Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Man of Steel

Sunday Morning Links!

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As Marquette’s faculty gathers in the basement of the Bradley Center for commencement, some links…

* I have sat in philosophy seminars where it was asserted that I should be left to die on a desert island if the choice was between saving me and saving an arbitrary non-disabled person. I have been told it would be wrong for me to have my biological children because of my disability. I have been told that, while it isn’t bad for me to exist, it would’ve been better if my mother could’ve had a non-disabled child instead. I’ve even been told that it would’ve been better, had she known, for my mother to have an abortion and try again in hopes of conceiving a non-disabled child. I have been told that it is obvious that my life is less valuable when compared to the lives of arbitrary non-disabled people. And these things weren’t said as the conclusions of careful, extended argument. They were casual assertions. They were the kind of thing you skip over without pause because it’s the uncontroversial part of your talk.

* There’s tons of great stuff in issue 17 of Jacobin, from the Peter Frase editorial on automation to a call to democratize the universe to ruminations on edutopia and the smartphone society.

Mad Max: Fury Road Is the Feminist Action Flick You’ve Been Waiting For. 3 Brief Points on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Alastair Reynolds Says What It’ll Take To Colonize Other Planets.

University of Wisconsin flunks the financial transparency test.

* Juxtaposition watch: Maryland governor vetoes $11 million for schools, approves $30 million for jails.

The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit.

Hillary Clinton personally took money from companies that sought to influence her. The next couple years are going to be a bottomless exercise in humiliation for Democrats.

People Who Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning Are The Best Americans.

* History is a nightmare for which I’m trying to hit the snooze: NJ Republican Introduces Resolution Condemning ‘Negative’ AP History Exam.

City leaders approve plan for National Slave Ship Museum.

“Do something that will force reviewers compare this movie favorably to the ending of Man of Steelwhether they want to or not.”

Let the Kids Learn Through Play.

Why Are Palo Alto’s Kids Killing Themselves?

There is no f*cking way that you can hack a plane’s engines from the in-flight TVs. I won’t accept it.

* “He was released on $30,000 bond to home confinement after the agreement was made and faces between 0 and 5 years in federal prison, along with a possible fine of up to $250,000.”

* I also won’t accept that Someone Did a Shit So Bad On a British Airways Plane That It Had to Turn Around and Come Back Again.

* “DesJarlais, a former physician, voted for the ban despite allegedly pressuring his mistress and ex-wife to get abortions.”

When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?

If Catch-22 appeared a few years before Americans were ready to read it, Something Happened jumped the gun by decades, and the novel was already forgotten when its comically bleak take on upper-middle-class life became a staple of fiction.

Jurors In The Boston Bombing Case Had To Agree To Consider The Death Penalty Before Being Selected. This is a very strange requirement of the law that seems to strongly interfere with the “jury of your peers” ideal.

How a police department tried to save a failing Rust Belt town by luring all the local drug dealers to one party.

* Deleted scene from Infinite Jest. So bizarre.

* Dibs on the young-adult dystopia: Teenagers who show too much leg face being sent into an “isolation room” for breaching the new uniform code.

New Zealand Legally Recognises Animals as ‘Sentient’ Beings.

Schools are failing boys because lessons have become “feminised”, says a leading academic who wants to see outdoor adventure given greater emphasis in the curriculum. That’ll solve it!

What Even Can You Even Say About The Princess-Man of North Sudan?

What Would You Do If You Could Censor Your Past? A Visit to the UK’s Secret Archives.

The Ecotourism Industry Is Saving Tanzania’s Animals and Threatening Its Indigenous People.

* “On the occasion of David Letterman’s retirement after 33 years of hosting a late-night talk show, Jason Snell presents his take on Letterman’s significance, told with the help of a few friends.”

* Friends, they may call it a movement.

* And I’ll see you again in twenty-five days.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 17, 2015 at 8:45 am

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Sunday Morning Links!

