Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘mad science

Thursday Links!

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* Coetzee: There is nothing wrong with arguing that a good humanistic education will produce graduates who are critically literate, by some definition of critical literacy. However, the claim that only the full apparatus of a humanistic education can produce critical literacy seems to me hard to sustain, since it is always open to the objection: if critical literacy is just a skill or set of skills, why not just teach the skill itself? Would that not be simpler, and cheaper too?

…in the end, I believe, you will have to make a stand. You will have to say: we need free enquiry because freedom of thought is good in itself. We need institutions where teachers and students can pursue unconstrained the life of the mind because such institutions are, in ways that are difficult to pin down, good for all of us: good for the individual and good for society.

* If you can’t make a case for a discipline on the basis of the actual objects studied by that discipline, it’s doomed. The field needs to have confidence in the things it takes as its subject matter.

* Huge drop in humanities majors at Swarthmore.

Not for the first time, vandals are wreaking havoc in central Europe. Russian police say they’re looking for the intellectually minded miscreants who graffitied “Kant is a moron”—along with a flower and heart—on the philosopher’s home outside Kaliningrad.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 16: Flexibility. Special appearance by Plastic Man.

Higher Education and the Politics of Disruption.

Black UVA Student Beaten Bloody by Police Over Alleged Fake ID: Reports. UVA’s White President Outsources Outrage Over Martese Johnson to Two Black Administrators.

Chapel Hill Will Pay $335,000 to Whistle-Blower in Fraud Scandal.

More Scrutiny of Decision to Close Sweet Briar.

Penn State Fraternity’s Secret Facebook Photos May Lead to Criminal Charges.

Despite Progress, Only 1 in 4 College Presidents Are Women.

The New York Times ran the Duke story—a story about the internal politics of an English department—on its front page.

* I can’t remember if I already linked to Jalada #2: “Afrofuture(s),” but it’s great. I think my favorite little piece is one of the short poems, “Found: An Error in the System.”

Schools Plan Massive Layoffs After Scott Walker Guts Funding.

21st-Century Slaves: How Corporations Exploit Prison Labor.

Why The U.S. Won’t Let the U.N. Look Inside Its Prisons.

* Modern-Day Caligula Orders Everything Bagel.

* Everything’s different in Denmark: Porn belongs in the classroom, says Danish professor.

* What could possibly go wrong? The Scientist Who Wanted To Bring A Death Row Inmate Back From The Dead.

* Starbucks loses its damn mind. Starbucks Wants To Talk To You About Race. But Does It Want To Talk To You About Racism? Starbucks’s Race to the Center of Civic Life.

* Simians, Cyborg-Women, and Godzilla: 40 Years of Terror of Mechagodzilla.

41 Awesome Euphemisms For Vagina Around The World, Because Your Pupusa Speaks All Languages.

Mars One Finalist Explains Exactly How It‘s Ripping Off Supporters.

* The New Optimism of Al Gore.

* Antarctica appears to be melting from below.

* Climate change and full communism.

* When the CIA funded the National Student Association.

The Problem With History Classes.

Rise of the Gender Novel: Too often, trans characters are written as tortured heroes. We’re more complex than that.

The lonely shame of student debt.

Queer Silence and The Killing Joke.

* #LightenUp: On Comics and Race.

I’m Al Lowe and I created a series of games called Leisure Suit Larry for Sierra back in the ’80s and ’90s along with another 20 games and titles back in that period. I was with Sierra from 1982 until 1998 when it — well, it was the poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals. How about that for an opening?

* Did Terry Brooks save epic fantasy? Given the years involved if anything did it seems more likely to me that it was Dungeons and Dragons, but it’s a nice remembrance of the franchise regardless.

* I’m good for five seasons at least: Bridgeport Priest Who Ran Meth Ring Pleads For Leniency.

* Really bad idea watch: Sherlock Goes Old-School For Its Christmas Special.

* The Walking Disney.

* The Hidden History of Miscarriage.

One chart that shows just how ridiculously huge Wall Street bonuses are.

Where to expect upsets on your NCAA bracket.

* New edition of Catan coming down the pike.

* You had me at fully automated luxury communism (FALC).

* And because you demanded it! Sam Jones Says New Flash Gordon Is A Sequel.

