Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Mars

Tuesday Night Links!

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* In case you missed it, last night I put up my syllabi for the fall, on J.R.R. Tolkien and American Literature after the American Century.

* Mark your calendars, East Coasters: Jaimee Hills reads from her award-winning book How to Avoid Speaking at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC on October 26. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that preorders are available now at Amazon and Waywiser Press.

* The world’s most popular academic article: “Fuck Nuance.”

That is the kudzu of nuance. It makes us shy away from the riskier aspects of abstraction and theory-building generally, especially if it is the rst and most frequent response we hear. Instead of pushing some abstraction or argument along for a while to see where it goes, there is a tendency to start hedging theory with particulars. People complain that you’re leaving some level or dimension out, and tell you to bring it back in. Crucially, “accounting for”, “addressing”, or “dealing” with the missing item is an unconstrained process. at is, the question is not how a theory can handle this or that issue internally, but rather the suggestion to expand it with this new term or terms. Class, Institutions, Emotions, Structure, Culture, Interaction—all of them are taken generically to “matter”, and you must acknowledge that they matter by incorporating them. Incorporation is the reintroduction of particularizing elements, even though those particulars were what you had to throw away in order to make your concept a theoretically useful abstraction in the first place.

See also: nuance trolling as academic filibuster.

* More ACLA CFPs: Utopia Renewed: Locating a New Utopian Praxis. Innovation, Creativity, and Capitalist Culture.

* Trying to figure out what percentage of instructors are adjuncts is the world’s most dangerous game.

But Thrun and other MOOC founders seem less than concerned about living up to their earlier, lofty rhetoric or continuing that tradition of bringing education to an underserved population. True, they haven’t entirely abandoned their rhetoric about equal access to educational opportunities. But they’ve shifted to what’s becoming a more familiar Silicon Valley narrative about the future of employability: a cheap and precarious labor force. That’s the unfortunate reality of “Uber for Education.”

* Artisanal college. Cruelty free, cage free, farm-fresh.

Aggrieved students find books dangerous; neoliberal administrators say they’re useless. I’d take the former any day.

From Corporate Leader to Flagship President?

Reform Higher Ed? Treat Badmin Like Bankers.

Literary magazines for socialists funded by the CIA, ranked.

* The strategic value of summer.

* Forty years of Born to Run. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

* Fun Home at Duke: 1, 2.

* Meanwhile, in today’s exciting new anti-academic moral panic: UNC’s The Literature of 9/11.

As Murray Pomerance points out, plagiarism is a form of theft, and we don’t steal our own work. On the contrary, we expand its reach, and build on it, thereby making it more relevant as the contexts that produce it change.

UT Knoxville encourages students to use ‘gender-neutral pronouns.’ Washington State University disavows syllabus with ban on certain words.

The Largest-Ever U.S. Gallery Of Jack Kirby’s Comic Art Heads To California.

* And no one talks about it: Barack Obama will leave his party in its worst shape since the Great Depression—even if Hillary wins. More here. I’m an outlier on the progressive side of the fence insofar as I think Clinton might really have to pull out of the race over the emails — so it’s even worse than it seems.

* The cartoon bodies of Mad Max: Fury Road.

How Many Men Did The Golden Girls Sleep With, Exactly?

* The FBI’s surveillance of Ray Bradbury. And the Sad Puppies.

Cold Opening: The Publicity Campaign for Go Set a Watchman.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina serves as a reminder that resilience is a function of the strength of a community. Gentrification’s Ground Zero: In the ten years since Katrina, New Orleans has been remade into a neoliberal playground for young entrepreneurs. The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover.

* Incredible essay by Lili Loofbourrow on her sister’s death by suicide this summer.

* Psychology is bunk.

Žižek Says Thing.

* Against the Anthropocene.

* Whatever happened to DC Comics?

* Being Stephen Colbert.

* The free encyclopedia anyone can edit.

* Tinder as video game.

* Another Samuel Delany interview.

Janelle Monáe Vows To ‘Speak Up’ On #BlackLivesMatter.

* I love dumb stuff like this, when the corrupt screw up and lose: Business owners try to remove all voters from business district, but they forgot one college student.

Cancer cells programmed back to normal by US scientists.

British Library declines Taliban archive over terror law fears.

Upstate New York Secessionists Demand Freedom From City They Mooch Off Of.

* I told you that if there were something beyond the grave, I would contact you.

* RIP, Oliver Sacks.

