Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Yglesias

Thursday Night Links!

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* Did you know Jaimee Hills’s incredible How to Avoid Speaking has started to ship? Buy it today! Hear her on Lake Effect!

* Presenting the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction.

The Founders misread history and established a dysfunctional system of government. A case for a little less reverence. Will “decoherence” be the doom of American democracy?

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Race Is Always the Issue.

The False Science of Cryonics: What the nervous system of the roundworm tells us about freezing brains and reanimating human minds. A Dying Young Woman’s Hope.

* The Caine Prize after “emergence.”

* The Nine Dumbest Things in the Rutgers Report on Kyle Flood.

* The Internet after Ad Blocking. Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web.

Inside the Brains of Happily Married Couples.

* Friends don’t let friends write clickbait confessionals.

The feminist think piece industrial complex.

* Twilight of the Elites and the rise of a global left. Even Yglesias is on board!

We enter into something of a contract as a faculty member: we trade income for autonomy and security. If we do not use the latter, we enter a fool’s bargain. This is why I stay, and why being ready to quit is an important part of staying.

Inside the Battle for Cooper Union.

* Doing the Lord’s work at GOG.com.

Every Single Movie That Jimmy Carter Watched at the White House.

* 30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How Was Your Day?”

These 25 schools are responsible for the greatest advances in science. Go Spartans! #11.

If you like Return Of The Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism.

* Tased at the Harris Teeter. After an often torturous tenure at the helm of the Durham Police Department—including, most recently, last week’s controversial Tasering of an unarmed black man at a Durham Harris Teeter—Chief Jose Lopez Sr. is out.

* How Languages Die.

* Fraternities are pretty bad.

* The Opposite of Hoarding.

“I don’t expect them to understand everything I do,” Dr. Xi, 57, said in a telephone interview. “But the fact that they don’t consult with experts and then charge me? Put my family through all this? Damage my reputation? They shouldn’t do this. This is not a joke. This is not a game.”

The NFL and the military: a love affair as strange and cynical as ever.

* God save Title IX from its champions.

Memo to Clinton-world: It might be time to start panicking.

Ahmed Mohamed and the “Freedom to Tinker.”

* How to screw up the Muppets in one easy step.

A spoiler-free example: The Miss Piggy-Kermit relationship has always worked because of how unfathomable it is, both in terms of species and temperament. These people don’t belong together, but somehow they’ve formed a decadeslong pairing, one that always felt buoyed by Miss Piggy’s stronger affections and a submissive aspect to Kermit. But discovering that Kermit is dating another pig now, perhaps a slightly more docile pig, inverts the whole dynamic of the relationship. Now Kermit just has a fetish, so has he always been playing hard-to-get with Piggy as part of some role-playing that we haven’t previously established? Once you open the window a crack, you’re gonna have to throw open the doors eventually. And within the same dynamic, Miss Piggy’s affections for Kermit, even affections tempered by occasional abuse, have always been a key softening factor for Miss Piggy. We tolerate her awfulness because of her love for Kermit and the love we believe Kermit has for her. Without that core, the risk of Miss Piggy spiraling into an untenable sty of callus words and consistent mistreatment of subordinates is all too real.

* What’s it like to take Jim Henson’s place?

Don’t Have Sex With Robots, Say Ethicists.

* Nemo iudex in causa sua, but, you know, the opposite.

* How to D&D.

* Against Lolita.

* Utilitarianism, y’all. Also: the Singularity.

What Happens When A Parent’s Grief Goes Viral?

At WeWork, an Idealistic Start-Up Clashes With Its Cleaners.

Banksy and the Problem With Sarcastic Art.

“The Long Emancipation” offers a useful reminder that abolition was not the charitable work of respectable white people, or not mainly that. Instead, the demise of slavery was made possible by the constant discomfort inflicted on middle-class white society by black activists.

