Posts Tagged ‘mad science’
* “Once upon a time, there was an angry guy, who hated the story he was in. All right?” Charles Yu in the New Yorker.
* Huge congratulations to my recent (last week!) student Michael Welch (ENGW ’16), winner of the 2016 Florence Kahn Memorial Award from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and the author of the poetry chapbook But Sometimes I Remember, now at Amazon!
* “Marquette reports surge in student demand for incoming class.” Well, that’s good news!
* So what can we do? The solution is very simple! Don’t date your students. Don’t stalk, harass, or overshare your feels with your students. Don’t expect them to perform emotional or sexual labor for you. Treat them like professionals, so that they can become the professionals they want to be without being humiliated or having their or your intellectual enthusiasm questioned or second-guessed.
* In effect, we have two American economies. One is made up of expensive coastal zip codes where the pundits proclaiming “recovery” are surrounded by prosperity. The other is composed of heartland regions where ordinary Americans struggle without jobs. Over 50 million Americans live in what the Economic Innovation Group calls “distressed communities”—zip codes where over 55% of the population is unemployed. Of those distressed communities, over half are in the South, defined generously by the census as the region stretching from Maryland and Delaware to Oklahoma and Texas. The rest tend to live in Midwest rust belt cities that have long suffered from economic decline, like Gary, Indiana and Cleveland, Ohio. It is nearly impossible for Americans of the latter group to move to the cities of the former group—or to work in the industries that shape public perception of how the economy is going.
* “The apocalypse is never that single cataclysmic event,” remarks a resistance leader of an imaginary nation to her psychiatrist in a conversation at the heart of “In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain” (2015), the most recent film of Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour and the central piece in her solo exhibition at Sabrina Amrani Gallery. In the film, a resistance group is on a mission to produce a future history for a made-up civilization: by making underground deposits of elaborate porcelain, the group supports its claims to the existence of a people before their obliteration by a colonial power. In line with the classical sci-fi format, the digital film is set in a dystopian territory without a future, or at the very end of historical time. The master narrative of the end-of-times is not an event but a condition: Disaster becomes not sheer bad luck, but a fixed lens through which history is narrated.
* “Possible Conflict at Heart of Clinton Foundation.” Well I suppose anything’s possible.
* February national polls are the best you get until August. But let’s all panic just the same.
* #welcometonightvale: For all the advances in transplant surgery in the 62 years since doctors first moved a kidney from Ronald Herrick to his identical twin, Richard, the method of transporting organs remains remarkably primitive. A harvested heart, lung, liver or kidney is iced in a plastic cooler, the kind you might take to the beach, then raced to an operating room where a critically ill patient and his surgical team are waiting. The new approach flips that idea — emphasizing warmth instead of cold and maintaining an organ’s natural processes rather than slowing them down. That may speed an individual heart or liver’s return to service, and it offers the eventual possibility of more: the potential to reduce the chronic shortage of organs for transplant by expanding the pool of usable ones.
* Nothing gold can stay: Lego sets have become more violent to keep up with the times, new study shows.
* #Holdthedoor (from 2014!).
* “Dad wrote pirate porn, ghost porn, science-fiction porn, vampire porn, historical porn, time-travel porn, secret-agent porn, thriller porn, zombie porn, and Atlantis porn.” LARoB reviews Chris Offutt’s My Father, The Pornographer.
* No more water, the fire next time: xkcd explores the weirdly specific promise of the rainbow.
* The planet would warm by searing 10C if all fossil fuels are burned, according to a new study, leaving some regions uninhabitable and wreaking profound damage on human health, food supplies and the global economy. ^when
* CFP: “Queers Read This!”: LGBTQ Literature Now, a Special Issue of GLQ. And a stray thought not-really-apropos of that:
* UWM introduces plan to cut $41.25 million from budget. That includes the end of the Center for Urban Initiatives and Research. But there’s always money in the job security stand:
“We have a fundamental tension between job security and the ability for this university to continue to be viable,” Mone said. “Those are inherent tensions. The reality is, when I talk about numbers, when I talk about budgeting, what we’re really talking about is people. And we’re talking about the ability to continue to operate as effectively and as efficiently as possible given the environmental changes that we have.”
* Shock of shocks: The NFL has been lying about concussions.
* Batman vs. Superman is apparently in that delicious category of film so terrible that the critics compete to deal it the cruelest blow. FilmFreak. GQ. BMD. AV Club. Deadpan. The Guardian. Village Voice. And the rest! But I give the round to A.O. Scott:
For fun there are shots of the heroes shirtless and of Lois Lane in the bath. But the point of “Batman v Superman” isn’t fun, and it isn’t thinking, either. It’s obedience. The theology is invoked not to elicit meditations on mercy, justice or sacrifice, but to buttress a spectacle of power. And in that way the film serves as a metaphor for its own aspirations. The corporations that produce movies like this one, and the ambitious hacks who sign up to make them, have no evident motive beyond their own aggrandizement. Entertainment is less the goal than the byproduct, and as the commercial reach of superpower franchises grows, their creative exhaustion becomes ever more apparent.