* Inside Wisconsin’s Slender Man stabbing.

* I confess I am totally stunned by the Jared Fogle case. I thought I was cynical enough.

* The arc of history is long, but at least that Coach reboot has already been cancelled.

* The Racial Politics of Disney Animals.

* Mars by 2039?

* Renaming Denali.

* Why Dolphins Are Deep Thinkers.

Fall In Love with Your Job, Get Ripped Off by Your Boss. Related: workers shouldn’t work for free.

Firstborn Girls Are the Best at Life. Any Zoey could have told you that!

* The law, in its majestic equality, allows rich and poor alike not to clean up their billion-dollar toxic oil spills.

* The New Servility.

* Militarized drones are now legal in North Dakota.

Future Jails May Look and Function More Like Colleges. And, you know, vice versa…

* Never say “unfilmable”: The BBC is going to try to make a show out of The City and the City.

* Declare victory and go home to your panic room: America Has Lost The War Against Guns.

* And some things mankind was just never meant to know: See how easily a rat can wriggle up your toilet.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm

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Another Very Busy Couple of Weeks, Another Absolutely Too Long Linkpost

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* ACLA 2016: The 21st Century Novel at the Limit. Feminism and New Generations of Old Media. Aesthetic Distance in a Global Economy.

* And one for NEMLA: Women Authors from the Great War.

Special Issue CFP: Queer Female Fandom.

* You broke peer review. Yes, I mean you.

* Graduate students are employees when that’s bad for them, and students when that’s bad for them.

* Last year, Yale paid about $480 million to private equity fund managers as compensation — about $137 million in annual management fees, and another $343 million in performance fees, also known as carried interest — to manage about $8 billion, one-third of Yale’s endowment. In contrast, of the $1 billion the endowment contributed to the university’s operating budget, only $170 million was earmarked for tuition assistance, fellowships and prizes.

Why financial aid might make college more expensive.

* Scenes from the schadenfreude at UIUC.

* TurnItIn doesn’t even work.

First, Do No Harm? The Johns Hopkins System’s Toxic Legacy in Baltimore.

* SF short of the month: the found footage / time travel narrative “Timelike.” “Suicidium” is pretty good too. Both are very Black Mirror.

* Salon’s Michael Berry interviewed me and a bunch of other SF scholars recently on the greatness of Dune.

* No more fire, the water next time: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Global Warming and White Supremacy.

* Hobbes v. Snoopy.

* Science fiction and class struggle, in Jacobin.

* Precrime comes to Pennsylvania.

* Seven habits of unsuccessful grad students. Job market secrets from the English department at U. Iowa. How to avoid awkward interactions during your tenure year.

* Clinton’s ed plan poised to continue the bad disruptivation of the Obama administration. Yay!

Northwestern Football Players Cannot Form Union, NLRB Rules. Former Berkeley Football Player Sues Over Concussions. UNC-Chapel Hill Reports New Possible NCAA Violations.

* Coca-Cola and the denialists.

* Life extension and prison.

* Abandoned college campuses of Second Life.

Yes, your gadgets are ineluctably engineering your doom.

* What If Stalin Had Computers?

* The NLRB might (finally) shut down the temp economy.

On average, it’ll take four minutes for you to get to the end of this piece, and quite frankly you should be spending those four minutes asleep.

Crowdfunding Is Driving A $196 Million Board Game Renaissance.

* Sesame Street and neoliberalism, but like for real this time.

Why 35 screenwriters worked on The Flintstones movie.

Yes, We Have “No Irish Need Apply.”

* Epigenetics: Study of Holocaust survivors finds trauma passed on to children’s genes.

* Evergreen headline watch: “Michigan Fails to Keep Promise to Native Americans.”

UC Davis workers: “We exposed students to asbestos.”

* Understanding Neal Stephenson.

* The Bucks as case study for the stadium scam. Bucks affiliate the Biloxi Shuckers and their endless tour.

They had no inkling about what was really going on: Gubb was a serial fraudster who made a living by renting houses, claiming to be a tenant, then illegally subletting rooms to as many residents as he could cram in—almost always young women desperate for a piece of downtown living.

How a jerk scams a free quadruple espresso at Starbucks 365 days a year.

* US and Boeing developing a targeted EMP weapon. Looking forward to the surplus sale.

* Another car remotely hacked while driving. If a Cyberattack Causes a Car Crash, Who Is Liable?

How Much Of California’s Drought Was Caused By Climate Change?

