Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Lawrence Lessig

Tuesday Links!

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The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism interviews my friend Ramzi Fawaz about his exciting new book on the X-Men in the 1970s: The New Mutants.

* David Foster Wallace’s blurbspeak.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Story of Kullervo Will Be Published In October.

Scientist studies Diplomacy game to reveal early signs of betrayal.

* US Education Reform and the Maintenance of White Supremacy through Structural Violence.

* Whatever happened to Gary Cooper: You’ve heard of women’s studies, right? Well, this is men’s studies: the academic pursuit of what it means to be male in today’s world. Dr. Kimmel is the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, which will soon start the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies.”

* The fire next time: The Pension Crisis at Public Universities.

* The Clinton plan for college. This summary leaves out all the awful disruptivation and neoliberalization stuff that will be part of any actual plan, so it sounds great.

Widespread use of private email revealed a day after Wise resigns. The Revelations in Phyllis Wise’s Emails. Legal experts react. It’s so bad the board is going to vote on whether to pull her $400,000 golden parachute.

Academic Freedom at UIUC: Freedom to Pursue Viewpoints and Positions That Reflect the Values of the State.

* More on Duquesne’s proposition that adjunct unions would interfere with its Catholic mission.

SeaWorld sees profits plunge 84% as customers desert controversial park.

The Making of the American Police State.

* The Socrates of the National Security Agency.

Police Union In Missouri Declares ‘Darren Wilson Day’ On Shooting Anniversary. Yankees’ Minor League Affiliate Holds ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Event On Anniversary Of Michael Brown’s Death.

One Holdout Juror Was Likely Why James Holmes Avoided Death Penalty.

This Woman Was Awarded $685,737 After Learning Her Boyfriend (And Father of Her Child!) Was an Undercover Cop Sent to Spy on Her.

* Comic book movies and the forgotten art of the ending. You heard it here first!

* Astro Boy and the atom.

* The big Superman reveal (from the pre-52 DC Universe) that DC never got around to revealing.

Always a Lighthouse: Video Games and Radical Politics.

No girl wins: three ways women unlearn their love of video games.

Netflix’s Dystopian Show 3% To Be Developed Entirely In Brazil.

3% takes place in a world where most of the population lives in “Hither”: a decadent, miserable, corrupt place. When people reach 20 years of age, they go through the “Process”, the only chance to get to “Thither” – the better place, with opportunities and promises of a dignified life. Only three percent of the applicants are approved by the Process that will take the applicants to their limit, putting them in terrifying, dangerous situations and testing their convictions through moral dilemmas.

* More incredibly bad behavior in SF fandom. A little more context here.

* Judge Faults University for Requiring Student to Prove He Was Innocent of Sexual Misconduct. Colleges Under Investigation for Sexual Assault Wonder What Getting It Right Looks Like.

* Peter Thiel, übermensch.

* Here come the automated trucks. Kids today don’t even want to drive anymore (or their helicopter parents won’t let them)!

* The Amazonization of Everything.

* On Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon.

* Point: Please don’t have sex with robots. Counterpoint: Humans should be able to marry robots.

* Point: They clearly should have let Max Landis write Fantastic Four. Counterpoint: The Fantastic Four Are Jerks.

* Two interesting essays on sex work and sugar daddies from TNI’s “Daddy” issue: “Letter to a Young Baby” and “You Deserve It, Sweetie.”

* Atlas Shrugs Google Rebrands.

Natalia’s tweet became a whole great blog post on modernism, childhood, and tech.

* When Shakespeare toked.

* Why do hotels have ice machines?

* Why do pro wrestlers die so young?

* Did they find Croatoan?

* Prison-industrial-wildfire complex: Nearly half the people fighting wildfires wreaking havoc across California are prison inmates.

Sandernistas would do well to reflect on one thing.  In a few months’ time, Sanders’s campaign will be gone. He will not win. … But Black Lives Matter, or rather the movement with which it has become synonymous, isn’t going to go away.  And it is far more important to America’s long-term future. A useful corrective, I think, though my intuition remains that this is one brand of underpantsgnomism competing with another for underpants-gnome supremacy.

