he had rigged the baby with, and then left the baby at some remote location while winding up in a situation where he could be tortured by me?

Starvation in northern Nigeria’s Borno State is so bad that a whole slice of the population — children under 5 — appears to have died, aid agencies say.

* Amazing Twitter project: @Stl_Manifest.

It is for the rest of us to add justice and peace to that list and to end the forever war and all the death, torture, pain, and hatred it has caused.

* Behold, the Trump boom!

* Behold @realRealDukat.

* Astoundingly Complex Visualization Untangles Trump’s Business Ties. Trump: the lie list. Trump’s phone as security risk. Trump and the Republicans Are on a Suicide Mission Together. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era. You’re a little late. Is Trump Morally Unfit or Are We Facing a Constitution Crisis? Pretty dick move, Germany. This one’s unreal even by Trump standards. Sad! One week down.

* Not only is Obama, at only fifty-five, set to have one of the longest post-presidential careers of any president, but now freed from the shackles of the office — which often forced him to temper his true beliefs and triangulate — Obama can become the progressive hero his most fervent supporters always wanted him to be. Or so the theory goes.

* #TheResistance.

Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself: Psychometrics and the (counter)revolution in marketing that is helping bring fascism to power around the world.

* In a new book, The Blood of Emmett Till (Simon & Schuster), Timothy Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar, reveals that Carolyn—in 2007, at age 72—confessed that she had fabricated the most sensational part of her testimony. “That part’s not true,” she told Tyson, about her claim that Till had made verbal and physical advances on her.

ND House passes eliminating reporting of small oil spills.

* Creeping Trumpism.

* Trump Has Never Been Popular.

* Was it ever?

* Mark Weston at Time pitches a tax strike until the coasts get adequate representation in government.

* Diabetes and mortality.

* What the Hell Is the Opening Crawl for The Last Jedi Going to Be?

* Why don’t we drink pigs’ milk?

* Why don’t some people get brain freeze?

Ten Ways Reading The Silmarillion Makes The Lord of the Rings Better, Part 1.

* Metallic hydrogen.

* Frightening times.

“Go on, go back home,” shouted one person as the 22-year-old Gambian, named as Pateh Sabally, bobbed up and down in the icy waters of the city’s main waterway.

I write out of disarray, from a field of compatriots in disarray. We’re drifting like astronauts, distantly tethered by emails like the one I just got from a friend: ‘i feel like he is making everyone sick, and bipolar./i feel like I am so incredibly ill-equipped to deal with any of this./i’m taking blind advice from all comers without feeling like anything is remotely adequate./ i feel nostalgic for all of life before Nov 8, 2016.’ Music helps and hurts. In a college classroom I played Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘Winter in America’, stirring up my old Nixon-era sense of abjection, and cried in front of my students. Of course, such behaviour makes us eligible for the web-scorn of alt-right triumphalists (‘Anguished by Trump, Lena Dunham Flees to Posh Arizona Resort, Asks Rocks for “Guidance”’). At these moments we’re the special snowflakes we were wishing to see in the world, the canaries in our own dystopian coal mines. But we’ll brandish our sensitivities proudly (if not our safety pins, which may be too smug and lame a gesture), since they’re what we’ve got, and are anyway better than robotic numbness, better than ‘normalisation’.

* Paging Kim Stanley Robinson: Are scientists going to march on Washington?

The starships of the future won’t look anything like the Enterprise.

* First as tragedy, then as farce, as the feller said.

* Great moments in headlines: Georgia lawmaker shot behind adult entertainment store; was carrying thousands of dollars in storm relief money.

* If you want a vision of Thanksgiving.

* And two Northwestern University professors have demonstrated it’s possible to be good at neither research nor teaching. Of course this is no news to me.

Skilled researchers and effective teachers are neither substitutes nor complements for each other — in fact, they have no relationship at all, according to a study by two Northwestern University faculty published by the Brookings Institution Thursday.

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New Year’s Links!

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* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.

* Kindred: The Graphic Novel.

* Introducing the David Foster Wallace Society, including a CFP for the inaugural issue of The Journal of David Foster Wallace Studies.

Call for Papers: The Poverty of Academia.

* Oh, fuck this terrible year.

30 essential tips for succeeding in graduate school.

* The University in the Time of Trump.

Making the grade: a history of the A–F marking scheme.

* Who’s Afraid of the Student Debt Crisis?

Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.

* The age of humanism is ending.

The New Year and the Bend of the Arc.

* The Front of the Classroom.

Marina Abramović and Kim Stanley Robinson perform “The Hard Problem.”

Osvaldo Oyola reads Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther.

* Leia Organa Solo: A Critical Obituary.

* Trump’s Arrival.

* Let them drink blood.

* BREAKING: There Is No Such Thing as “White Genocide.” Academic Freedom, Again. Buffalo skulls.

* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.

From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.

Good News! Humans No Longer Caused Climate Change, According to the State of Wisconsin.

* How did A&E let this happen?

* On fighting like Republicans, or, the end of America.

* Scenes from the class struggle in Berkeley. And in Chillicothe, Ohio.

The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.

Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.

* Democrats: Time to Win! Why the Democrats’ 2017 comeback dream is like nothing we’ve seen before.

The Russia Conundrum: How Can Democrats Avoid Getting Entangled in a Losing Issue?

House Republicans will ring in the new year with a plan to permanently cripple government.