By 2100, Earth Will Have an Entirely Different Ocean. You probably can’t undo ocean acidification even if you find a way to pull carbon out of the air.

* The climate hackers.

* The ice bucket challenge may have been a much bigger deal than you thought.

In just eight years, Pinellas County School Board members turned five schools in the county’s black neighborhoods into some of the worst in Florida.

* The bail trap.

* The end of Columbia House.

* An oral history of Six Feet Under.

* Death penalty abolition in Connecticut.

* Being Stephen Colbert.

* Happy Earth Overshoot Day.

* The new Cold War is a Corn War.

* Donald Trump and fascism. This is the moment when Donald Trump officially stopped being funny.

* Writing the second half of the Harry Potter series replacing Cedric Diggory with a Slytherin.

Banksy’s Dismaland.

* Twilight of the Bomb.

* Interactive widget: How to fudge your science.

* Science proves parenthood is a serious bummer.

How We Could Detect an Alien Apocalypse From Earth.

* Who mourns for the Washington Generals?

* Well, it makes more sense than the official story: ‘Aliens prevented nuclear war on Earth’: Former NASA astronaut makes unexpected claim.

* Is Howl the Netflix of podcasts? Watch Earwolf’s user base revolt.

* The kids today and the end of funny. The unfunny business of college humor.

Racial Bias Affects How Doctors Do Their Jobs. Here’s How To Fix It.

* Here comes Star Wars Land.

NBC chairman threatens ALF reboot if Coach reboot is successful. Just give them what they want! Pay anything!

Controlling the Narrative: Harper Lee and the Stakes of Scandal.

* Hell, with same-day delivery.

Locked in Solitary at 14: Adult Jails Isolate Youths Despite Risk.

* I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave.

Mars One Is Still Completely Full of Shit.

A Troll in the Lost City of the Dead.

In 2010, anonymous emails started popping up in the inboxes of Department of the Interior officials. The messages accuse museums across the country of failing to deal with their massive collections of Native American bones. Those remains are there illegally, the emails allege, and should be returned to the tribes to which they belong. They’re all signed “T.D. White.”

* Science proves the universe is slowly dying

* How DC has played Suicide Squad all wrong.

* The law, in its majestic equality, permits both rich and poor to sleep outside.

Dutch Artists Celebrate George Orwell’s Birthday By Putting Party Hats On Surveillance Cameras.

Ancient whistle language uses whole brain for long-distance chat.

* “We’re Fighting Killer Robots the Wrong Way.”

An early YA novel gets lost in the Freaky Friday canon.

* My dad was right! Social Security really is a Ponzi scheme.

Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study.

* Don’t bring your dogs to work.

* Today in Wikipedia hoaxes.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal continues to overthink Superman in the best possible way.

Architects are trying to raise $2.8 billion to build this city from Lord of the Rings.

You Know Who Hates Drones? Bears. They love pools though.

* Don’t say it unless you mean it.

* And we shall Truffle Shuffle no more forever.


Written by gerrycanavan

August 23, 2015 at 10:13 am

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Weekend Mega-Links, Please Use Responsibly

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In 2015, we will open applications for Tiptree Fellowships. Fellowships will be $500 per recipient and will be awarded each year to two creators who are doing work that pushes forward the Tiptree mission. We hope to create a network of Fellows who will build connections, support one another, and find collaborators.

* It’s a small exhibit, but I really liked A Whole Other World: Sub-Culture Craft at the Racine Art Museum, as well as the Consumer Couture exhibit running at the same time.

A new economics paper has some old-fashioned advice for people navigating the stresses of life: Find a spouse who is also your best friend. Hey, it worked for me!

* I went off on a little bit of a tear about dissertation embargoes and grad-school gaslighting the other day: part 1, part 2. Some “highlights”:

* Next week in DC! Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs. A Future Tense Debate.

Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine? NPR has the official odds.

What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?

Shields said these perceptions of race were the focus of his work and he aimed to deconstruct them through imagery that reflected a striking role-reversal. Not only do the individuals in this particular lynching image reflect a distinct moment or period in history, they are positioned as opposing players in a way that delivers a different message than those previously shared. This one of a cop is amazing:


19 Pop Songs Fact-Checked By Professors.

For those who didn’t go to prestigious schools, don’t come from money, and aren’t interested in sports and booze—it’s near impossible to gain access to the best paying jobs.

So, going by (17) and (18), we’re on the receiving end of a war fought for control of our societies by opposing forces that are increasingly more powerful than we are.