* Diseases of the twenty-first century: Foot Orgasm Syndrome.

* This could actually be interesting: Harvard Professor Larry Lessig To Explore Democratic Presidential Run.

* Because you demanded it: Werner Herzog’s Ant-Man.

* Science has discovered a new pentagon.

* And while the lion still remains at large, Milwaukee remembers its polar bear.


Written by gerrycanavan

August 11, 2015 at 10:20 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Let’s Just Start Over; Abolish the Constitution

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I went off on a bit of a tear this morning on Twitter and wanted to put it into a slightly more coherent form before I went about my day: my suggestion is that liberals, progressives, and liberal-leftists should look at the results of the last six years and conclude that there is simply no hope for significant reform within the existing constitutional order.

I’ve been saying this for years now, but here it is again: Obama swept into office at the head of a mass movement with a congressional supermajority during the worst crisis in 70 years, with the opposition party totally and absolutely discredited. That was the chance, the only chance, that the existing system had to reform, and he either blew it or betrayed it, however you come down on him. There’s no reason to think there will ever be another 2008 for the liberal-left. It’s over. The only hope now is a radical shift in the constitutional order, which can be achieved by calling for a new constitutional convention as prescribed within the existing constitution. It’s a legal move; it’s just never been tried.

Now, we know that the existing order is on course to destroy civilization within our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our children; we have to weigh any possible outcomes against that. But even bracketing climate change entirely, we have to understand that progressive and leftist economic policy can’t win within the existing order because it’s rigged for paralysis. A constitutional order with this level of malapportionment and this many chokepoints inevitably favors the political right. Even the best-case, most generous reading of Obama’s colossal failures demonstrates this to be true.

A new constitution would be a gamble, but it’s a gamble we take against a certainty of failure; recall that Clinton ’16, Clinton ’20, ClintonVP ’24 is the mainline Democrats’ most optimistic scenario, the one where they hit gold every time and never miss. And there’s good reason to think a new constitution literally couldn’t be worse than what we have now. A new constitution couldn’t get away with shortchanging CA and NY 14 senators, just for starters, much less any of the other crazy stuff that seems normal to us now; there’d be no way to justify it. Even a new constitutional convention that failed and saw the country break up into a loose confederation or into smaller states would be, on balance, an improvement for the world. With the experience of 2008-2014 — not to mention every other thing that’s happened in American politics on either the state or federal level for as long as I’ve been alive — it’s hard to see how a new system could possibly be worse for progressive hopes that the current system, which at this point we have to accept is guaranteed to always steamroll us.

A movement for a new constitution that took ten years to get off the ground would be catching fire at the end of Clinton’s second term, maybe; one that took fifteen years to get off the ground would hit just as whoever follows Clinton was taking office post-reelection. Do you honestly think politics in fifteen years will be better than it is now? Will the system be more just, more peaceful, more ecologically sustainable? Do you think we’ll be glad then that we stuck with the existing system, so Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Jay Nixon can save us?

In short my recommendation to the liberal-left and to progressives is to simply stop caring so much about whether Democrats win or lose and to devote themselves instead to advocating that we just start over, aligning with whatever savory and unsavory characters on the right we can get to sign on to the plan so that the convention happens and things at least have some chance to improve things before capitalism has fully and finally destroyed all hope for the future. At this point it’s not even really a gamble; there’s nothing left to lose, we’ve all already lost.

#teachthecontroversy #readyforHillary #despair #nihilism #breadsticks

Sunday Night Links!

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* Kenya sci-fi series imagines European immigrants fleeing to Africa. A very different premise, but it reminds me a bit of some of what happens in Abdourahman A. Waberi’s excellent short novel The United States of Africa.

* Map of the week: 57% of languages do not have gendered pronouns.

* How comics portray psychological illness.

* New Analysis Shows Problematic Boom In Higher Ed Administrators. With searchable database so you can see how your school has changed since the 80s.

UCLA spends 2% of its budget on sports, while UO spends 13%. 13%!