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Friday: Steven Salaita Link Roundup and More

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Shit and Curses, and Other Updates on the Steven Salaita Affair. Return of the blacklist? Cowardice and censorship at the University of Illinois. Academic Freedom, Except When I Disagree. Bérubé on Salaita. The national AAUP’s statement. Cary Nelson, the AAUP, and the privilege of bestowing academic freedom. Cary Nelson’s Case. John K. Wilson. The definition of academic freedom, for many, does not accommodate dissent. The University of Illinois Is Not an Island. A Love Letter to Twitter. A New Birth of Academic Freedom.

One of the ironies of college is that the impossibility of reading your way out of the modern predicament is something you learn about, as a student, by reading. Part of the value of a humanistic education has to do with a consciousness of, and a familiarity with, the limits that you’ll spend the rest of your life talking about and pushing against. So it’s probably natural for college students to be a little ironic, a little unsettled. It’s time, meanwhile, to admit that the college years aren’t for figuring out some improvised “sense of purpose.” They’re more like a period of acclimatization—a time when realizations can dawn. If you’re feeling uneasy about life, then you’re doing the reading.

* Matthew Cheney has a call to read Survivor over Octavia Butler’s objections, inspired in part by my recent series at LARoB.

* Princeton Considers End to Limit on Number of As.

* The University of Colorado is moving to fire a tenured faculty member after the Boulder campus paid $825,000 this week to settle a graduate student’s allegations that the philosophy professor retaliated against her for reporting she was sexually assault by a fellow student.

* Watch NJ cop go rogue: Since Obama ‘doesn’t follow Constitution, we don’t have to.’

Forcing Kids To Stick To Gender Roles Can Actually Be Harmful To Their Health.

* Is Student Debt Harmful to Your Health? Student debt correlated with nagging sense that life is pointless.

* Oh, there’s your problem, your culture produces monsters: Telling white people the criminal justice system is racist makes them like it more.

* On not being cynical enough: LeBron James just leapt from one carefully constructed superteam to another. Of course I’m talking about you; I was always cynical about this. #cynicprivilege

The painting refers to the old custom of punishing insubordinates by shoving them off a ship and onto an island. But these days, you can also view “Marooned” as a curiously precise description of the Delaware Art Museum. It, too, has been ostracized by its peers. In June, it was formally sanctioned by the Association of Art Museum Directors, which has asked its members not to lend artwork to Delaware or assist with its exhibitions.

* An interview on death and mourning with Thomas Laqueur, from the great TNI issue on mourning I was hyping the other day.

* When stock photography modeling goes wrong.

* Endless Adjunct: The Game! From @readywriting.

* “Ole Miss Struggles to Be a New Miss.” On trying to rebrand.

The Wonder Years: An Oral History.

* I guess in Obama’s America it’s not always legal to randomly murder people for no reason.

* Run Cruel optimism, Liz, run cruel optimism!

* “Punk archaeologists” explain why they dug out the Atari landfill. I should have been a punk archaeologist.

* Christina Hendrick’s time-travel-centered Mad Men spinoff looks pretty promising. The Mary Poppins one is good too.

* Lost in Lost in La Mancha: Terry Gilliam trying to make Don Quixote again, which is now about trying to make Don Quixote.

* There’s only one thing Disney/Marvel loves more than money, and that’s not making inclusive superhero movies.

Perhaps most importantly to everyone outside of Broadway, this production basically puts the kibosh on any new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm—at least until it’s over. David said he “hadn’t ruled out” doing more Curb, but that he’s “not going to mentally do that to myself right now.” Also, if he did do another season, “this play would push that schedule back.” So we’d say that if he did do a ninth season, it could be about how Larry David starring in a Broadway show ends up irritating everyone else. But of course, he already did that.

* Everything old is new again: Straczynski bringing sci-fi classic Babylon 5 back to life with movie reboot in 2016. NBC has great idea for family show starring Bill Cosby.

* Slot-machine science: How casinos get you to spend more money. A Good Way to Wreck a Local Economy: Build Casinos.

* The arc of history is long, but bends towards justice: Cops no longer desire photo of teenager’s erection.

* Over the cliff: Almost 20 percent of people near retirement age have no retirement savings.