New Grads Can’t Really Afford To Live Anywhere, Report Finds.

Uber hard at work on effort to replace drivers with machine.

Uber: Disability Laws Don’t Apply to Us.

* The prison-industrial complex, by the numbers. Cleveland police accept DOJ rules you can’t believe they didn’t already have to follow. Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration. The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration. How to lock up fewer people. The Myth of the Hero Cop.

* Poverty, by the numbers.

* Science Fiction: For Slackers?

CGI7dHpU0AAOtHr* Presenting Matt Weiner’s wish-list for the final season of Mad Men.

How to be a fan of problematic things.

* Bernie as the official opposition. And then there’s the issue of the bench.

* A new day for the culture war, or, the kids are all right.

* Can Americans update their ideas about war?

* “I often wonder if my forefathers were as filled with disgust and anger when they thought of the people they were fighting to protect as I am.” Would you like to know more?

The Political Economy of Enrollment.

Now, the UC administration claims that the cost of instruction is greater than in-state tuition. But these claims are at best debatable and at worst simply not credible, because as Chris Newfield and Bob Samuels have shown they include research and other non-educational expenses in order to inflate the alleged instructional cost. (It’s gotten to the point that, as Samuelsobserves, the administration literally claims it costs $342,500 to educate one medical student for one year.) According to Newfield, a more reasonable estimate of the cost of instruction for undergraduates would be somewhere between 40-80 percent of the administration’s figures. Even using the higher rate, then, the administration still generates a net profit for every extra student they bring in.

LIBOR for the universities?

UW System faculty’s role in chancellor picks could be diminished. Also let’s make tenure not a thing. Also, no standards for teachers, just while we’re at it.

* Meanwhile, Wisconsin to burn $250M on famously losing basketball team.

Board of Governors discontinues 46 degree programs across UNC system.

How Poor And Minority Students Are Shortchanged By Public Universities.

How NYU squeezes billions from its students—and where that money goes.

What’s Left After Higher Education Is Dismantled.

Midcareer Melancholy: life as an associate professor.

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors.

* Academia and legitimation crisis. This situation (and distrust/abuses from both sides) is going to get worse yet.

* Parenthood (and especially motherhood) in the academy.

* The cost of an adjunct.

* On opposing capitalism on its good days, too.

This supposed opposition serves the interests of both sides, however violent their conflict may appear. Helped by their control of the means of communication, they appropriate the general interest, forcing each person to make a false choice between “the West or else Barbarism”. In so doing, they block the advent of the only global conviction that could save humanity from disaster. This conviction—which I have sometimes called the communist idea—declares that even in the movement of the break with tradition, we must work to create an egalitarian symbolisation that can guide, regulate, and form the stable subjective underpinning of the collectivisation of resources, the effective disappearance of inequalities, the recognition of differences—of equal subjective right—and, ultimately, the withering away of separate forms of authority in the manner of the state.

Ecology against Mother Nature: Slavoj Žižek on Molecular Red.

* Stunning photos of the California drought.

The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheroes Forever.

Why Are You Still Washing Your Clothes In Warm Water?

Rickrolling is sexist, racist and often transphobic in context.

Carbon Nanotubes Were An Ancient Superweapon.

Amazon rolls out free same-day delivery for Prime members.

* Breaking: The Web is not a post-racial utopia.

* Breaking: it’s all downhill from 29.

* The waning thrills of CGI.

* Horrible: DC to Begin Placing Ads on Story Pages. Even more horrible: the end of Convergence is the dumbest universal reboot yet.

* The science of awe.

The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares. Interesting, but really flattens a lot. It’s not geography that constrains kids’ futures, it’s class.

* The World Cup and prison labor. The World Cup and slavery. The World Cup and total universal corruption.

* They say Charter Cable is even worse than Time Warner. I don’t believe such a thing is possible.

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany.

U.S. Preparation Lagging to Battle Potentially Devastating EMP.

The Ethical Game: Morality in Postapocalyptic Fictions from Cormac McCarthy to Video Games.

10 bizarre baseball rules you won’t believe actually existed.

* Congrats to John Scalzi.

So you’re related to Charlemagne? You and every other living European…

Timeline of the American Transgender Movement.