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* One might, it’s true, wonder how cultural capital has survived the last half century’s apotheosis of pop, the rollback of the old patrician-bourgeois culture of the West, postmodernism’s putative muddling of low and high. But the sociologists have gone and checked, and the answers are not hard to find: Fancy people are now more likely to consume culture indiscriminately, that is, to congratulate themselves on the expansiveness of their tastes; indistinction has become distinction. They are more likely to prefer foreign culture to their own, at least in some who-wants-takeout? kind of way. And they are more likely to enjoy culture analytically and ironically, belligerently positing a naïve consumer whose imagined immersion in the object will set off everything in their own approach that is suavely arms-length and slaunchwise. Such, point for point, is the ethos of the new-model English department: of cultural studies, new media, the expanded canon, of theory-courses-without-objects. To bring new types of artifacts into literature departments is not to destroy cultural capital. It is merely to allow new things to start functioning as wealth. Even here, the claim to novelty can be overstated, since it is enough to read Bourdieu to know that the claim to interpret and demystify has always been an especially heady form of symbolic power. The ingenious reading confers distinction, as do sundry bids to fix the meanings of the social. Critical theory is cultural capital. Citing Judith Butler is one of the ways in which professional people outside the academy understand and justify their own elevation. Bickering recreationally about the politics of zombie movies is just what lawyers and engineers now do.

* The Kindle edition of The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson is (still) on sale for $1.99. Here’s the LARoB review!

* Meanwhile, LARoB also reviews Paradoxa 26, which has my essay on Snowpiercer in it.

* Extrapolation 56.1 is now available.

Sherryl Vint, “Skin Deep: Alienation in Under the Skin
Isiah Lavender, “Reframing Heart of Darkness as Science Fiction”
Sharon DeGraw, “Tobias S. Buckell’s Galactic Caribbean Future”
Karen May and David Upton, “‘Ser Piggy’: Identifying an Intertextual Relationship between William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones
Lee Braver, “Coin-Operated Doors and God: A Gnostic Reading of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik”

Nepal After the Earthquake.

* Baltimore after Freddie Gray.

* The good inequality. Policy debate in the age of neoliberalism.

* Gene Wolfe, sci-fi’s difficult genius.

* The slow apocalypse and fiction.

* Can you fix the NBA draft?

In the meantime, we will all have to cope with the fact that education technology has just become weaponized. Arizona State is now the first predator university. They are willing to re-define what education is so that they can get more students from anywhere. If they don’t kill other universities by taking all their students with a cheap freshmen year, they’ll just steal their fish food by underselling 25% of the education that those schools provide and leaving them a quarter malnourished. The result is that schools which stick to reasonable standards with respect to the frequency and possibility of teacher/student interaction now have to fear for their very existence.

Contingency and Gender.

The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education.’

The obvious corollary is that, in order to stem the tide of tuition increases, we should seek to stabilize or increase state funding and curb the power of administrators.

Why They Hate Cornel West.

* I’m seeing it mostly mocked and dismissed, but I think the Columbia case (K.C. Johnson summary at Minding the Campus) will be important flashpoint in Title IX law. My sense is that the wind on this is really changing strongly against the feminist left; we’re going to see many of the received truths of campus anti-rape policies coming under serious challenge. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to require some unpleasant reconsideration of the way we talk about this issue.

New Simulation Shows How The Pacific Islands May Have Been Colonized.

Incredibly, the percentage of parents throughout the state who engaged in the civil disobedience of refusing the test for their kids is higher than the 15 percent of eligible voters who cast a ballot for Andrew Cuomo in the low-turnout election last year.

* All of the juniors at Nathan Hale High School refused to show up for state testing this week.

* Against the creative economy.

* What if Man of Steel was in color?

* Gasp! The Apple Watch May Have a Human Rights Problem.