Characters Are Not A Coloring Book Or, Why the Black Hermione is a Poor Apology for the Ingrained Racism of Harry Potter.

The Great Harvard Pee-In of 1973.

* Against jobs.

* Against Batman.

The UBI already exists for the 1%.

* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.

* Same joke but about not being allowed to ban plastic bags in Michigan anymore.

The Champions of the 401(k) Lament the Revolution They Started.

* “It was a pleasure to cull.”

* Geoengineering could ruin astronomy.

* Haiti and the Age of Revolution.

* A Utopia for the Deaf in Martha’s Vineyard.

Why the ‘Ghost Ship’ Was Invisible in Oakland, Until 36 Died.

Nine charts that show how white women are drinking themselves to death.

* The American bison is the new U.S. national mammal, but its slaughter was once seen as a way to starve Native Americans into submission.

* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.

* How long can Twitter go on like this?

* The Porn Business Isn’t Anything Like You Think it Is. The Attorney Fighting Revenge Porn.

* Special ed and the war on education.

My Little Free Library war: How our suburban front-yard lending box made me hate books and fear my neighbors.

* Becoming Ugly.

* Happy Public Domain Day 2017.

Intricate Star Trek Klingon Warship Using 25,000 LEGO Bricks.

* And the scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Fall Break Links!

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* CFP: The Fourth Annual David Foster Wallace Conference, June 2017. CFP: The Marxist Reading Group 2017.

* Tolkien news! Beren and Lúthien coming in 2017. Elsewhere in things from my childhood that I’ll almost certainly repurchase: Inside the new D&D Monster Manual.

* “Whoa,” said the gangster/minotaur, awed at how close he’d just come to losing his forearm. He was beginning to understand that this wasn’t the relatively straightforward world of street-level dope dealing anymore; this was Dungeons and Dragons.

* I’m glad somebody finally paged KSR: “Why Elon Musk’s Mars Vision Needs ‘Some Real Imagination.'”

* Forget Mars. Here’s Where We Should Build Our First Off-World Colonies.

“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” This is how computer scientist Pedro Domingos sums up the issue in his 2015 book The Master Algorithm. Even the many researchers who reject the prospect of a ‘technological singularity’ — saying the field is too young — support the introduction of relatively untested AI systems into social institutions.

* TFW you cut down a 600-year-old tree.

* On translating Harry Potter. Harry Potter by the Numbers. And did you know Harry Potter was nearly a major cultural phenomenon?

* On The Strange Career of Steve Ditko.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* Mistake on a Lake: In Michigan, privatization and free-market governance has left 100,000 people without water.

* One teaching artist sees it differently. “There will always be bad artists with a lot of money who want to go to art school,” she said. On the Future of the MFA.

* The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job.

2016_1018b_2* The Secret History of Leftist Board Games.

* There’s More to Life Than Being Happy: On Viktor Frankl and Man’s Search for Meaning. Relatedly: The World’s Happiest Man Wishes You Wouldn’t Call Him That.

Degree programs in French, geology, German, philosophy and women’s studies are suspended, effectively immediately. Eight additional majors within existing departments, six teaching programs and four graduate programs have been shut down. The university is planning a teach-out program for currently enrolled students. Tenured faculty members in affected programs will be reassigned to different departments. The future of the campus’s nursing, dental education and medical imaging programs is still under discussion. Degree programs in environmental geology and environmental policy were cut previously, in July.

* Advice for how to use Twitter as an academic. Of course, as everyone knows, the only winning move is not to play.

* From David M. Perry: “My non-verbal son communicates through ‘Hamilton.'”

* From Adam Kotsko: From his rebellious debut to modern day, the devil has always been a political figure.

* Dylan, Christ, and Slow Train Coming. Teaching the controversy: Kurt Vonnegut in 1991: “Bob Dylan Is the Worst Poet Alive.” Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce. Local Boy Makes Good. But not too good: The Nobel Prize Committee Have Given Up on Trying to Get in Touch with Bob Dylan.

* Game of Thrones is even whiter than you think.

* The self-driving car, Baudrillard, and America.

* On the history of fantasy scholarship.

* Free speech and the kids.

* David Letterman and his beard.

* My friend Sam.

* The LSAT and class struggle.

* Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks. ‘What Kind of Mother Is 8 Months Pregnant and Wants an Abortion?’ No, There Are No Ninth Month Abortions.

The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of “imaginative power,” and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left.

* America dreams of rivers.

* Another gerrymandering primer. I’m inclined to make a joke about Obama’s proceduralism even ruining his post-presidency but this really is a major issue worth throwing his weight against.

* Texas?

In The Hollow: The changing face of Appalachia—and its role in the presidential race.

Derek Black, 27, was following in his father’s footsteps as a white nationalist leader until he began to question the movement’s ideology.

* The Anthropocene and Empire.

* How Trump’s Casino Bankruptcies Screwed His Workers out of Millions in Retirement Savings.

* Atlas Obscura: The Land of Make Believe.

* A People’s History of John Stewart, Green Lantern.

Fear of a Feminist Future.

* And then there’s this one: Earlier this October, at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice, London paid its rent to the Queen. The ceremony proceeded much as it had for the past eight centuries. The city handed over a knife, an axe, six oversized horseshoes, and 61 nails to Barbara Janet Fontaine, the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial position in England. The job was created in the 12th century to keep track of all that was owed to the crown.

