Posts Tagged ‘Marxism’
* 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.
* 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?
* Jack Hamilton on “Under Pressure.” When Bowie Met Springsteen. David Bowie’s Radicalism. The International Marxist Group, “In Defense of Bowie.” A Good Looking Mugshot. David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books. David Bowie’s Dark Past. Last Words. The Longreads. Almost Elrond. “Will Brooker is studying David Bowie by trying to live like him for a year.” We Won’t See His Like Again.
* MLA is dead; long live MLA.
* Between 2009 and 2013, public universities reported increasing their annual expenditures on football to more than $1.8 billion — a 21 percent jump in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Knight Commissiondata reviewed by International Business Times. In that same time period, public universities’ reported debt on their athletic facilities has grown to $7.7 billion — up 44 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars in that time. In all, two thirds of Division I public universities increased their spending on football or athletic facilities in that time period — when average tuition and student fees at public universities have risen more than 40 percent in the last decade. The payoff for all that investment? Nearly three quarters of all Division I football programs now run deficits, which are eventually covered by the rising tuition and student fees.
* Like Harry, though, I’ve never intended to let that happen. I have no interest in trying to tell other people what to do if they find themselves close to death, but my choice has always been clear: I don’t want to die in pain—or drugged into a stupor by pain meds—all while connected to tubes and respirators in a hospital room. When the end is near, I want to take my own life.
* Meanwhile: This Doctor Wants to Treat Your Crippling Fear of Death With Uncut Ecstasy. Okay, dammit, I’m in.
* Alternatively, maybe the fact that El Chapo—who we can probably assume has someone in his employ who does, in fact, speak English—didn’t exercise his veto is as damning an indictment of such an arrangement (or, more specifically, the product of such an arrangement) as if he had and the magazine acquiesced. The 14 weirdest moments from Sean Penn’s El Chapo interview. Reality truly is a hoax.
* You had me at Hello: Arrested Development Season 5 will echo Making a Murderer and Trump.
* Trinity Cube was created by melting these two forms of glass together into a cube, then installing the cube back into the Fukushima Exclusion Zone as part of the Don’t Follow the Wind project. The artwork will be viewable by the public when the Exclusion Zone opens again, anytime between 3 and 30,000 years from the present.
* Against Serial season two. I think there’s a lot more one could say about what’s seemed to go wrong this time around, but on the level of why the show seems so boring now this is a good start.
* And on the local beat: South Milwaukee man behind homemade fireworks launcher escapes citation.
* The MLA’s annual report on its Job Information List has found that in 2014-15, it had 1,015 jobs in English, 3 percent fewer than the previous year. The list had 949 jobs in foreign languages, 7.6 percent fewer than 2013-14. The full report.
* The Absolute Disruption blog has some thoughts on spoilerphobia and The Force Awakens, with a digression through my Tolkien/TFA piece. That piece has had some interesting patterns of circulation, incidentally; the Salon piece did well on Facebook and Twitter while the WordPress version has had a second life in the conservative blogosphere by way of Ross Douthat and Tyler Cowen….
* George Lucas, genius. Another oral history of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Star Wars and the death of culture. What was cut from The Force Awakens. 13 Story Ideas That Were Dropped from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What is a Mary Sue, and does Star Wars: The Force Awakens have one? I have not seen the new Star Wars but ambient levels of Star Wars have reached such a peak that I feel eminently qualified to review it without actually seeing the film or even reading a plot synopsis. Anakin Skywalker and the Methods of Rationality.
* Given that the term Mary Sue will always carry gendered connotations and that it is highly likely to be disproportionately applied to female protagonists—who, in big budget epics, are already vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts—I see very little benefit to its continued use.
* “This iconic picture will live in history. When a women escaped ISIS territory and was able to wear color again.” More links after the photo.
* From the archives: The Really Big One.
When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater. (Watch what your fingertips do when you flatten your hand.) The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”
In the Pacific Northwest, the area of impact will cover* some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people.
It’s a brute-force method, yes. Like I said earlier, Fallout 4 really doesn’t want you to play the game this way, and all of its mechanics ensure that, at some point during a normal playthrough, you’ll have to lodge bullets into someone’s noggin. Even if you take the so-called peaceful perks.
* Cleveland Officer Will Not Face Charges in Tamir Rice Shooting Death. How Can No One Be to Blame for Tamir Rice’s Death? How Philadelphia prosecutors protect police misconduct: Cops get caught lying — and then get off the hook. Police Rarely Criminally Charged for On-Duty Shootings. When is it legal for a cop to kill you?