* Judith Butler: I do know that some people believe that I see gender as a “choice” rather than as an essential and firmly fixed sense of self. My view is actually not that. No matter whether one feels one’s gendered and sexed reality to be firmly fixed or less so, every person should have the right to determine the legal and linguistic terms of their embodied lives. So whether one wants to be free to live out a “hard-wired” sense of sex or a more fluid sense of gender, is less important than the right to be free to live it out, without discrimination, harassment, injury, pathologization or criminalization – and with full institutional and community support. That is most important in my view.

* The PhD: wake up sheeple! Still more links after the image, believe it or not.

phd052215s* Muppet Babies and Philosophy.

* Broken clock watch: Instapundit says fire administrators to fix higher ed.

* Became self-aware, etc: campus climate surveys said to be triggering.

Penn State administrators announced Wednesday that a fraternity that maintained a well-curated secret Facebook page full of pictures of unconscious, naked women will lose its official recognition until 2018, pretty much ruining senior year.

The Proof That Centrism is Dead.

* Against consensus.

* Understanding Sad Girl Theory.

* Dialectics of union activism. I’ve been really fascinated by what’s been going on at Gawker Media.

Someone Has Done A Statistical Analysis Of Rape In Game Of Thrones.

* The arc of history is long, but that Florida community college will no longer force its students to practice transvaginal ultrasounds on each other.

* Trigger warnings, still good pedagogy, still bad administrative policy.

* A fetish is born: Porn actors must wear protective goggles during shoots.

* Ring Theory: The Hidden Artistry of the Star Wars Prequels.

* This roundtable from Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and others on sexism and comedy is pretty dynamite.

* The age of miracles: New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function.

* How to Bash Bureaucracy: Evan Kindley on David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules.

The ongoing legacy of the great satanic sex abuse panic.

* Teaching pro-tips from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

* Google Drought Truth.

Moore’s Law Keeps Going, Defying Expectations.

* The morality of robot war. Counterpoint: Killer robots will leave humans ‘utterly defenceless’ warns professor.

* Parental leave policies don’t solve capitalism. You need to solve capitalism.

* Against Mars.

The Nuclear Freeze campaign prevented an apocalypse, so can the climate movement.

* Honestly, you get used to the taste after a while.

* And at last it can be told! The real story behind the Bill Murray movie you’ve never seen.


Written by gerrycanavan

May 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm

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Sunday Links!

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* Don’t miss my flash review of The Avengers: Age of Ultron! As I say in the update, thanks to my friend Ryan Vu for priming the pump (and look for his brilliant review of Captain America 2 in a few months in SFFTV).

Why Avengers: Age of Ultron Fills This Buffy Fan With Despair. Nerd Plus Ultron: There Has to Be More to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Than Printing More Money.

* Notes on the coming DC disaster: In the early going, some in Hollywood are questioning whether Warners has acted too much in haste without having fleshed out the world on which so much hinges.

These Imaginative Worlds and Parallel Universes Will Forever Change How You Think About Africa.

2030 is set largely in the titular year, 100 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City. The initial title card establishes that 80% of the population has been evacuated due to the rising sea level as an effect of global warming.

* Great university boondoggle reporting from Freddie deBoer.

Late last week, using the hashtag #talkpay, people began tweeting about how much money they make—a radical thing to do in a culture that treats disclosing your salary as the ultimate taboo.

Dear Superprofessors: The experiment is over.

I’ve been buried in final book manuscript revisions, and have been noticing that I’m increasingly using the term “management” rather than “administration” in my analyses of university governance.  Part of the reason is that my employer, the University of California, uses Senior Management Group as a formal employment classification. But it’s also because the friendlier aspects of the term “administration” seem decreasingly part of everyday academic life. Friendliness was administration as support structure, as collaborator, as partner, as the entity that did not take orders from obnoxious egocentric faculty prima donnas the way that frontline staff often had to do, but that accepted balanced power relations  and a certain mutual respect that could make decisions move relatively quickly and equitably. It would avoid command and control of the kind that prevailed in the army and in most corporations, where executive authority consisted of direct rule over subordinates.

Pay hike at McMaster University for female faculty.

Lawmakers back away from increased course loads for UNC professors.

Fewer professors, more managers work on Cal State campuses.

* …Carey has produced a sloppy polemic, a revenge fantasy that tries to turn personal resentment and cynicism into public policy.

* Horrifying, literally unbelievable story of peer review gone awry. More here.

* Well, I guess that settles it: In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans.

Study: Climate Change Threatens One in Six Species With Extinction.

Babies born 3 miles apart in New York have a 9-year life expectancy gap. 15 Baltimore neighborhoods have lower life expectancies than North Korea.