Microsoft Word Spells the Names of Game of Thrones Characters Better Than You Can.

Nine Months After He Filmed Eric Garner’s Killing, the Cops Are Trying to Put Ramsey Orta Behind Bars.

“We must disband the police: Body cameras aren’t enough — only radical change will stop cops who kill.”

* Meanwhile.

* Yes please: Telltale is making some kind of Marvel game.

The Feds Say One Schmuck Trading From His Parents’ House Caused a Market Crash. Here’s the Problem.

* See, Dad? I knew you could survive on girl scout cookies.

* There’s always money in the banana stand: The Fed’s Cold War Bunker Had $4 Billion Cash For After The Apocalypse.

* Won’t you give? What you can? Today? Poetry is going extinct, government data show.

* I believe any crazy story with China in the headline. That’s my policy.

* Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.

It’s Time To Stop Treating Childhood as a Disease.

* And you thought The Dark Knight Strikes Back was bad.

Thursday Links!

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* Gasp! The MOOC ‘Revolution’ May Not Be as Disruptive as Some Had Imagined.

* Scenes from the class struggle in New York: CUNY and SUNY bigs get chauffeurs as tuition soars.

The job skills employers crave!!!

In other words, it may be that cheating rates are so high because too many university curriculums and courses are designed for cheating. Indeed, I’ve often felt that one of the principal skills—and it is a skill—imparted by the American educational system is the ability to bullshit your way through assessment with minimal effort.

Dolphins can recognize whistles from old tank mates from over 20 years ago, study finds.

* Man charged with stealing “entire road.”

* The faces of Manhattan Project.

Being Unemployed For Over Nine Months Is The Same As Losing Four Years Of Experience.

Most 2013 job growth is in part-time work, survey suggests.

NIH Reaches Pact With Family of Henrietta Lacks.

* Brutal review of DC’s missteps since the Nu52 debacle.

* “You think this is gonna be for kids? Stop, stop. We don’t publish comics for kids. We publish comics for 45-year olds. If you want to do comics for kids, you can do Scooby-Doo.”

* Just about the only thing that could get me excited about Man of Steel 2Bryan Cranston Tapped to Play Lex Luthor?

* Monsters are real: Louisiana parish claims incarcerated 14-year-old consented to be raped by a corrections officer.

* And I am just completely horrified every time I come across statistics on Greece’s economy. Jesus.

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Friday Night Links

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* I’ve been so busy with the move I haven’t even had time to put up a James Gandolfini RIP post. I was really surprised, and bummed out, by this news. Goddamnit, I loved that show.

I know a lot of die hard fans of the original are pissed off, but JJ’s managed to make a totally cool, totally new movie that’s totally true to the spirit of the original: J.J. Abrams reboots The Godfather (2019).

* I have to admit I was somewhat pleased to see myself quoted in this end-of-the-world piece in Jacobin. And as an optimist, no less!

By the latter end of the 21st century, Miami became something else entirely: a popular snorkeling spot where people could swim with sharks and sea turtles and explore the wreckage of a great American city.

Is Obama About to Get Serious on Climate Change? Oh, honey.

* Now China, on the other hand…

China has introduced “harsher punishments” for breaking the nation’s environmental protection laws: reckless violators of pollution standards in the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economy now face execution.

“With regard to the student-athlete,” wrote a senior NCAA executive in an email, “I think the focus on exploitation may be misplaced, and maybe it is not our duty to protect the student-athlete.” Preach! What have student-athletes ever done for the NCAA?

All 185 Choose Your Own Adventure Books Ranked From Most to Least Awesome-Sounding. All-Time Gerry Canavan Maximum Nightmare Fodder Space Vampire clocks in at #4.

Welcome to the Ph.D. Placement Project.

A map showing the original meanings of place names in North America. More links below the image.

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The Government Files Espionage Charges Against Edward Snowden. Naomi Wolf has the conspiracy behind the conspiracy. And that’s exactly what they WANT us to think!