* Breastfeeding as captivity narrative.

* The Fear of Having a Son.

* Joss supports Spuffy.

* I’ll allow it, but know that you’re all on very thin ice.

By 2050, it’s likely that plastic in the oceans will outweigh all the oceans’ fish. Some reports predict 850-950 million tons of plastic (the equivalent in weight of 4.5 million blue whales).

* Thank god the Mac version isn’t ready yet: Civ VI is out.

* A dark, grittier Captain Planet: Leonardo DiCaprio wants to make a Captain Planet movie.

* Hungerford makes Infinite Jest represent how commercial publishers and their enablers in the mainstream media engineer a novel into a canonizable success. The market is corrupt, she says. But is it any more corrupt or distasteful than the publication and marketing of her university press book? “Post 45” is a scholarly association; Hungerford is one of nine Board members. Two other Board members are the series editors for the “Post 45” imprint. The “Advance Praise” for Making Literature Now includes effusive comments by two people whom Hungerford praises in the book, a blurb by a former colleague at Yale, and other comments so hyperbolic that they appear to have been written under the influence of laughing gas. Hungerford put out a misleading trailer for the book in the Chronicle, excising the misogyny charge that’s essential in her closing chapter, perhaps because she feared anyone who had read Infinite Jest would see through that charge and not order Making Literature Now. Her title is grandiose because her data is extremely limited. Rather than the survey that the title implies, Making Literature Now is literary tourism combined with two takedowns.

* Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference.

* Student writing in the digital age.

* Live long and trick or treat.

* I’m telling you, the simulation is crashing.

* And ours is truly a fallen world.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Seven Pounds of Sunday Links in a Three-Pound Bag

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cr2zpcrw8aa7gey* If you missed it, my contribution to the thriving “Star Trek at 50″ thinkpiece industry: “We Have Never Been Star Trek.” And some followup commentary on First Contact and the Rebootverse from Adam Kotsko.

* Elsewhere: To Boldly Imagine: Star Trek‘s Half Century. 13 science fiction authors on how Star Trek influenced their lives. 50 Years of Trekkies. Women who love Star Trek are the reason that modern fandom exists. What If Star Trek Never Existed? In a World without Star Trek The Star Trek You Didn’t See. How Every Single Star Trek Novel Fits Together. What Deep Space Nine does that no other Star Trek series can. Fighter Planes vs. Navies. Fifty years of Star Trek – a socialist perspective. Star Trek in the Age of Trump. Star Trek Is Brilliantly Political. Well, It Used To Be. Sounds of Spock. A Counterpoint. Catching Up with Star Trek IV’s Real Hero. The Workday on the Edge of Forever. A few of the best images I gathered up this week: 1, 2. And of course they did: CBS and Paramount Royally Screwed Up Star Trek‘s 50th Anniversary.

* And some more Star Trek: Discovery teasing: Time to rewatch “Balance of Terror.” And Majel might even voice the computer.

Deadline Extended for the 2016 Tiptree Fellowship. The Foundation Essay Prize 2017.

* CFP: Speculative Finance/Speculative Fiction. Editors David M. Higgins and Hugh Charles O’Connell. Call for Chapters: Transmedia Star Wars. Editors Sean A. Guynes and Dan Hassler-Forest.

* Not a CFP, but I’m glad to see this is coming soon: None of This is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer.

* Polygraph #25, on sound and the modes of production, is now available.

* Tolkien once said that fantasy can’t work on stage. Katy Armstrong argues that The Cursed Child only works on stage. Harry Potter and the Conscience of a Liberal.

* On Utopia and Reaction.

* Poetry and Class Struggle.

* This LARB essay on scholars fighting about King Lear is as spellbinding as everyone said.

Here is a list of things that I am including in this book. Please send me my seven-figure advance. An Easy Guide to Writing the Great American Novel.

Concerns Over Future of UMass Labor Center.

Lockout at LIU. The Nuclear Option. Unprecedented. This is the first time that higher-ed faculty have ever been locked out. Lockout Lessons. Students Walkout. As Lockout Continues at Long Island U., Students Report Meager Classroom Instruction. This has been, to say the least, an amazing story.

Decline of Tenure for Higher Education Faculty: An Introduction.

Salaita’s Departure and the Gutting of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois.

Inmates Are Planning The Largest Prison Strike in US History. ‘Incarcerated Workers’ stage nationwide prison labor strike 45 years after 1971 Attica riot. Your Refresher on the 13th Amendment.

The long, steady decline of literary reading. History Enrollments Drop. Werner Herzog Narrates My Life as a Graduate Student. My dirty little secret: I’ve been writing erotic novels to fund my PhD.

Quebec’s massive student strikes emerged from an organizing model that constantly trains new generations of activists.

Retirement Plan Roulette.

* The First Trans*Studies Conference.

* Donna Haraway: “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene.”

The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up the trash of the Anthropocene, the exterminism of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding and layering like a mad gardener, make a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures.

A bit more here.

* Elsewhere in the Anthropocene: Montana declares state of emergency over pipeline spill, oily drinking water. The Gradual Atlantis (and see Dr. K.S. Robinson for more). Fast Fashion and Environmental Crisis. The Planet Is Going Through A ‘Catastrophic’ Wilderness Loss, Study Says. The Oceans Are Heating Up. A Monument to Outlast Humanity. New genus of bacteria found living inside hydraulic fracturing wells. And from the archives: Louisiana Doesn’t Exist.