* Today in loopholes: consumptive demand.
* Loophole watch, part two: Pope Francis: atheists who follow their consciences will be welcome in Heaven.
* Why not cubic centimeters, or raw tonnage? Among other issues, the report said, Princeton had allotted “only 1,500 square feet” for student incubator and accelerator programs, “whereas Cornell has 364,000; Penn 200,000; Berkeley 108,000; Harvard 30,000; Stanford 12,000; Yale 7,700; N.Y.U. 6,000; and Columbia 5,000.”
* NSFW, obviously, but: These Real Women Want to Show You How to Give Them an Orgasm.
* Because you demanded it! The DeBoerist Manifesto.
* And Here’s More Evidence That Galactic Super-Civilizations Don’t Exist. But don’t you believe it! Bring on 2016!
* Huge, if true: While university presidents earn millions, many professors struggle.
* In Historic Paris Climate Deal, World Unanimously Agrees To Not Burn Most Fossil Fuels. “A long-shot chance to save the planet.” And on the neg: Grand promises of Paris climate deal undermined by squalid retrenchments.
* In a security video obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Strickland is seen in handcuffs, barely conscious and being dragged along the floor by officers, while a prison nurse standing close by does nothing. Even as he lies face down on the floor, near death, guards can be heard shouting, “Stop resisting.”
* For Fury Road’s fluid editing, Miller called upon his wife, Margaret Sixel, who had spent most of her career editing documentaries and had never cut an action movie before. “We’ve got teenage sons, but I’m the one who goes to the action movies with them!” laughed Miller. “So when I asked her to do Mad Max, she said, ‘Well, why me?’ And I said, ‘Because then it’s not going to look like other action movies.’” And it doesn’t. Compare the smart, iterative set pieces of Fury Road to one of the incoherent car chases in Spectre, for example, and you’ll see that Sixel prizes a sense of spatial relationships that has become all too rare in action movies. “She’s a real stickler for that,” said Miller. “And it takes a lot of effort! It’s not just lining up all the best shots and stringing them together, and she’s very aware of that. She’s also looking for a thematic connection from one shot to the next. If it regressed the characters and their relationships, she’d be against that. And she has a very low boredom threshold, so there’s no repetition.”
* Jacqui Shine at LARoB reviews We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s.
* MST3K breaks Kickstarter records, secures 14 new episodes. Let the backlash commence!
* We’re apparently getting two China Miéville novels this year, and the second one sounds incredible.
THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS is an intense and gripping tale set in an alternative universe: June 1940 following Paris’ fall to the Germans, the villa of Air-Bel in Marsailles, is filled with Trotskyists, anti-fascists, exiled artists, and surrealists. One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.
* He said the solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland.
* Teach the controversy: The sealed mausoleum believed to be a fully-functioning time machine.
* Your short of the week: “Lost Property.”
* This is not an SF postdoc per se, but Liverpool has a tremendous SF archive and it would be a great opportunity for an SF scholar.
* Some impressive student journalism from Marquette undergrads: “Marquette’s reporting to the federal government misses just less than half of sexual assaults on campus.”
* Really interesting piece on how not to build a Star Wars MMORG. MetaFilter mostly hated it, but I thought the idea of limiting the Jedi to a minigame where you inevitably get hunted down and murdered by Darth Vader was brilliant.
* I mean, the LSU thing is so terrible I can barely even be bothered to get upset about the ASU MOOCs.
* One of the Original X-Men Is Gay, And It Matters More Than You Think. It’s a nice piece by Rachel Eddidin and a bummer that it’s at playboy.com. I’m amazed that they don’t maintain a SFW skin of their site for prose writing that goes viral.
* Clickhole’s Oral History of Mad Men.
* Star Trek 3 is apparently Star Trek Beyond, and Idris Elba is the villain. I’m okay with the title — I like the ethos if not the continued insistence on reading “trek” as a verb –but wish they could do one that doesn’t have a “villain” for a change.
* The good news is: this civilization is over. And everybody knows it. And the good news is: we can all start building another one, here in the ruins, and out of pieces of the old one.
* DC is going to try to attract girl readers of comics with a special Super Hero Universe Designed Just For Girls, where, I presume, sex and sexual violence are somewhat less of an overriding focus.
* DID YOU KNOW that academic departments use curricular requirements to encourage enrollment in courses that don’t just automatically fill by themselves? It’s true!
* And from the genius behind the art in Braid and one of my absolute favorite web comics of all time, A Lesson Is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible, comes Zelda pastiche Second Quest. Man I miss that web comic.