The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Protest, 1965-1975.

Rikers Island meatloaf did have rat poison.

An Empty Stadium in Baltimore. A Brief History of Pro Sports Played in Empty Stadiums.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 18: Descending into Violence.

‘Rough Rides’ and the Challenges of Improving Police Culture.

New ACLU Cellphone App Automatically Preserves Video of Police Encounters.

The particularity of white supremacy.

* It’s hard out there for a gifted kid.

* “No one has walked on the moon in my lifetime,” I told them. “Yet you try to tell me that it’s my generation who has lost their wonder?  That it’s the young people of today who have let everything slip and fall into ruin? You don’t understand. You had the dream and the potential and the opportunities, and you messed it all up. You got hope and moon landings and that bright, glorious future. I got only the disasters.”

In some ways Ex Machina may be considered a feminist film by sheer dint of our low standards, the scarcity of stories that explore female desire beyond the realm of sex and romance.

Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Cat’s Cradle’ to Be Developed as TV Series By IM Global.

The Secret Mountain Our Spies Will Hide In When Washington Is Destroyed.

A 7-Year-Old Girl Got A New 3D-Printed Left Hand For The Wonderful Price Of $50.

This 5-year-old girl knows a lot more about presidents than you do. At this point I say put her in charge.

If you’re 33 or older, you will never listen to new music again—at least, that’s more or less what a new online study says. The study, which is based mainly on data from U.S. Spotify users, concludes that age 33 is when, on average, people stop discovering new music and begin the official march to the grave.

How Old Is Old? Centenarians Say It Starts in Your 80s; Kids Say Your 40s.

“How Does a Stand-Up Comedian Work?”

* Whiteness and the Apple Watch.

* The arc of history is long, but Cheez-Its is finally going to sell a box of just the burned ones.

* The same joke but with this Iceland law allowing anyone to murder any Basque on sight.

* “NASA has trialled an engine that would take us to Mars in 10 weeks.”

* The most racist places in America.

* Daddy, there’s a monster under the bed.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine James Cameron directing Avatar sequels, forever.

* And the same joke but with 21 Jump Street sequels.


Written by gerrycanavan

May 3, 2015 at 9:00 am

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Easter Links! Find Them All!

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* The 2015 Hugo nominees have been announced, and they’re a mess. The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political. A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year. The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide. The Biggest Little SF Publisher you never heard of declares war. “Why I Declined a Hugo Award Nomination.”

* And in response to the question “Well, what should have been nominated for a Hugo?”: “Andromache and the Dragon,” by my brilliant Marquette colleague Brittany Pladek!

* “The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany”: In portraying a horde of clones on ‘Orphan Black,’ the actress has created TV’s strangest — and most sophisticated — meditation on femininity. And a special bonus companion piece: Meet The Woman (Besides Tatiana Maslany) Who Plays Every Single “Orphan Black” Clone.

Reddit’s Bizarre, Surreal, Maddening, Hypnotic, Divisive, and Possibly Evil April Fools’ Joke. I’ve become obsessed with this.

* CFP: Ephemeral Television. CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Watching them turn off the Rothkos.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University.

Iran’s Been Two Years Away From a Nuclear Weapon for Three Decades. The Iran deal. What if the Iranians are people too?

So how much money is the NCAA making? In 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting gave the NCAA $10.8 billion for a fourteen-year broadcast monopoly on March Madness games. Estimated ad revenue for the 2013 tournament reached $1.15 billion, while ticket revenue brought in another $71.7 million. Last year no less than thirty-five coaches pulled down salaries higher than $1 million before bonuses; Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski topped the list with an income of more than $9.6 million.

Guarding against the errant, suicidal murderous pilot belongs to a category called “wicked problems” — the complexity of the system and the conflicting incentives mean that every solution introduces another set of problems, so the only way forward is always going to be an imperfect one. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that this once again reveals how, as humans, we are lousy at risk assessment, and also lousy of accepting this weakness. The problem is wicked, but its occurrence is so rare that it is almost unheard of — partly why it terrifies us so. Our imagination, biases and fears are terrible guides to what should actually be done to keep us safer, and this has significant consequences in a whole host of fields, ranging from terrorism to childcare to health-care.