Students’ Requests for Trigger Warnings Grow More Varied. Higher Education’s Internet Outrage Machine. How Salaita Was Fired: One Year Later. Gaps in Earnings Stand Out in Release of College Data. Enrollment in Humanities Ph.D. Programs Declines as More Graduate Schools Slim Down. Colleges Flush With Cash Saddle Poorest Students With Debt. No Child Left Behind Goes to College. Is College Tuition Really Too High? The Uberification of the University. The Rise and Coming Demise of the Corporate University. Tacit knowledge and graduate education. Can’t afford to eat at a college sitting on over $9 billion? There’s an app for that. The Whistleblower Effect. The entire Japanese public university system attempts a massive queen sacrifice. There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts. Are College Lectures Unfair? Microaggressions and good manners. The coming human capital contract nightmare.

In 1997, the ETS announced that the SAT could not properly be labeled a scholastic assessment test, either; the initials now stand for nothing.

* Maybe the best description of what it is I think I’m doing I’ve ever seen: He said that his best professors “took texts that seemed complicated, made them look simple, and then made them complex again.”

“We couldn’t imagine Oregonians’ turning their backs on higher education, but they did.”

Some have called Harvard a Hedge Fund with a school attached, because it has over $36 billion in its endowment, but the UC holds over $100 billion in its retirement funds, endowments, and working capital funds.  This large amount of money can be used for good, or it can be used for darker purposes, but one thing for sure, it makes the university an important global finance player.  Of course, we should all ask what it means when a public university enters global finance.

Jerry Brown’s University of California Perma-Temp Problem.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 22: Collaboration (part 2 of 2).

* The rise of the woman comic book buyer.

* Studies in Cruel Optimism, Bernie Sanders campaign edition.

* Yes. Yes. Embrace your hate.

* This week, the site enabled hosts of events to determine who has actually seen the Facebook invites they’ve sent out but not replied, making the simple act of viewing of your notifications a horrifying social contract you can’t escape.

* Nice work if you can get it: How I Felt After 70 Days of Lying in Bed for Science.

If We Burn All the World’s Fossil Fuels, We’ll Melt Antarctica & Flood the Earth. Right, that’s the plan. Climate Apocalypse and/or Democracy. PS: Almost Half of the World’s Ocean Life Has Died Off Since 1970.

* Markets in everything! Refugees bring in big business in Europe.

* The arc of history is long, but.

* And some news you can use: The IRS Will Refuse Checks Greater Than $100 Million Beginning In 2016.

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 17, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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These Tuesday Links Surround Hate and Force It to Surrender

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BfE0H2HCAAE4VEa* Pete Seeger before the House Un-American Activities Committee, 1955. This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender. Some recent articles and profiles. RIP.

* CFP: New Directions in Sherlock.

* Amazing moment: Northwestern University athletes have filed for union representation with the NRLB. Now, I don’t think they’ll get it — so the really interesting question is what happens when they don’t.

Rabon, a veterinarian, said he believes House Bill 930 is too weak. He said its standards for humane treatment could too easily be interpreted by a judge to apply to livestock as well as pets. “It can’t spill over to the animal husbandry in this state, which is an $80 billion industry – larger than the other top five industries in the state,” he said. “There is a LOT of money involved.”

* Freddie deBoer has a nice demonstration of how statistics don’t always tell you as much as you think.

Instead of guaranteeing that poor undergraduates can get through college debt-free, the University of Virginia decided it’s going to make low-income students borrow up to $28,000.

* More on the brokenness of the Common Core.

* The new face of food stamps.  Of the top five jobs projected to grow from 2012 to 2022, only one—registered nurse—provides an annual, full-time salary over $22,000.

The Fantasy Politics of the Libertarian Alliance.

* BREAKING: The past isn’t done with you yet.

With lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions looming about their effectiveness, lawmakers in some death-penalty states are considering bringing back relics of a more gruesome past: firing squads, electrocutions and gas chambers.

* Kubrick’s alternate titles for Dr. Strangelove.

Jonathan Banks is officially part of Better Call Saul.