The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. What Should a Four-Year-Old Know? How to Raise a Genius.

* Michael R. Page on the greatness of The Space Merchants. Bonus content from University of Illinois Press: Five Quotes from Frederik Pohl.

The problem with this reasoning, at least as it relates to graduate students, is that we have had fifty years to find out if unions destroy graduate education. They don’t.

How Unions Change Universities. Scabbing on Our Future Selves.

Of Moral Panics, Education, Culture Wars, and Unanswerable Holes.

The Death of ITT Tech, Part One: What Happened?

* Audrey Watters on the (credit) score.

* Clemson’s John C. Calhoun Problem. And Jack Daniels’s.

* Welcome to Our University! We’re Delighted to Have You, But If You Think We’re Going to Cancel the Ku Klux Klan Rally, You’ve Got Another Think Coming. Cashing in on the Culture Wars: U Chicago.

* The things English speakers know, but don’t know they know.

* Raymond Chandler and Totality.

* Writing Like a State.

Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde.

Capitalist Saboteurs.

Why ‘The Stranger’ Almost Didn’t Get Published.

It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Deny That Football Is Doomed.

After Richmond Student Writes Viral Essay About Her Rape Case, the University Calls Her a Liar.

* Milwaukee vs. Pikachu. The World’s Most Dangerous Game: Pokémon’s Strange History with Moral Panics.

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives.

British artist Rebecca Moss went aboard the Hanjin Geneva container ship for a “23 Days at Sea Residency.” But the company that owns the ship went bankrupt on August 31, and ports all over the world have barred Hanjin’s ships because the shipping line is unable to pay the port and service fees. Artist-in-residence stuck on bankrupt container ship that no port will accept.

* Christopher Newfield talks his new book on the collapse of the public university, The Great Mistake.

Bill de Blasio’s Pre-K Crusade.

* The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee.

* FiveThirtyEight: What Went Wrong?

The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Black Defendants Punished Harsher After A Judge’s Favorite Football Team Loses.

* Fred Moten on academic freedom, Palestine, BDS, and BLM.

* Being Nadja Spiegelman.

* The Night Of and the Problem of Chandra.

The Book of Springsteen. Relatedly: Bruce Springsteen’s Reading List.

* Defining Unarmed.

New research suggests that humans have a sixth basic taste in addition to sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. It’s starchiness.

* Against Theory.

Differently from philosophy, which functions under long, frustrating timings, and very rarely reaches any certainty, theory is quick, voracious, sharp, and superficial: its model is the “reader,” a book made to help people make quotations from books that are not read.

* The largest strike in world history?

* The Walrus has an absolutely wrenching piece on stillbirth.

How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead.

“Science thought there was one species and now genetics show there are four species,” Dr. Janke said. “All zoos across the world that have giraffes will have to change their labels.”

The Mysterious Ending of John Carpenter’s The Thing May Finally Have an Answer.

* Teach the controversy: No Forests on Flat Earth.

* The clash of eschatologies.

Wisconsin appeals Brendan Dassey’s overturned conviction.

* Abolish the iPhone. How Apple Killed the Cyberpunk Dream. It’s not much better over there.

* Atwood and comics.

The NEH’s chairman, Bro Adams, tries to make a case for the humanities. Is anyone listening?

* Britain isn’t doing a super great job with Brexit.

* No other image has better captured the struggle that is simply living every day: Drunk Soviet worker tries to ride on hippo (Novokuznetsk, in Kemerovo, 1982). Yes, there’s still more links below.

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* The DEA vs. Kratom. Why Banning the Controversial Painkiller Kratom Could Be Bad News for America’s Heroin Addicts.

*Never-Ending Election Watch: How Donald Trump Retooled His Charity to Spend Other People’s Money. Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general. A Tale of Two Scandals. That Clinton Foundation Scandal the Press Wants Exists, But they Won’t Report it Because it’s Actually About the Trump Foundation. Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘honorary chancellor’ of a for-profit college. No More Lesser-Evilism. And Vox, you know, explaining the news.

* Dominance politics, deplorables edition.

* And put this notion in your basket of deplorables: Darkwing Duck and DuckTales Are in Separate Universes and This Is Not Okay.

How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.

* Yes, Here Comes Trump TV.

* Corporal Punishment in American Schools.

* Black Teachers Matter.

* I say jail’s too good for ’em: US library to enforce jail sentences for overdue books.

Bugs Bunny, the Novel, and Transnationalism.

* Understanding Hellboy.

* The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad. The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes.

* What’s the Matter with Liberals?

* Alan Moore Confirms Retirement from Comic Books. An interview in the New York Times where, lucky for me, he talks a lot about David Foster Wallace.

The Need For Believable Non-White Characters — Sidekicks, Included.

What Your Literature Professor Knows That Your Doctor Might Not.

Geologic Evidence May Support Chinese Flood Legend.

Fully Autonomous Cars Are Unlikely, Says America’s Top Transportation Safety Official.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal roundup: The Clockmaker. Science Journalism. I Am No Longer a Child. Teach a Man to Fish. How Stress Works. On Parenting. You haven’t hit bottom yet. Keep scrolling!

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* Today in unnecessary sequels: Mel Gibson confirms Passion Of The Christ sequel. And elsewhere on the unnecessary sequel beat: We Finally Know What the Avatar Sequels Will Be About.

