Posts Tagged ‘magic’
* “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.'”
* “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.
* 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.
* 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.'”
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* Atlas Obscura: The Land of Make Believe.
* 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.
* 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.
* Huge, if true: Ongoing Weakness in the Academic Job Market for Humanities.
* Apparent murder of a professor follows a day of terror on campus and reflects a kind of violence that is rare but feared. Hundreds gather to honor slain UCLA professor. Police Say UCLA Shooter Mainak Sarkar Also Killed Woman in Minnesota.
* “I don’t think anybody had figured out how to win when we got in,” said senior strategist Tad Devine. “It was ‘How do we become credible?’ ”
* Interesting trial ballon: Reid reviews scenarios for filling Senate seat if Warren is VP pick.
* Miracles and wonders: Stanford researchers ‘stunned’ by stem cell experiment that helped stroke patient walk.
* These findings are very preliminary, but they support a decades-old (and unfortunately named) idea called the hygiene hypothesis. In order to develop properly, the hypothesis holds — to avoid the hyper-reactive tendencies that underlie autoimmune and allergic disease — the immune system needs a certain type of stimulation early in life. It needs an education.
* In the scope of the scheming, corruption, and illegality from this interim government, Temer’s law-breaking is not the most severe offense. But it potently symbolizes the anti-democratic scam that Brazilian elites have attempted to perpetrate. In the name of corruption, they have removed the country’s democratically elected leader and replaced her with someone who — though not legally barred from being installed — is now barred for eight years from running for the office he wants to occupy.
* Claypool: Without State Funding Chicago Public Schools Won’t Open in Fall. Total system failure.
* Huge, if true: Game of Thrones’ Dany/Dothraki storyline doesn’t make any sense. Is Dany the villain? But the real villain is the one you never see coming: Game Of Thrones Season Seven May Be Seven Episodes Long.
* The media have reached a turning point in covering Donald Trump. He may not survive it. Why Trump Was Inevitable. Why Donald Trump Is Flailing. Why Trump Will Lose. Donald Trump Does Not Have a Campaign. Why Trump Is Losing. Clinton’s case.
* Alas, Babylon: David French won’t run.
* In a panic, they try to pull the plug: A bug in Elite Dangerous caused the game’s AI to create super weapons and start to hunt down the game’s players. It’s hard not to think Skynet won’t view this as a provocation.
Also unbelievable is that someone would purchase a used, $30 freezer without opening it first.
Sometimes only minutes after the gunshots end, a computer system takes a victim’s name and displays any arrests and gang ties — as well as whether the victim has a rating on the department’s list of people most likely to shoot someone or be shot.
Police officials say most shootings involve a relatively small group of people with the worst ratings on the list. The police and social service workers have been going to some of their homes to warn that the authorities are watching them and offer job training and educational assistance as a way out of gangs.
Of the 64 people shot over the weekend, 50 of them, or 78 percent, are included on the department’s list. At least seven of the people shot over the weekend have been shot before.
For one man, only 23 years old, it is his third time being shot.
* Louis on Maron convinced me to finally buy Horace and Pete. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus half of the episode is great too.
* Well, this seems questionable at best: Catholic Church spent $2M on major N.Y. lobbying firms to block child-sex law reform.
* Science finally proves I was right all along: it’s better to be right than happy.
* In praise of the punctuation mark I abuse more than any other: the dash.
* A New Hope, as it was always meant to be experienced: as infographic.
* Really, actually ideology at its purest: ‘There is a future for Harambe’: Cincinnati zoo reveal sperm was removed from gorilla who was shot dead so he could still become a father.
* Modern zoos represent a worldview that no longer puts humanity at the top of a ladder of existence, but now in the middle of a web of life, distinguished mostly by our power to destroy or enhance the world around us.