So you see, people like Tim Cook are selective in their moral universalism; morality, it turns out, is universal only insofar as extends to the particular desires of a Western bourgeoisie; deny a gay couple a wedding bouquet that they could get at the florist down the street anyway, and that is a cause for outrage and concern; extract minerals using indentured Congolese servants, well, look, we’ve got marginal cost to consider! The moral argument, it turns out, curdles when exposed to the profit motive, and the universality of justice actually does end at certain borders, one way or another.

How the Slave Trade Built America.

* But unlike its predecessor, the show has no obvious narrative progression. Nacho’s important, or he’s not; the Kettlemans are half the show, or maybe we should care about Sandpiper. There are flashbacks to Jimmy’s past where Bob Odenkirk is playing either 25 or 57—a savvy criminal or a neophyte screw-up. In the lead-up to Better Call Saul, there were theories that the show would be funnier than Breaking Bad (maybe a sitcom?) or more procedural than Breaking Bad (maybe The Good Wife for bad boys?) or more episodic (like X-Files with lawyers!). None of that is true, and all of that is true. It’s interesting, but not the way great TV is interesting. Better Call Saul reminds me more of Treme or John From Cincinnati: post-masterpiece meanders. 

* In TV’s Silver Age, a logjam of shows that are ‘pretty good,’ but not great.

Here’s A Map That Shows All The Future Megacities From Science Fiction.

* Can science fiction be a form of social activism? Walidah Imarisha thinks so, and she’s recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.

* Johns Hopkins Faces $1-Billion Lawsuit Over U.S. Experiments in Guatemala.

*, blogging from seven years in the future.

* Are Aliens Behind Mysterious Radio Bursts? Scientists Weigh In.

* Calif. Governor Orders Mandatory Water Restrictions For 1st Time In History. It’s up to us to singlehandedly save california from drought by turning off the tap when we brush our teeth! California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago. California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth. R.I.P. California (1850-2016): What We’ll Lose And Learn From The World’s First Major Water Collapse. Children of the Drought.

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

* Oceans might take 1,000 years to recover from climate change, study suggests.

Drug field tests used by cops are so bad they react positively to air, soap, candy.

* Trolley Problem: The Game. Advanced Trolley Problems.

* Scott Walker’s budget cuts $5.7 million from pollution control efforts.

The Most Popular Antidepressants Are Based On A Theory We Know Is Wrong. Most antidepressant users have never had depression.

* 12 New Science Fiction Comics You Absolutely Need to be Reading.

* From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics Read More: Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics.

* Hero Price Is Right model begins the revolution by just giving away a car.

* First as an unexpectedly great show, then as I don’t know it doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.

All told, the “Detroit Industry” frescoes are probably as close as this country gets to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

* The happiness spigot.

New report says manned Mars mission could reach orbit by 2033, land by 2039.

Clarke makes her point not with stirring courtroom rhetoric or devastating legal arguments but by a process of relentless accretion, case by case, win by win. This is her cause. Because if the state cannot put these defendants to death, then how can it put anyone to death? Thirty-five executions took place in the United States in 2014 for crimes that form an inventory of human cruelty—and yet few were as willful and egregious as those committed by Judy Clarke’s clients.

Here is an example of the priorities in New York state’s budget: There is no increase in the minimum wage, but purchasers of yachts that cost more than $230,000 are exempt from the sales tax.

* U.S. Court Officially Rules that Friendship Is Worthless.

Tales from the Trenches: I was SWATed.

Texas Just Does Not Care How Hot Its Prisons Get.

* Duke tries throwing polio at cancer, as you do.

* Interesting article on design: The Secret History of the Apple Watch.

Senate Republicans say the current system is unfair because rural residents are effectively supporting urban counties’ schools and services when they shop there. Yes, that’s literally how the system is intended to function.

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust.

* So you want to resurrect a college.

These Slow-Motion Videos of Fluids Vibrating on Speakers Are Wonderful.

* Now Full House, and the Muppets too.

These Photos Of Melanie Griffith And Her Pet Lion In The 1970s Are Everything. (UPDATE: Here’s the article that seems to be the original source, plus a little bit on Roar’s rerelease. Noteworthy lines from Wikipedia: “Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film.”)

* Being Andre.

Landlord Sends Man $1,200 Bill To Cleanup His Roommate’s Blood, Who Was Shot Dead By Police.

Stan VHS, A Tumblr Blog Featuring 1980s-Style VHS Cover Art for Modern Television Shows and Movies.

A Linguistic Comparison of Letters of Recommendation for Male and Female Chemistry and Biochemistry Job Applicants.

* SF Short of the Weekend: “Burnt Grass.”