* At least they won’t let Zack Snyder ruin Booster Gold.

* Poe’s Law, but for the left? Inside the Misunderstood World of Adult Breastfeeding.

* The Revolution as America’s First Civil War.

* Mike Konczal on Eviction.

* What Happens When We Decide Everyone Else Is a Narcissist.

45,000 Pounds of Would-Be Pennies Coat Highway After Delaware Crash.

* ‘Illegal’ Immigration as Speech.

* Second Thoughts of an Animal Researcher.

* Conspiracy Corner: Obama and the Jesuits.

On Sept. 16 the opera “Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” based on Vonnegut’s play, will have its world premiere in Indianapolis. A dayslong celebration of, and reflection on, the best-selling author’s works called Vonnegut World will precede it.

* The Unseen Drawings of Kurt Vonnegut.

* The Science of Loneliness. Loneliness can be depressing, but it may have helped humans survive.

* Once more, with feeling: On the greatness of John Brunner.

* Let us now praise Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

* Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: Man Dies, Leaving Behind a Sea Of Big-Boobed Mannequins. Yes, it’s a Milwaukee story.

Play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Video Game Free Online, Designed by Douglas Adams in 1984.

* Taking a Stand at Standing Rock. Life in the Native American oil protest camps.

* Earth First: The Musical.

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile.

* Hitchens wept.

* Rebel propaganda. All the Ewoks are dead.

* Finally.

* Salvador Dali Illustrates Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

* Where the Monsters Are. The Wonderful World of Westeros.

* And I’ll be bookmarking this for later, just in case: A lively new book investigates the siren call—and annoying logistics—of death fraud.

salvadordali_alice5

Written by gerrycanavan

September 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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New Fall Syllabus #1: Alternate History!

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I’m teaching three classes this semester, ENGLISH 4615/5615 (“Infinite Jest”), ENGLISH 2010 (“Alternate History”), and HOPR 1953 (“Video Game Culture”) (one-credit, pass/fail, now with Pokémon Go!). I’m very excited about all three. The Infinite Jest course is one I’ve wanted to do for a very long time — I came up with the whole idea of adding the new 4615/5615 course number to the Marquette English just so I could do this course — and the alternate-history course has been puttering around in my brain as a pedagogical opportunity for just about as long.

I got a lot of help from folks on Twitter and Facebook with the alternate history novel course, both at the level of generating texts but also at the level of conceptualizing the course a little different so it could be more inclusive, and I’m really grateful for that. I was finally sold by Alexis Lothian on the idea that I was being silly by being resistant to stories like The Lathe of Heaven and “The Book of Martha,” for instance, and that the practical effect of that resistance was to make the class much whiter and much maler than it really needed to be. Now, the course is still pretty white and very male, but the genre itself is, and somehow or another that’s something I want to start to talk about as the semester progresses. The excellent suggestion of Karen Joy Fowler’s story “Game Night at the Fox and Goose” will really help me make that pivot, I think, as will In the United States of Africa (a great novel I couldn’t believe I forgot to include until it was pointed out to me I’d forgotten to include it, I think by Aaron Bady).

A few other things I was very sad to lose:

  • I was originally going to do “an alternate history of an alternate history” thing to end the semester, Superman: Red Son, but it just didn’t make sense the way the course took shape. I held on to the idea way too long, and only cut the book two days ago. Sorry, bookstore!
  • The whole original point of all this was to use the course as an excuse to teach The Years of Rice and Salt, a book I love which seems just too long too teach in any other context. And it still seems too long to teach (at least at the sophomore level). I had to give it up, and wasn’t able to include even any excerpts because I crammed in too much other stuff. Someday!
  • Another thing that fell out of the course was a group presentation structure in which individual groups researched the actual history of the hinge point of each divergence and reported on it. I realized that with the newer, more expansive idea of the course this wasn’t going to work very well for at least half the books, and probably would have been reductive and overdetermined our conversations in practice, so it had to be abandoned as well.
  • I really, really wanted to include a Ted Chiang what-if-religion-were-empirically-verifiable story like “Hell Is The Absence of God,” but, again, it seemed just a bit far too off the mark this time.
  • I am, indeed, doing literally just one page from The Plot Against America, fulfilling my perverse desire to do so.
  • There were many other great suggestions for books that I wasn’t able to use. A few that I really struggled over:
    • Life After Life: a Replay-style reincarnation novel about World War I;
    • Replay itself, which is just too time-travel-ish for this (though I’ve always really liked it);
    • I likewise ruled out some other really good alternate-timeline stories because they were really time travel stories, from my puritanical perspective;
    • Something longer from Butler, perhaps Wild Seed (again, just too far afield generically for what I’m hoping to do);
    • Something truly (“merely”) generic, like Turtledove or Bring the Jubilee;
    • Lion’s Blood, Atomik Aztex, The Indians Won, The Bird Is Gone, The Heirs of Columbus, etc. I was so hung up on the idea of doing The Years of Rice and Salt that it crowded out this space for me (and then I added In the United States of Africa instead, to take on this question from a different direction). Next time.
    • Swastika Night, 1984, Handmaid’s Tale, Battle Royale: all good suggestions but didn’t hit the sense of “pastness” required by my conception of alternate history as a genre, as they were all future histories in their original moment of production;
    • District 9: only (re-)occurred to me at the last second because I was talking about it to somebody in another context, and didn’t have time to do it because the syllabus was (again) too crammed with too much other stuff. Someone had suggested Born in Flames to me as well, which also would have been great.
    • I also really wanted to play some board games like Twilight Struggle, Risk, Axis and Allies, and Chrononauts, but it seemed like it would be unwieldy and pointless with 35 students in the room. I think Civilization could scratch the same itch, though…

All right, with all those caveats, apologies, and thanks, here’s the week by week schedule (and full syllabus with all course procedures)! Three papers, the first two “traditionally scholarly,” the third one with a creative option, as well as a few creative micro-assignments here and there. If there’s anything more I should explain or you have any questions about the decisions I made, feel free to ask in the comments!