* If Osama bin Laden had not existed, the United States would have had to invent him. Although William V. Spanos never quite puts it that way, this claim nevertheless encapsulates one of the fundamental insights of Redeemer Nation in the Interregnum: An Untimely Meditation on the American Vocation — namely, that American exceptionalism entails a dense knotting together of the vitality of the nation and targeted killing. The very being of America as a more-than-merely-national nation hinges on its capacity to obliterate its enemies in the most spectacular fashion, while simultaneously arrogating the life-force or resources of its enemies for itself.
* I’m trying not to get tired of saying this, but just try to imagine what the reaction would be if Hillary Clinton came out to defend herself against some perfectly reasonable questions, and said “The press should be ashamed of themselves” or pointed to a reporter and said, “You’re a sleaze.” She wouldn’t be criticized or questioned, she’d be crucified. Reporters would ask if she had lost her mind and was having a nervous breakdown. There would be demands for her to pull out of the race immediately, since she had shown herself to be so unstable.
* Applications for TFA’s two-year teaching stints have plummeted 35 percent during the past three years, forcing the organization to reexamine and reinvent how it sells itself to prospective corps members. It has been focusing particularly on how to engage students at the nation’s most-selective colleges, where the decline in interest has been among the steepest. The improving economy probably has far more to do with this than any anti-TFA publicity campaign.
* The idea that young workers should cut their teeth by working long hours for low pay, or even for free, is the result of employers holding all the cards in the economy. It’s the same phenomenon that lets businesses get away with lax safety standards, unpredictable schedules, and offering scant benefits. By making it harder for employers to demand extra hours as part of the job, the overtime rule is an important tool to shift the balance of power towards working people.
* But the future has always been several: how could it be otherwise, when it hasn’t happened yet? The millennial or apocalyptic future, the future that abolishes time itself, is not the same as the prophetic future of a possible or desired outcome, which is not the same as speculative future of science fiction, which is not the same as the future envisaged by a calendar or a to-do list, which is not the same as the future of the high-yield bond, which is not the same as the future which will involve you reading the next sentence, or deciding not to. But what all these have in common with the phenomenological future – the one involved in the direct sensation of time passing, the thing that draws further out of reach the closer you get to it – is their slipperiness. Futures can never be touched or experienced, only imagined; this is why they’re as diverse as the human psyche, and why they tend to be so dreamlike: at turns ludic, libidinal, or monstrous.
* At thirteen, a neglectful foster system tore me from the only woman I ever wanted to call “Mom.” Decades later I tracked her down and finally got my happy ending.
* After a Life of Punches, Ex-N.H.L. Enforcer Is a Threat to Himself: Stephen Peat has symptoms — memory loss and headaches — often associated with C.T.E., a brain disease linked to head trauma.
* Of course you haven’t read Canavan until you’ve read him in the original French.
* In the chit-chat of the checkup, as I lay back in the chair with the suction tube in my mouth, he asked: “What are you majoring in at college?” When I replied that I was majoring in philosophy, he said: “What are you going to do with that?” “Think,” I replied.
* I think you’ll find every possible jaundiced, post-academic riff on this story has already been made: French woman aged 91 gets PhD after 30 years.
* How to steal a nomination from Donald Trump. The Pre-Convention. There is no point in even having a party apparatus, no point in all those chairmen and state conventions and delegate rosters, if they cannot be mobilized to prevent 35 percent of the Republican primary electorate from imposing a Trump nomination on the party. I can’t be contrarian about Donald Trump anymore: he’s terrifying.
* I do agree that presidential term limits make little sense, though my solution would be to abolish the office entirely.
* Teach the controversy: Richard Simmons May or May Not Be Currently Held Hostage by His Maid.
* Chris Claremont visits Jay and Miles X-plain the X-Men.
* Paging Lt. Barclay: Science proves the transporter is a suicide box.
* And because you demanded it: What if James Bond Was a Chimpanzee?
* It’s basically become a standing assignment at the Marquette Tribune to ask me about some weird thing I like once a semester. And while we’re on that subject: a preview of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther.
* Hard times at Mizzou. This new enrollment decline — seemingly on top of the demographic dip nationwide — looks like a complete disaster for the troubled campus, which the administration has effortlessly managed to weaponize in pursuit of its own goals. Meanwhile: Melissa Click Breaks Silence, Backs AAUP Inquiry.