* …and your short short of the weekend: “No One Is Thirsty.”

* I finally found enough time to be annoyed by Obama interviewing David Simon about The Wire.

* This Easter, we remember.

* And because you demanded it: An oral history of Max Headroom.


Written by gerrycanavan

April 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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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.


Spring Break Is Over and All Our Accomplishments Turn to Ash Links

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* The best news: Jaimee’s book has won the Anthony Hecht Prize at Waywiser Press.

* Median Salaries of Tenured and Tenure-Track Professors at 4-Year Colleges, 2014-15.

Russian Witch Baba Yaga’s Guide To Feminism.

* Get ready for Margaret Atwood’s next.

Kim Stanley Robinson Says Colonizing Mars Won’t Be As Easy As He Thought. But it’s not all bad news: Suddenly, It Seems, Water Is Everywhere in Solar System.

Time, Space, and Memory at Whitney Plantation.

* Twitter and tenure.

* They found Cervantes’s tomb.

* Black Mirror IRL.

2050_Map_Megaregions2008-thumb-474x316-3663* The megaregions of America.

The Concussion Crisis Reaches a New Level.

Choctaws helped starving Irish in 1847.

* Ian Bogost: Video Games Are Better Without Characters.

But in 2014, the financial year that appears to have been the final straw for Sweet Briar, total operating revenues were $34.8 million and total operating expenditures were $35.4 million, which means that the deficit the school is running is actually smaller than the cost of any of the bad deals it’s gotten itself into with banks.

The United Arab Emirates, where New York University opened a new campus last year, has barred an N.Y.U. professor from traveling to the monarchy after his criticism of the exploitation of migrant construction workers there.

* If one arbitrary, designed-by-committee college ranking system is good, two must be…

“Capitalism posits a future of endless innovation in products and production processes, but no possible change in the social relations that move them.”

What is Star Trek’s vision of politics?

The Uncensored, Epic, Never-Told Story Behind ‘Mad Men.’

* The Secret History of the Hardy Boys.

A household name to black audiences yet completely unknown to white audiences, Gary Owen, a blond, blue-eyed stand-up from Ohio, has a career wholly unlike that of any comedian before him.

Almost seven years ago, a troubled 11-year-old girl reported that she had been raped — twice — in her Northwest Washington neighborhood. Despite medical evidence of sexual assault, records show that no suspects were arrested and the cases were given only sporadic attention by the police . Instead, in the second case, the police had the girl, Danielle Hicks-Best, charged with filing a false report.

People who lose their jobs are less willing to trust others for up to a decade after being laid-off, according to new research from The University of Manchester.

 * Docs Perform First Successful Penis Transplant.

Bruce Springsteen’s Reading List: 28 Favorite Books That Shaped His Mind and Music.

The Disturbing Puzzle Game That Nobody Can Solve.

What would happen if an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated above midtown Manhattan?

The two Wisconsin tween girls accused of stabbing a friend 19 times and leaving her in a park—because they believed doing so would protect their families from the mythical internet horror known as Slender Man—will be tried as adults for first-degree attempted homicide, a judge ruled Friday. 

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been on a mission to weed out purported voter fraud in the state since he took office in 2011. After launching an investigation into what he called an “expanding loophole” allowing non-citizens to vote in Ohio and potentially decide elections, he announced Thursday that 145 non-citizens were registered to vote illegally in 2014, amounting to just .0002 percent of the 7.7 million registered voters in the state.

* Nihilism watch, Washington Post edition.

How to Build a $400 Billion F-35 that Doesn’t Fly.

* What happened to UNC?

This is the best version of Star Wars — and watching it is a crime.

Before Star Wars: Rogue One Takes Off, a History of the X-Wing Series.

* What could possibly go wrong? In South Africa, Ranchers Are Breeding Mutant Animals to Be Hunted. Have to say I’m really pulling for the mutant animals here.

And now comes another, increasingly prevalent way to show appreciation for those who’ve served in the military: exempting them from taxes. Would you like to know more?

Guess Who’s Editing the Wiki Pages of Police Brutality Victims.

California has about one year of water left.

* “Yahoo seems down for just about anything,” Harmon said. “I don’t know why they’d turn their nose up to a movie about a low-rated show. They seem to be very naive.” 

* That gum you like may actually not be coming back into style.

* How did they manage to screw up Powers?

Four years after Fukushima, just one man lives in the exclusion zone – to look after the animals.

* And in a time without heroes, there was Florida Man.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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