M Aug. 29 FIRST DAY OF CLASS

in-class writing exercise: “What If…”

W Aug. 31 class discussion: “What If…”
UNIT ONE: ALTERNATE WORLD WAR IIs
F Sep. 2 Kim Stanley Robinson, “The Lucky Strike”
M Sep. 5 LABOR DAY—NO CLASS
W Sep. 7 Kim Stanley Robinson, “A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions”
F Sep. 9 FIRST PAPER GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED

Star Trek: “The City on the Edge of Forever” (discussion only; watch it on your own!)

criticism: H. Bruce Franklin, “Star Trek in the Vietnam Era” [D2L]

M Sep. 12 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 1-3
W Sep. 14 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 4-6
F Sep. 16 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 7-9
M Sep. 19 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 10-13
W Sep. 21 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (whole book)
F Sep. 23 The Man in the High Castle (2015 Amazon pilot) (discussion only; watch it on your own!)
M Sep. 26 Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds (discussion only; optional screening date and time TBA)
W Sep. 28 Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds (discussion continues)

·      review: Ben Waters, “Debating Inglourious Basterds” [Web]

·      review: Michael Atkinson, “The Anti-Blockbuster” [Web]

·      review: Lee Siegel, “Tarantino’s Hollow Violence” [Web]

·      review: Jeffrey Goldberg, “Hollywood’s Jewish Avenger” [Web]

F Sep. 30 Lauren Davis, “Quentin Tarantino’s Spin Through Alternate History” [io9.com]

 

creative writing: Draft a short flash fiction [500-1000 words] or create an artifact, document, or image set in the 2016 of the world of Inglourious Basterds

 

Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (excerpt) [D2L]

UNIT TWO: OTHER HISTORIES
M Oct. 3 FIRST PAPER WORKSHOP

Bring in at least your introductory paragraphs, main claim, and an outline of your paper.

W Oct. 5 Sid Meier’s Civilization

videos: Civilization V timelapse gameplay videos [YouTube]

post: Trevor Owens, “Sid Meier’s Colonization: Is It Offensive Enough?” [Web]

thread: Lycerius, “I’ve Been Playing the Same Game of Civilization for Almost Ten Years. This Is the Result” [Reddit]

F Oct. 7 Sid Meier’s Civilization

criticism: Kacper Pobłocki, “Becoming-State: The Bio-Cultural Imperialism of Sid Meier’s Civilization”

 
M Oct. 10 FIRST PAPER DUE

SECOND PAPER GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED

Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” [D2L]

W Oct. 12 Karen Joy Fowler, “Game Night at the Fox and Goose” [D2L]
F Oct. 14 criticism: L. Timmel Duchamp, “Playing with the Big Boys: (Alternate) History in Karen Joy Fowler’s ‘Game Night at the Fox and Goose’” [Web]
M Oct. 17 Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
W Oct. 19 Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

thinkpiece: Jennifer Schuessler, “Hamilton and History: Are They in Sync?” [Web]

interview: Rebecca Onion and Lyra D. Monteiro, “A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn’t As Revolutionary As It Seems” [Web]

F Oct. 21 FALL BREAK—NO CLASS
M Oct. 24 Terry Bisson, Fire on the Mountain, pgs. 1-66
W Oct. 26 Terry Bisson, Fire on the Mountain, pgs. 67-119
F Oct. 28 Terry Bisson, Fire on the Mountain (whole book)
M Oct. 31 Abdourahman A. Waberi, In the United States of Africa (part one)
W Nov. 2 Abdourahman A. Waberi, In the United States of Africa (whole book)

criticism: Justin Izzo, “Historical Reversibility as Ethnographic Afrofuturism: Abdourahman Waberi’s Alternative Africa”

F Nov. 4 CONFERENCES—CLASS CANCELLED
UNIT THREE: DREAMING OF DIFFERENCE
M Nov. 7 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 1-4)
W Nov. 9 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 5-6)
F Nov. 11 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 7-9)
M Nov. 14 SECOND PAPER DUE

FINAL PROJECT GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 10-13)

W Nov. 16 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 14-16)
F Nov. 18 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 17-19)
M Nov. 21 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (whole book)

Martin Puchner, “When We Were Clones” [D2L]

W Nov. 23 THANKSGIVING BREAK—NO CLASS
F Nov. 25 THANKSGIVING BREAK—NO CLASS
M Nov. 28 Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (chapters 1-4)
W Nov. 30 Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (chapters 5-8)
F Dec. 2 Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (whole book)
M Dec. 5 Octavia E. Butler, “The Book of Martha”

creative writing: Imagine God comes to you with the same offer he/she/it brings to Martha. What one change would you make to the world, and why?