Lawsuit Blames Uber App for Death of 6-Year-Old Girl.

* West Virginia as colonized zone.

* Five years into his presidency, Obama has finally issued an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contracts. Can solving climate change be far behind?

* “Academic freedom” is a funny phrase: New York bill to punish ASA over Israel boycott picks up 48 supporters.

Man Charged With Shooting And Killing Own Neighbors Because He Wrongly Thought They Were Trespassing.

Florida Man’s Very Own Backyard Gun Range Is Perfectly Legal.

* Marquette just got $10 million to build a new JesRes.

* An 83-year-old nun faces up to 30 years in prison for breaking into a nuclear weapons facility.

* Here’s why Ezra Klein left the Washington Post. This is my skeptical face, but good luck.

* Horrific: After Being Denied A Snow Day, University Of Illinois Students Respond With Racism And Sexism.

* The crisis is over! Colleges are rich again!

Queens Library president gets $390G salary, luxe office makeover while shedding 130 jobs.

* BREAKING: Austerity politics don’t work. No one could have predicted!

* A bit on the nose, don’t you think? Birds Attack Peace Doves Freed From Pope’s Window.

* Let kids be kids: Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don’t cause bedlam, the principal says. The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing.

* The invention of jaywalking.

* Understand academic labor the Brady Bunch way.

* Rebecca Schuman hangs up on her “calling.”

* And some linkbait I can never resist: 22 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist.

unbelievable-places-27-3

Tuesday Night!

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* Reviews of Disability in Science Fiction at Tor and wordgathering focus on my chapter in particular, each taking up a different half of it; read them together and you get a pretty good sense of what I was on about.

* Confirm your suspicions about who the worst people at Gawker are: What Should Be Done About Detroit? A Gawker Internal Debate.

* The corporate university and permanent crisis.

Radicalizing Fantasy and the Power of Disidentification.

UConn Is Under Federal Investigation For Allegedly Mishandling Rape Cases.

American Companies Made No Progress In Gender Diversity On Boards For 8 Straight Years.

Why U.S. Parks Are Full of Squirrels.

* The good-looking are different from you and me.

Remembering Nelson Mandela and His Fight for Climate Justice.

David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.’

Boy with Asthma Dies After School Confiscates His Inhaler. “Zero tolerance policy against asthma inhalers.”

That’s not what the Left wants. We want to give people the chance to do something else with their lives, something besides merely tending to it, without having to take a 30-year detour on Wall Street to get there. The way to do that is not to immerse people even more in the ways and means of the market, but to give them time and space to get out of it. That’s what a good welfare state, real social democracy, does: rather than being consumed by life, it allows you to make your life. Freely. One less bell to answer, not one more.

‘Revenge porn’ site creator charged with extorting victims to have nude photos removed.

* And Obamacare is still a huge, huge bummer, forever and ever amen.

Tuesday Links

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Against Meritocracy

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I’m far from a fan of Matt Yglesias, but this piece seems useful to me for its succinct recognition of the central paradox of liberalism:

Needless to say, children under the age of 6 do not exercise a great deal of choice over where they live or what level of soil testing is done. Nor is it an accident that low-income parents are more likely to be inhabiting the kind of dwellings where their kids are likely to be exposed to toxic levels of lead. I think it takes a fairly perverse outlook on life to believe that a person deserves lifelong economic hardship as a consequence of his parents’ having lived in an old house near a freeway when he was a toddler. But the name for that social system is “meritocracy.” The non-poisoned infants really will grow up to be adults who really are smarter and really do have better impulse control and ability to do long time-horizon planning. They have more “merit” than the poisoned kids just like Dwight Howard is very genuinely taller and stronger than you or I.

Of course this should all be much more cautious–you’d need to substitute “by certain measurements” and “in certain circumstances” after “smarter,” “better impulse control,” “ability to do long-term planning,” etc. But the central proposition is right and, I think, the decisive disproof of liberal meritocracy, as I’ve been ranting about on Twitter for the last hour or so. The crucial tweet is the last one, the recognition that class is a miracle solvent for “merit”: it boosts the abilities of the rich while muting their disadvantages, while doing the exact opposite for the poor.