* Garner (not really) v. Affleck. This is actually a really interesting longread on the crafting of celebrity persona, despite your assumptions to the contrary.
* As a child I was unsatisfied with the world, already looking for ways out. I read some online pamphlet about Advaita Vedanta and decided I believed in it; I made myself a little diagram of the cosmos, within and without Māyā, dotted lines connecting Brahman to Atman to my own confined and unhappy self far across the limits of observable reality; I was weird. I liked things that weren’t really real; not pure fantasy but all those lenses that made the world bearable in its new capacity to be somehow otherwise, that gave me a kind of conceptual power to change things that I didn’t have in daily life. Conspiracy theory, pseudohistory, socialism, faith. I think it wasn’t long after my grandfather died that I found a collection of alternate histories, little stories told by pop-historians about what might have happened if one battle or another had gone the other way, a prism of worlds that never were. I don’t remember the title; it was actually a fairly stupid book (one account described the result of Lenin’s assassination on the way to St Petersburg: the Bolsheviks are effortlessly sidelined and we get a happy, prosperous, liberal-democratic twentieth century). The cover was utterly inevitable: a black and empty sky, and a swastika flag on the Moon. But that really did happen. The space programme that sent the first people to the Moon was the Nazi space programme, all those scientists snatched up in Operation Paperclip, effortlessly swapping Hitler for Washington. Watch the dialectic at work, preserving what it negates, proceeding as always by its bad side. It’s not that the Nazis are another example of Benjamin’s defeated of history; how could they be, when putting a swastika on the cover is still the best way to sell a book? But the litter that chokes our planet remains, all the bones remain, and one day we are promised the resurrection. This is why utopia is always melancholic, the refusal to simply mourn, the tight grip of the living to the dead.
* Miracles and wonders: Controlling diabetes with a skin patch.
* STEMJ: Researchers have long noticed that an oddly large number of jihadists have engineering backgrounds. Recently two social scientists, Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog, scrutinized the numbers and concluded that, yes, the proportion of terrorists who are engineers far outpaces expectations.
* Elsewhere on the terrorism and statistics beat: American Mormon, 19, left with burns and shrapnel injuries in Brussels attack also survived Boston and Paris bombings.
* I guess the Singularity really is near: Microsoft’s ‘teen girl’ AI turns into a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours.
* The latest in the letting-the-superintelligent-AI-out-of-the-box subgenere: ANA.
* And, from the archives, some change we can all believe in: Abolish Caillou.
* I want to complain to the studio execs who commissioned the current season of “21st century”; your show is broken.
* But maybe a big reboot is coming! Astronomers may have found giant alien ‘megastructures’ orbiting star near the Milky Way.
* Another potential redirection for the series: Women who sniff this Hawaiian mushroom have spontaneous orgasms.
* Potentially major finding: Huntington’s disease protein controls movement of precious cargo inside cells, study finds.
* Speaking my language: A strong El Niño may mean a warmer, drier winter in southern Wisconsin.
* You can time travel with Marquette another way, too: here’s a sneak preview of our Spring 2016 course offerings.
* First-year composition, in other words, is more than a course in grammar and rhetoric. Beyond these, it is a course in ethical communication, offering students opportunities to learn and practice the moral and intellectual virtues that Aristotle identified in his Nicomachean Ethics as the foundation for a good life. And that’s why America is such a paradise today.
By the same token, I know that an emphasis under a major has the same student-learning outcomes as the parent major, so I can create a new program without expanding the number of assessment reports that I have to do. This just means that a major is basically a magical bag of holding for emphases: I can fit as many emphases as I want inside a major without becoming encumbered by more paperwork!
* Die Hard was the gold standard of unprequelizable films. Kudos to all involved in this important project.
* Wayne Simmons, a regular Fox News commentator who claimed to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost three decades, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly fabricating his agency experience.
* Žižek, social reformist: The lesson here is that the truly subversive thing is not to insist on ‘infinite’ demands we know those in power cannot fulfil. Since they know that we know it, such an ‘infinitely demanding’ attitude presents no problem for those in power: ‘So wonderful that, with your critical demands, you remind us what kind of world we would all like to live in. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where we have to make do with what is possible.’ The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can’t be met with the same excuse.
* I’m so glad this turned out to be the case: Standing Desks Are Mostly Bullshit.
* Just don’t tell Shia: FX is turning Y: The Last Man into a TV series.
* And teach the controversy: Your Favorite Band Sucks.
* 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.
* 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.
* The New York Times ran the Duke story—a story about the internal politics of an English department—on its front page.
* 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.
* Rise of the Gender Novel: Too often, trans characters are written as tortured heroes. We’re more complex than that.
* 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.
* You had me at fully automated luxury communism (FALC).
* And because you demanded it! Sam Jones Says New Flash Gordon Is A Sequel.