W Dec. 7 Octavia E. Butler, “The Book of Martha” (discussion continues)

creative writing: Draft a flash fiction [500-1000 words] or create an artifact, document, or image set in the world that exists sometime after the end of “The Book of Martha.”

 

Octavia E. Butler, “Afterword to ‘The Book of Martha’”

Gerry Canavan, Octavia E. Butler (excerpt) [D2L]

F Dec. 9 FINAL PROJECT WORKSHOP

LAST DAY OF CLASS

F Dec. 16 FINAL ASSIGNMENT DUE BY 12:30 PM
     

 

 

All Your Weekend Links

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* Waywiser Press has two new MP3s of Jaimee reading from her first book, How to Avoid Speaking: “Derrida Eats a Dorito” and “On Beauty.”

* New SF from Cixin Liu: “The Weight of Memories.”

* Duke Lit is hiring. And Georgetown has a cluster hire in African American studies.

* Automatically preordered: Kim Stanley Robinson’s next novel, New York 2140. China Miéville’s October: A History of the Russian Revolution. The Miéville- and Le-Guin-fronted new edition of More’s Utopia. Box Brown’s graphic history of Tetris.

* I love this Oulipoesque writing game from Steve Shaviro, on writing like a pundit.

  1. Every sentence must be a cliche.
  2. There must be no logical or narrative connection among the sentences. Each one must be a complete non sequitur.

Supporting Transgender Students in the Classroom.

Reevaluating Teaching Evaluations.

Can grad students unionize? Academia awaits major labor board ruling.

Univision buys Gawker for $135m, shuts Gawker itself down.

Conservatively, counting just the biggest chunks of staff time that went into it, the prison story cost roughly $350,000. The banner ads that appeared on the article brought in $5,000, give or take. Had we been really in your face with ads, we could have doubled or tripled that figure—but it would have been a pain for you, and still only a drop in the bucket for us.

* Relatedly: Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons. Some immediate effects.

* The new Star Trek distribution model in a global context.

15 Technologies That Were Supposed to Change Education Forever.

* Foundation 124 is out, with a special focus on More’s Utopia.

* I feel this now about a lot of things I read: Why Scott Snyder Doesn’t Write Damian Wayne Much.

Unfortunately, Landis — the director who co-wrote and executive produced Clue — and the studios were completely wrong about there being any box office appeal for a film with three endings. As Lynn explained, “The audience decided they didn’t know which ending to go to, so they didn’t go at all.”

* Meanwhile, from the death of culture.

It was the deadliest massacre of disabled people since World War II. How do we honor the victims if we don’t even know their names? Remembering the Sagamihara 19.

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing.’

* Something unexpected I learned recently: the practice of giving presidential candidates classified intelligence briefings began in the 1950s with President Truman, who didn’t want his successors coming into office without knowing crucial information (the way he hadn’t known about the Manhattan Project).

* Donald Trump is assembling gathering the Legion of Doom. (The ubiquitous Twitter joke was calling it “the hospice stage.”) Trumpism: first as tragedy, then as farce. The Presidential Debates Will Almost Definitely Exclude Third Parties. Finding Someone Who Can Imitate Donald Trump. Battleground Texas? The short, unhappy life of the Naked Trump statue. #TrumpExplainsMoviePlots.

The GOP’s Chances Of Holding The Senate Are Following Trump Downhill.

* A digital exhibit from the Milwaukee Public Library on the history of race and class in Milwaukee. Milwaukee by the numbers.

hobbiton-google* Frodo’s trip to Mordor as a Google Map. Via Boing Boing.

* Aetna to pull out of the Obamacare markets, apparently for revenge. EpiPen Price Hike Has Parents of Kids With Allergies Scrambling Ahead of School Year.

Diagnoses of 9/11-linked cancers have tripled in less than 3 years.

Why gifted kindergarten is 70 percent white. How schools that obsess about standardized tests ruin them as measures of success.

“Clickbait”-esque titles work for academic papers too.

* Why aren’t there more women in Congress?

* What crime is the robbing of a neighborhood, compared to policing it?

These Researchers Are Using Reddit to Teach a Supercomputer to Talk. In a panic, they try to pull the plug…

The Original Plan for Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four Sounds Completely Amazing.

In addition to Annihilus and the Negative Zone, we had Doctor Doom declaring war against the civilized world, the Mole Man unleashing a 60 foot genetically-engineered monster in downtown Manhattan, a commando raid on the Baxter Foundation, a Saving Private Ryan-style finale pitting our heroes against an army of Doombots in war-torn Latveria, and a post-credit teaser featuring Galactus and the Silver Surfer destroying an entire planet. We had monsters and aliens and Fantasticars and a cute spherical H.E.R.B.I.E. robot that was basically BB-8 two years before BB-8 ever existed. And if you think all of that sounds great…well, yeah, we did, too. The problem was, it would have also been massively, MASSIVELY expensive.

By coincidence, we watched the actual Trank Fantastic Four tonight and I was utterly shocked to see that there was almost a decent movie lurking in there somewhere.

Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered.

The spectacle of mixed gender racing unravels fascistic models of sex/gender difference and sex/gender purity.  Every woman runner competes with the lie that men are faster than women. That fiction can only be maintained by ensuring that men and women never run with each other — when men and women run with each other, they scale down each other’s understanding of their differences. The Life and Murder of Stella Walsh, Intersex Olympic Champion. Capturing Semenya.