* The headline reads, “Experts Split If Robots Will Usurp Human Workers By 2025.”

* Google Saved by the Bell Truth. Wake up sheeple.

* My god. The bureaucracy works.

* And SMBC presents: The Darwinist!

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Weekend Links!

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* CFP: ASAP, Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present.

* Real-life trolley problem: programming a self-driving car to decide what to aim at in the event of a crash.

As one of the first full-time faculty members at Southern New Hampshire’s online college, Ms. Caldwell taught 20 online courses last year: four at a time for five terms, each eight weeks long. The textbooks and syllabi were provided by the university; Ms. Caldwell’s job was to teach. She was told to grade and give feedback on all student work in 72 hours or less.

* The digital humanities bubble has popped. Climb on board the science fiction studies bubble before it’s too late!

* March Madness: The University of Oregon and the local district attorney’s office appear to have colluded to prevent a rape accusation from interfering with basketball. What a mess. “I thought, maybe this is just what happens in college,” she told police, “… just college fun.”

How to Combat Sexual Assault: Three universities are addressing sexual assault the right way.

The Worst of All Possible Universes and the Best of All Possible Earths: Three Body and Chinese Science Fiction.

* Go ahead, make your jokes: Harvard Faculty Members Approve College’s First Honor Code.

* “The Day I Started Lying to Ruth”: A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer.

The CPB also usefully charts the changing funding fortunes of higher education and corrections.  As they remind us (4), there has been an effective reversal in the priorities placed on higher education and corrections since the early 1980s.  In 1980-81 2.9% of the General Fund was spent on corrections; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 9%.  In 1980-81, 9.6% of the General Fund was spent on higher education; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 5.1%. Actually the reversal is worse than the CPB indicates since Brown’s General Fund budget does not include the spending being sent to counties for realignment.  This has allowed him to appear as if he is cutting back on correctional spending when he is not.

* Money, Politics, and Pollution in North Carolina.

Portland Committee Reviews Arrest of Nine-Year-Old Girl. Give them time! They really need to think through if arresting kids is really a good idea!

* Snapchat goes on twenty-year probation with the FTC.

* Atrocious: The Globe and Mail wants its management to the have the right to assign editorial employees to write and edit advertorial copy as part of their regular duties, according to this union bulletin. 

* ‘Can You Make Sure There’s Nothing Un-Islamic In Our Oriental Shlock-Fest?’ – G. Willow Wilson In The Bleeding Cool Interview.

The point is that after years of studies about charter schools, there is not really any definitive proof of any “charter magic” they bring to the field.

* Meanwhile, standardized testing in Chicago asks immigrant students to choose the best argument for their own exclusion from society.

* Yes we can! Interest Rates on New Federal Student Loans Will Rise for 2014-15.

* Professors’ non-existent privacy rights.

* Economists: Still the Worst.

* Scenes from the adjunct struggle in San Francisco.

* Pope Demands ‘Legitimate Redistribution’ Of Wealth. Sold!

* North Dakota Is the Deadliest State to Work In.

* RIP, Community. For now!

* I’m a little surprised we don’t already have a few trillionaires lying around. Get to work, capital! You’re slacking.

* Iowa Secretary of State makes voter fraud his signature issue, pours a ton of money into finding it, comes up with 117 illegally cast votes and gets six convictions. Typical voter turnout in Iowa is around one million people.

* Scientists create truly alien lifeforms.

The Recommendation Letter Ralph Waldo Emerson Wrote For A Job-Hunting Walt Whitman.

* The tragic case of Monica Lewinsky.

Four Ways You Can Seek Back Pay for an Unpaid Internship.

Stress Gives You Daughters, Sons Make You Liberal. Well, that about solves all the big questions forever.

* The Secret Origins of Benghazi Fever.

* And bell hooks vs. Beyoncé: whoever wins, we… Well, look, Beyoncé’s going to win. Let me start over.

Saturday Roundup – 2!

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* How Dan Harmon breaks a story – 2!

* ‘Fallen’ Disney Princesses. The Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine ones are the best, I think.

* Scientific Paper of the Night: Could we blow up the sun?

* Architects for this 47-story building in Spain forgot to put in an elevator.