* Alternate title: Bernie Sanders has no path to a delegate majority. Even so, that Michigan win was pretty great.
* Even the neoliberal Matt Yglesias: How Bernie Sanders convinced me about free college.
* Dystopia now: United confirms 10-abreast seating on some of its 777s.
* …just another instance of the bipartisan “smell weakness, then mercilessly swarm” routine that everyone has apparently decided is a healthy and beneficial norm for online life.
* At Secretive Meeting, Tech CEOs And Top Republicans Commiserate, Plot To Stop Trump. It’s Getting Harder For Donald Trump To Deny That His Top Aide Assaulted A Reporter. Donald Trump Encourages Violence At His Rallies. His Fans Are Listening. Legitimacy and violence. The plan.
* The arc of history is long, but Home Depot might pay up to $0.34 in compensation for each of the 53 million credit cards it leaked.
* 100% absolutely yes: Janelle Monae Will Co-Star in a Movie About the Women Behind the Space Program.
* As a result, the complaint stated, Choudhry was disciplined with a 10 percent reduction in salary for one year and required to write a letter of apology to Sorrell. Sorrell alleged in the lawsuit that she was told by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele that he had “seriously considered terminating the Dean” but had decided not to because “it would ruin the Dean’s career.” Berkeley’s handling of sexual harassment is a disgrace.
* Sleep is important, apparently. I know I miss it.
* And this is very promising: Huntington’s disease gene dispensable in adult mice.
* Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Sara Goldrick-Rab, the outspoken University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who vowed after tenure protections were changed by state lawmakers last year to leave Wisconsin, announced on her blog Monday night that she has accepted a job at Temple University and will start July 1.
* No other discipline of comparable size in the humanities is as gender-skewed as philosophy. Women still receive only about 28% of philosophy PhDs in the United States, and are still only about 20% of full professors of philosophy — numbers that have hardly budged since the 1990s. And among U.S. citizens and permanent residents receiving philosophy PhDs in this country, 86% are non-Hispanic white. The only comparably-sized disciplines that are more white are the ones that explicitly focus on the European tradition, such as English literature.
* Northwestern University students who qualify for financial aid no longer will have to borrow to pay for their education, part of a plan announced Thursday to make the school more affordable and prevent students from being saddled with debilitating debt.
* My deep wound is video games. In the same way Bell “pretended to be someone else whenever [he] stepped outside of the house” and learned “to never talk about computer games in class or on the school bus,” I learned that my love for video games was excessive and embarrassing. I was swept away by those worlds in a way that nobody else seemed to be, and I walked around with my head full of pixels and quests and ideas. Video games made me very happy and very lonely.
* Case Western in the ne– oh.
This isn’t the first time that an idea in psychology has been challenged—-not by a long shot. A “reproducibility crisis” in psychology, and in many other fields, has now been well-established. A study out last summer tried to replicate 100 psychology experiments one-for-one and found that just 40 percent of those replications were successful. A critique of that study just appeared last week, claiming that the original authors made statistical errors—but that critique has itself been attacked for misconstruing facts, ignoring evidence, and indulging in some wishful thinking.
* Marquette in the — oh come on.
* “Some supporters of Rubio say bad strategy, poorly run campaign killing his chances.” What do the rest of them think is killing his chances?
* Actually existing media bias: The Washington Post ran 16 negative stories about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours. Going for the record!
* We want dead bodies to be in the right place. Caring for the dead is a foundational human activity, and so the wrong dead body in the wrong place, or bodies abandoned or desecrated, is considered an affront to the moral order. Why We Need the Dead.
* This is for you: an oral history of The Golden Girls.
* Rise of the hiking game: The Witness and Firewatch.
* What could go wrong? U.S. military spending millions to make cyborgs a reality.
* And I don’t know about the other two law, but the third law of politics here is pretty much literally the predicament academia and most other public institutions find themselves in in 2016:
The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.