The Council of UC Faculty Associations did the math, and showed to get tuition back down to 2000-01 levels $5300 in today’s dollars), and state funding back up to spend 20001 amounts per student, would cost to the median individual California taxpayer, each year, a total of $50.  Restoring full quality and affordability for the state’s 1.6 million public college and university students would cost the state median taxpayer about the same as a holiday bottle of single malt scotch.  That would get us halfway back to a Free UC

Grad school’s mental health problem. When education brings depression.

* “Teachers can’t strike, so we’ll strike for them.”

* Functioning democracy watch: The rise of the blank-slate candidate.

* Lawrence Lessig: Only the super-rich can save us now.

But when it comes to the narcissism of war, as the example of Christopher Hitchens reminds us, no one has quite the self-deluding capacity of the intellectual.

* Friends, it gets worse: California aquifers contaminated with billions of gallons of fracking wastewater.

U.S. Emergency Rooms Are Bracing For An Ebola Panic. The nightmare Ebola scenario that keeps scientists up at night. ‘Breach of Protocol’ Led to 2nd Ebola Infection. Cuba leads fight against Ebola in Africa as west frets about border security. But don’t worry, we’re tweaking all our incentives: US government offers $1m for best hazmat suit design as demand surges.

* Prison to Table: The Other Side of the Whole Foods Experience. Pennsylvania’s addiction to prison-building a moral, economic disaster.

* BREAKING: White people are radically misinformed about just about every salient question in American politics.

Yes, they are killing young black males. Documents Show NYPD Has Paid $428 Million in Settlements Since 2009. Asset seizures fuel police spending.

* Why is the recovery so weak? It’s the austerity, stupid.

They did, however, find the case significant enough to notify their sergeant — “due to the fact that it was an F.S.U. football player,” the report said. The sergeant, a Florida State University sports fan, signed off on it and the complaint was filed away as “unfounded.” It was hardly the first time that the towering presence of Florida State football had cast a shadow over justice in Tallahassee.

* Cultural preservation watch: There Is A Nine-Foot Tall Statue Of Edward Snowden In New York City.

“When the story broke about Edward Snowden, I was thinking a lot about surveillance and monumentality and how we remember things,” Dessicino told BuzzFeed News on Friday. “How public space is used and how people in history are remembered.

“And I got the idea that maybe people who are major actants upon history aren’t always represented properly, and those people could be written out of history by not having something more permanent made of them.”

* Elsewhere in Snowdenmania: news that he has apparently inspired a second leaker, still at the agency, as well as a nice button on the love story that dominated so much of the early coverage.

* I’ve been a Moffat-skeptic and didn’t like Twelve’s introduction or first few episodes at all, but I have to admit the new Doctor Who is probably as good as it’s ever been. Each of the last few episodes has been better than the last. Sid & Nancy on the TARDIS.

* Nielsen: still the absolute worst.

* The oldest struggle: Hawk v. drone.

Yet, there is something incomprehensible and inconsistent about this brand of “evil.” Mordor presents these characters in incredibly high fidelity—and I mean that both aesthetically and narratively. Some of the Orcs wear visible jewelry. One dev pointed out during a video preview that “some of them are poets.” But we’re told again and again that these Orcs want to destroy beautiful things. It just doesn’t hold up, and this tension extends to every element of their narrative and systemic characterizations. These Orcs have fears, interests, values, rivalry and friendships. Some Orcs are lovingly protective of their bosses or underlings. But they are “savage creatures” that “hate beauty,” so go ahead and enslave them.

* Matt Yglesias is making sense: The real problem with Nate Silver’s model is the hazy metaphysics of probability.

* The LEGO Batman Movie is the moment reboot culture begins to learn at an algorithmic rate. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

* “He soon resigned.” A chess column had run in the New York Times since 1855, until today.

* Here come the self-driving cars.

* Tech jobs: Minorities have degrees, but don’t get hired.

* This Is How Judges Humiliate Pregnant Teens Who Want Abortions.

* Marissa Alexander will have a new trial.

* Unpopular opinion watch: This is not a perfect article, but the proposition that universities are not equipped to be courts and shouldn’t try to be seems basically right to me. I can’t imagine how people are looking at the last few decades of Title IX implementation and saying the answer is to give schools a larger role in this.

* Dystopian road signs.

* Understanding Homestuck.

* Understanding the Great Zucchini, DC’s most in-demand clown.