* TNI on Total Information Awareness.

* Jedediah Purdy: Seven Ways of Looking at a Charge Sheet: or, My First Arrest.

Do Unpaid Internships Lead to Jobs? Not for College Students.

The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.

It’s long been suspected that ratings agencies lie Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it.

* Science fiction studies CFP: A group of scholars from Deakin University, Melbourne is setting up the forum entitled Deletion and is calling for both papers and creative pieces.

Official casting call reveals the characters in Star Wars: Episode VII.

* How to Use Math to Dominate at Monopoly. I’m somewhat pleased with how much of this my brother and I generated on our own as kids.

Deep anxiety about the ability to have children later in life plagues many women. But the decline in fertility over the course of a woman’s 30s has been oversold. Here’s what the statistics really tell us—and what they don’t.

* Man of Steel easter egg setting up the sequel? This reminds me a bit of the script flub that launched a thousand Deckard-is-a-replicant fan theories. And it would be — gasp — a new story.

* And io9 says the general mediocrity and total obvious superfluousness of Monsters University marks the end of the Golden Age of Pixar. We mourn.

Tuesday Morning!

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The most important finding is that family formation negatively affects women’s, but not men’s, academic careers. For men, having children is a career advantage; for women, it is a career killer. And women who do advance through the faculty ranks do so at a high price. They are far less likely to be married with children. We see more women in visible positions like presidents of Ivy League colleges, but we also see many more women who are married with children working in the growing base of part-time and adjunct faculty, the “second tier,” which is now the fastest growing sector of academia. Unfortunately, more women Ph.Ds. has meant more cheap labor. And this cheap labor threatens to displace the venerable tenure track system.

N.Y.U. Gives Its Stars Loans for Summer Homes.

The US government has finally released the names of 46 men being held in Guantánamo under the classification of “indefinite detainees” – terror suspects deemed too dangerous to release or move yet impossible to try in a civilian or even military court for reasons of inadequate or tainted evidence.

Bank of America whistle-blower’s bombshell: “We were told to lie.” Gasp!

* SCOTUSwatch: Win one, lose one.

The lasting effects of the Vietnam draft lottery.

Vulnerability to the draft induced by the 1969 lottery not only structured attitudes toward the Vietnam War, but also provoked a cascade of changes in basic partisan, ideological, and issue attitudes. The breadth, magnitude, and, in some respects, persistence of these attitudinal changes illustrates how powerful self-interest can become when public policies directly touch our lives.

It seems to suggest how fundamentally arbitrary political attitudes are, however much we think we’re thinking things through rationally and proceeding by careful analysis of the facts.

* Science proves the humanities aren’t worthless!

* I thought Evan’s writeup on Mad Men was really great this week. Almost makes this season’s excruciating focus on Don’s mother issues seem interesting.

* Jesus wept: Vice re-creates female authors’ suicides for maximum trolling. Don’t even bother clicking, it’s absolutely as dumb as advertised.

* And just how much damage did Superman and Zod do to Metropolis?

Friday Night Links

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* Thickness of the ice sheets at various locations 21,000 years ago compared with modern skylines.

* Ian Bogost has a great piece on MOOCs in an otherwise totally skippable LARoB feature on the subject.

MOOCs are a financial policy for higher education. They exemplify what Naomi Klein has called “disaster capitalism”: policy guilefully initiated in the wake of upheaval.  The need to teach more students with fewer resources is a complex situation. It’s partly caused by hubris, especially the blind search for higher institutional status through research programs, and it’s exacerbated by the tax base crises of the ongoing and seemingly permanent Great Recession. MOOCs offer the next logical step in this process of “cost containment.” But those who would call current funding models “unviable” and offer MOOCs as a convenient alternative fail to admit that the very need for an alternative presumes that we want to abandon public education in favor of a corporate-owned infrastructure in the first place.