The Forgotten Tale of How America Converted Its 1980 Olympic Village Into a Prison.

That time NASA accidentally sold a piece of irreplaceable Apollo history for less than $1,000.

* Nothing gold can stay: The Heidelberg Project is coming down.

* Allow me to recommend the Julia Louis-Dreyfus portion of this episode of the Katie Couric Podcast, where she talks Veep, Hillary Clinton, and Trump. The Al Franken episode is pretty good too.

* This episode of Criminal, on the founder of The Leaky Cauldron’s experience of being cyber-stalked for eight years, is also a really fascinating listen.

* I’m sad about this, but it’s probably time: Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman Announces End of Long-Running Superhero Comic Invincible.

“Distance from center of diagram measures explanatory generality, comprehensive power, & potential banality”

Perhaps, once at a summer barbecue, when both were still alive, Maude grabbed Marge’s hand under the table and held tight.

* Meritocracy and system dysfunction. Meritocracy and system dysfunction and free tuition at public colleges.

* One of the biggest crime waves in America isn’t what you think it is: wage theft.

The race of the police officer doesn’t matter. The race of the mayorimplementing the policy doesn’t matter. What matters is who enjoys a “right to the city” — and who gets thrown up against a wall and patted down.

New Museum Connects History of Slavery to Mass Incarceration.

* Elsewhere at Jacobin: Jacobin vs. Scientology.

* google sugar high truth

Scenes From the Terrifying, Already Forgotten JFK Airport Shooting That Wasn’t.

* Stranger Things, Parallel Universes, and the State of String Theory. And an interesting proposition from Chuck Rybak: Is the ubiquity of cell phones driving the nostalgia craze in film and TV?

* Please don’t mess this up: Marvel And Hulu Announce Runaways TV Series.

* Or this one either: Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar return for animated Batman movie.

* What killed The Nightly Show?

* When Nixon almost implemented universal basic income.

* Understanding the Harambe meme. Understanding the bees are dying at an alarming rate meme.

* A list of 150+ SF Writers of Asian Descent.

* Terraforming Mars without Nukes.

Gins often said that the reason she and Arakawa made art and architecture was to “construct optimism.” Their whole philosophy began there, in the desire to embrace being alive and to shift their focus away from the certainty of death. Gins made the choice to believe that art, and her work, were strong enough to do that. It was her version of faith, and her work made that faith solid, physical. Her life, like all our lives, was often filled with sadness and difficulty. There were periods of depression, anxiety, sick parents, financial problems, her husband’s illness and death. Through it all, she insisted not just on continuing to live, but on living forever. Trying to build a world where fewer people suffered made her own suffering bearable. A year and a half after Arakawa’s death, Gins recalled in a letter to a friend her struggle to move forward. “Despite my shattered state,” she wrote, “in spite of the gaping hole that had been punched into my optimism, I asserted that nothing is of more interest than to be alive.”

J.K. Rowling announces new Harry Potter short story collections.

* Stop me if you’ve heard this one: In the 136 years scientists have been tracking global temperatures, there has never been a warmer month than this July, according a new NASA report. 

* Arctic Cruises for the Wealthy Could Fuel a Climate Change ‘Feedback Loop’.

* RIP John McLaughlin, who I watched with my father every week for a decade. Bye-bye.

* Dune, as it was always meant to be experienced.

* Feet of clay: Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland vs. the unions.

* Exercise we can believe in: Watching horror films burns nearly 200 calories a time.

* And physicists may have discovered a fifth fundamental force of nature. This is the one that gives people superpowers, I know it.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 19, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning!

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* Early career advice you can use: The Hiring Process at Teaching Colleges. How Your Journal Editor Works.

* So what do I mean by claiming that there is no future to the study of culture in the 21st Century? My thesis is that we are (or should be) nearing the end of the study of culture, and that to continue to study it as we have will run the risk of irrelevance, or worse. In this talk I maintain that there is no future for the study of culture if it does not include the study of key concerns of the 21st century, including especially those ecological, geopolitical, and economic issues which threaten the existence of culture as we know it.

* Kim Stanley Robinson on Generation Anthropocene.

* I thought the first episode of Harmonquest was pretty promising. I’ve also been enjoying The Union of “The State” for the full 90s flashback experience. And why not wash it down with Dana Carvey’s Nano-Impressions?

* Bad news: 2016 will get one last extra second to make us all suffer.

* There’s a Secret Message Written Into the Sands of Mars.

* “I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing.” A bit more from Kottke on what happens when you turn police agencies into a revenue stream.

* Pokémon Go and Race in America.

Hillary Clinton’s Poll Numbers Look Nearly Unbeatable.

* The Leftist’s Guide to Actually Existing Welfare.

* When a physician is the perpetrator, the AJC found, the nation often looks the other way.

* An interactive self-care guide.

* Millennials and class identity.

* The end of margarine.

* The parental misery index. Whenever I see this studies I really think that “happiness” is the wrong value to be trying to measure; being a parent is unquestionably the best thing I’ve ever done, whether it makes me quantifiably “happier” moment-to-moment or not.

* No more half measures: only the total elimination of the university can protect students and teachers from each other.

The Trusted Grown-Ups Who Steal Millions From Youth Sports.

On playing the LAPD in your local pickup league.

* And truly we are all guilty before the law.

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