* Academic freedom and tenure: the case of National Louis University. Just awful.

This Is How Your Brain Becomes Addicted to Caffeine.

* And via @reclaimUC, a blast from 2011: Delegitimate UC.

I’d like to suggest that given the significance of bureaucracy as an administrative stronghold, the arena of bureaucracy is worth intervening in if and only if the legitimacy of governance by upper administration is negated by the intervention. A professor who agrees to be on a committee thinking that from that position she’ll be able to limit damage and fearing that if she is not on it things will be even worse is not negating the legitimacy of the administration, so that should not be done.

But a resolution introduced in the Academic Senate, or issued by an individual department, stating that the Regents should not be allowed to set the salaries of upper administrators would reject their legitimacy and would be worth doing, not least because it would be news…

Thursday Night Links

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* Thank a Boomer: the North Pole is now a lake.

Three-Quarters Of Young, Independent Voters Describe Deniers As ‘Ignorant, Out Of Touch Or Crazy.’

* Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought.

* MOOCs enter the “Sure, they’re a complete disaster, but what if they weren’t?” phase of the hype cycle.

* College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years. Better hire some new assistant under-deans to tackle this problem.

* Why would CPS throw more money into recruiting recent college graduates with five weeks of training and no teaching certificates into the district when it lets go of highly-qualified, certified, veteran teachers? What’s the Difference Between Teach For America, and a Scab Temp Agency?

* What’s the Matter With North Carolina? Meanwhile, Eric Holder tries to reignite the preclearance provision of the VRA under Section 3.

* Scientists believe they have successfully implanted a false memory into a mouse.

* Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism.

* There’s no such thing as black-on-black crime.

* Ally-phobia: On the Trayvon Martin Ruling, White Feminism, and the Worst of Best Intentions. White People Fatigue Syndrome.

* “Summer Vacation Is Evil”: the ultimate #slatepitch.

* Today in coffee-is-good-for-you news: Coffee drinking tied to lower risk of suicide.

* A unique defense: Lance Armstrong says it doesn’t count if everyone should have known you were lying.

* And tonight’s poem: “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood.

Fourth of July America Links USA USA

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milwaukee 2010How to Spot a Communist Using Literary Criticism: A 1955 Manual from the U.S. Military. And they say literary criticism is useless.

* DHS immediately begins implementing green cards to gay couples, without stalling or dragging its feet or needing to be sued. Amazing. I’d have never predicted it.

* Heat maps of poverty in US cities, 1980-2010. At right: Milwaukee in 2010. “Whites are in blue; blacks yellow; Hispanics green; and Asians red.”

* Today in NCAA insanity.

So far this offseason, around 450 Division I basketball players have announced they’re changing schools. This turnover has imperiled the sport, says Marshall University basketball coach Tom Herrion, who calls it a “transfer epidemic.” Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski says that “[k]ids don’t stick to the school that they pick and they want instant gratification.” South Carolina’s Frank Martin agrees: “Kids are not being taught to stay the course, be patient, to learn how to work and improve.” Adds Alabama’s Anthony Grant, “I don’t think it’s something any coach will tell you is good for the game.”

GREEDY NCAA PLAYERS DEMANDING RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHICH GROUP OF MILLIONAIRES WON’T PAY THEM FOR THEIR LABOR PLEASE CALL POLICE

India has officially recognized dolphins as non-human persons, whose rights to life and liberty must be respected. Dolphin parks that were being built across the country will instead be shut down. 

An Open Letter to New Teach for America Recruits.

Many of you no doubt believe you are joining a progressive education justice movement, that is the message TFA sells so well. But I want you to understand clearly, TFA is not progressive. The kind of limited data-driven pedagogy, the fast-track preparation, the union-busting, the forced exploitation of your labor, the deep-pocketed affiliation with corporate education reform are all very conservative, very anti-progressive ideas. Look no further than TFA’s list of supporters/donors. The largest donations are from groups like the Walton Foundation, of Walmart fortune, which has a vested interest in the status quo of inequality, breaking unions, and keeping wages low and workers oppressed. Or notice the many partnerships with JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, the very institutions which caused the financial collapse and threw millions of Americans-including your future students’ families-into foreclosure, bankruptcy, and deeper poverty. These organizations choose to donate to TFA because TFA supports their agendas. If TFA was truly pushing back on the status quo of educational inequality, these types of donors would not only refuse financial support, they would be attacking a group which threatens their earning potential.