MOOCs are an academic labor policy. As a consequence of the financial policy just described, MOOCs are amplifying the precarity long experienced by adjuncts and graduate student assistants, and helping to extend that precarity to the professoriate. MOOCs encourage an ad-hoc “freelancing” work regime among tenured faculty, many of whom will find the financial incentives for MOOC creation and deployment difficult to resist. This is particularly true of public institution faculty who have gone years without raises. Many institutions offer tens of thousands of dollars of direct compensation for MOOC development and teaching. And, in some cases, MOOCs offer direct access to student tuition and direct competition among faculty for those new resources, extending the “entrepreneurial” institutional politics of professional schools (and corporate life more generally) to all disciplines.

MOOCs are speculative financial instruments. The purpose of an educational institution is to educate, but the purpose of a startup is to convert itself into a financial instrument.The two major MOOC providers, Udacity and Coursera, are venture capital-funded startups, and therefore they are beholden to high leverage, rapid growth with an interest in a fast flip to a larger technology company or the financial market. The concepts of “disruption” and “innovation,” so commonly applied to MOOCs, come from the world of business. As for EdX, the MOOC consortium started by Harvard and MIT, it’s a non-profit operating under the logic of speculation rather than as a public service. If anything, it will help the for-profits succeed even more by evangelizing their vision as compatible with elite non-profit educational ideals.

It is telling that elite professors and universities who design MOOCs aren’t using them for their own students. Those of us who value education and its role in fostering both literacy and democracy should pass on them too.

* Patton Oswalt: A Closed Letter to Myself about Thievery, Heckling, and Rape Jokes.

* Sarah Kendzior vs. the prestige economy. Good interview.

* Obama wants you to believe he’s really truly going to get serious about the climate next month. Really! Meanwhile, they’ve found another methane time bomb in the permafrost.

There are nearly six times as many showings of Man Of Steel alone as there are of all the films about women put together.

The Seinfeld theme slowed down by 1,200 percent is horrifying.

* High-ranking SS commander found living in Minnesota.

* John Oliver really is a much better host of the Daily Show than Stewart’s been since the Bush years.

The investigation was ongoing, but Undersheriff James Szczesniak said there was no evidence yet that Martino “had any ill intent.” There could be a dozen perfectly legitimate reasons why he’d have 30 to 40 pipe bombs in his apartment.

 Transgender People Can Now Change Their Social Security Record’s Gender Identity.

What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? The answer will totally not surprise you!

* And the time has come at last to raid Detroit’s pensions in the name of bankers’ profits.

Wednesday Links: Cold War Modern Art, The Cutest Kitties, and More

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* Modern art as weapon in the Cold War. And they say the humanities are worthless!

Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.

We can’t buy this kind of motivation from the market. No tool or program can spark it. And the elites at the top of the current educational heap—who advanced their careers while the educational culture declined—have no clue.

* Judge rules that Fox Searchlight should have paid its interns. Fox today, literally every other media and publishing outfit in the country tomorrow…

* A judge responded to an assault victim by demanding sex in exchange for ‘legal favors’ in her divorce. She filed a complaint, and he sent cops to plant meth in her car. It’s the most atrocious abuse of power since this other story that was also published today.

400248_549785844060_145900243_31161285_715128554_n-1* Imagining a Balkanized US.

* Former White House Chief of Staff mulling run for Illinois governor on bleed-the-teachers platform. You know, for the children.

* Meanwhile, from our governor: Scott Walker Endorses Mandating Transvaginal Ultrasounds And Shutting Down Abortion Clinics.

* Chinese century watch: Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal.

Massive ‘derecho’ storm poised to strike southern Wisconsin.

Pipe break at Oak Ridge nuclear weapons plant kills 8,000 small fish.

* Man of Steel sounds pretty middling, alas. And no after-credits sequence? Outrageous.

* And Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal simplifies the Voight-Kampff test.

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