* Well, that explains it. Hitler was ‘a regular user of crystal meth’, American Military Intelligence dossier reveals.

* The age of miracles: cure for type-one diabetes imminent.

* And I’m so old I can remember when “full of bees” seemed like the worst possible thing.


Written by gerrycanavan

October 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links!

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Ruling over a world while destroying it has made the rich a bunch of clinical assholes.

* The grotesque corruptions of big-time intercollegiate athletics have become so glaringly obvious that there is simply no longer a question of whether the college sports-industrial complex is a cancer consuming the academy’s soul. With each new, familiar, and utterly predictable revelation of rampant greed, sexual violence, academic malfeasance, and player exploitation, the only real question is whom to blame.

* Why college rape victims don’t go to the police. Man Who Drugged His Wife And Raped Her While Sleeping Gets No Jail Time.

* North Carolina GOP Pushes Unprecedented Bill to Jail Anyone Who Discloses Fracking Chemicals.

* Is Lawrence Lessig really “the greatest radical at work in America today”? I like some of what Lessig does, but radicals need to step it up a notch.

How Far Your Paycheck Goes, In 356 U.S. Cities.

* GOP cuts school lunches for urban schools, retains them for rural schools, because freedom I guess.

Second Grader Handcuffed at School for Misbehaving.The boy says he began yelling after some kids decided to taunt him, but he never got physical.”

* Stalinism on the Installment Plan.

Here in the US, we don’t need to force people to confess to crimes they didn’t commit (though we certainly do that, too). No, to truly validate our system, we conscript the defendant’s soul in a different way.

* A while back I wrote that Django Unchained is laudable for making us unable to watch Gone With the Wind uncritically; I believe that Thrones is working similarly to make us unable to watch The Lord of the Rings uncritically.

* Attention: Everyone should purchase this indoor slide the second it becomes available.

Disneyland’s original prospectus revealed.

* And the Los Angeles Review of Books celebrates George Perec.

Wednesday Night

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The true gloomsters are scientists who look at climate through the lens of “dynamical systems,” a mathematics that describes things that tend to change suddenly and are difficult to predict. It is the mathematics of the tipping point—the moment at which a “system” that has been changing slowly and predictably will suddenly “flip.” The colloquial example is the straw that breaks that camel’s back. Or you can also think of it as a ship that is stable until it tips too far in one direction and then capsizes. In this view, Earth’s climate is, or could soon be, ready to capsize, causing sudden, perhaps catastrophic, changes. And once it capsizes, it could be next to impossible to right it again.

* But there’s an easy solution to all this! North Carolina considers outlawing accurate predictions of sea level rise. More from Raleigh’s Scott Huler at Scientific American.

* Like any game, the woman game stops being fun when you start playing to win, especially if you’ve got no choice: Win or be ridiculed, win or become invisible, dismissed — disturbed.

* Lessig: “There is no one in the criminal justice system who believes that system works well. There is no one in housing law who believes this is what law was meant to be. In contracts, you read about disputes involving tens, maybe a hundred dollars. The disputes of ordinary people. These disputes are not for the courts any more. Or if they are, they are for courts that are an embarrassment to the ideals of justice from our tradition. The law of real people doesn’t work, even if the law of corporations does.”

People with autism appear less likely to believe in God.

FDA rules corn syrup can’t change its name.

* And Ze goes ahead and drops some knowledge.

Tuesday Night Links

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* Community is back March 15, but NBC still hates you; they’re putting Parks & Rec on hiatus instead.

46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace’s 50th Birthday. Via MeFi.

* Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II. I feel certain Indiana Jones was involved in each of these.

* “How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries.”

* A literary history of erasure.

* When Jon Hamm met Miss Piggy.

* Cory Doctorow reviews Lawrence Lessig’s Constitutional-conventionalist One Way Forward.

* ‘I exist wholly for you. I will never reject you. You cannot disappoint me.’ A brief history of the money shot.

* Canadians: They’re Just as Bad as Us!

* And of course you had me at 1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue. Via Kottke.

FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old one.

COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water upon them.


TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.

Occupy Lessig

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 17, 2011 at 10:15 am


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