* Meanwhile, making the rounds again: Gates Foundation Funding Wrist Bracelets to Monitor Teaching Effectiveness. How to Write a Conservative Article about Education.

* The Humanities, Declining? Not According to the Numbers. Well, you know, you can prove anything using facts.

* “This is text from an actual email from an actual coursera professor to actual coursera students.”

* More than 260 colleges and universities in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have students who are more likely to default on their loans than full-time freshmen are to graduate, an analysis of federal data shows.

* Bummer Watch Lightning Round: Fox News adopts George Zimmerman. Kevin Clash’s (One) Day in Court. Gitmo Detainees to Be Force-Fed at Night Out of Respect for Ramadan. The street value of black market ivory in China — up to $1,300 a pound — rivals that of cocaine or gold. And, of course, North Carolina. Oh, North Carolina.

* In New York, Blasi said, his security personnel did not have the police’s powers of arrest and don’t have the power to arrest and shoot lawbreakers, and the city police did not believe they had the power to enter this private space. During the Zuccotti crisis, Blasi said he dreamed of turning on fire hydrants, letting loose German shepherds and deploying blow torches. Ralph Blasi is a director of security for a real estate company. Fire hydrants, German shepherds, blow torches.

The marshmallow test became an important part of psychology canon. But a study in 2012 suggests that the children in the experiment did not necessarily differ in their ability to resist temptation. Instead, it was their trust in the researcher to return with the promised marshmallow that differed. 

“Now, it seems that senior (well-paid) managers are giving explicit orders to senior editorial staff to deliberately take advantage of young job-seekers in order to cut costs.” Gasp!

* And the headline reads: Human head transplants? Neurosurgeon says ‘we have the technology.’ All right, damnit, I’m in.

Thursday Links!

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Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito Suddenly Realize They Will Be Villains In Oscar-Winning Movie One Day.

Is it too late? The long view offers reason to hope. From Kim Stanley Robinson.

Mourning and Melancholia in the Anthropocene.

U.S. to Retire Most Chimps From Research.

The long road to marriage equality. Adam Kotsko: Marriage and Meritocracy.

In a previous post on this site I announced a plan for the creation of MOOA, or massive, open, online administrations that would supplant the thousands of separate administrations currently managing the affairs of America’s colleges. The MOOA idea was, of course, satire. However, I must report that two educational consultants contacted me to offer their services in bringing my MOOA to the market. Additionally, three separate reporters called to discuss the MOOA concept. When I explained that MOOA was a satire, one asked, “Are you sure?”

What we need instead, I think, is a study of neoliberal bias in the university, particularly since the rhetoric of neoliberalism has now become ubiquitous, the lingua franca of administrators and even many faculty. In the 1990s Bill Readings observed that the new rationale of the university was the amorphous, technocratic one of “excellence,” rather than the traditional ones of disciplinary reason or national culture. The incantation of “excellence” no longer has quite the same currency; the new neoliberal mantra includes the buzzwords “disruption,” “innovation,” and “choice.” Part of their force is that they seem self-evident goods: who would be against innovation or choice? But I think that they sidestep some of the crucial problems of higher education, especially regarding equality. According to all the statistical markers, college is subject to a steeper class divide than it was 40 years ago, and academic jobs show a sharper stratification. This violates the best hope of the American university. What good is innovation if it brings us a more inequitable world? 

* The latest update on Capturing the Friedmans.

* …given what we know from the big picture, I think it’s safe to say that ostensible reason for the long-term collapse in humanities enrollment has to do with the increasing choice of women to enter more pre-professional majors like business, communications, and social work in the aftermath of a) the opening of the workplace and b) universal coeducation suddenly making those degrees relevant. You’d have to be pretty tone-deaf to point to their ability to make that choice as a sign of cultural malaise.

* I used to maniacally play Solitaire Tic-Tac-Toe to keep myself sane in high school. If I’d known about Tic-Tac-Toe2, I might never have graduated.

* And good news everyone! The housing bubble is back!

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