@_EdwardK_ also brought to my attention an interesting paper I’ll have to follow up on:

Just a Few Monday Links

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* Sarah Kendzior and Rebecca Schuman tee up for the grad-school-backlash-backlash-backlash-honestly-I’ve-lost-count. As always, I’m very glad people are talking about exploitation, but nonetheless the unvarnished, apocalyptic negativity of some of these pieces just doesn’t reflect my own experiences in the academy very well at all. Academia contains multitudes; that’s actually a huge part of the problem.

CEO Pay 1,795-to-1 Multiple of Wages Skirts U.S. Law. Of course, the “law” being skirted is a toothless disclosure requirement, so don’t even sweat it.

* Brave director slams Disney’s sexy Merida makeover.

* Yglesias wept: Bangladesh to allow unions for garment workers.

* The Los Angeles Review of Books explains the Church of Scientology.

Wright proposes that the central document to understanding Hubbard’s psyche is his so-called “secret memoir,” composed around 1947, otherwise referred to as Hubbard’s “Affirmations” or “Admissions.” The document itself has an interesting history: it was found by a former archivist for the Church of Scientology, Gerald Armstrong, who had been tasked with organizing the founder’s personal papers. The more Armstrong read, the less he believed. Convinced that Hubbard was a huckster, Armstrong copied the documents that he discovered in the archives and delivered them to his lawyer. He was thereafter sued by the Church of Scientology. During the trial, Armstrong tried to get on record portions of Hubbard’s “Affirmations,” under the vehement protests of the Church’s lawyers. Since then, the document has leaked to the internet. Among Hubbard’s Affirmations:

“I can write.”

“My mind is still brilliant.”

“That masturbation was no sin or crime.”

“That I do not need to have ulcers any more.”

“That I believe in my gods and spiritual things.”

“That my magical work is powerful and effective.”

“That the numbers 7, 25, and 16 are not unlucky or evil for me.”

“That I am not bad to look upon.”

“That I am not susceptible to colds.”

“That these words and commands are like fire and will sear themselves into every corner of my being, making me happy and well and confident forever!”

Hubbard emerges, in Wright’s account, as a pitiable figure, driven by relentless ambition yet also stalked by an enduring fear of irrelevance. Flawed, prone to tyranny and abusive behavior, he sought to conquer his insecurities by achieving an outsized grandeur. “If one looks behind the Affirmations to the conditions they are meant to correct,” Wright concludes, “one sees a man who is ashamed of his tendency to fabricate personal stories, who is conflicted about his sexual needs, and who worries about his mortality. He has a predatory view of women but at the same time fears their power to humiliate him.”

* Austerity comes to CTU: the new 24 will only have twelve episodes.

* The first trailer for Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to tease Luke Cage.

* And xkcd covers birds and dinosaurs.

No One Cares What We Think

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I long ago had to come to terms with a political era and a political machine that is not my own and never likely to please me. I do wonder what a critique like this one might accomplish, were it to penetrate the greater bloggy consciousness. It would take someone with publicity and access to bring it into the conversation, and as I’ve said, very, very few of genuinely left-wing socialist policy preferences are ever allowed into the Club. Even if it got there– even if, somehow, a critique like this one could puncture the carefully constructed bubble of blogospheric consciousness, the one which limits debate and sets the boundaries of “acceptable” discourse so narrowly– I can predict a sad response. Many would set out to deny the possibility that political blogs contain anything less than the full panoply of human political opinion, and would do so with exactly the mechanism I’m describing here: the existence of a nominal left-wing that represents merely a slightly different flavor of neoliberal doctrine would provide cover for those not even nominally left-wing. The Matt Yglesiases, the Ezra Kleins, the Jon Chaits, the Kevin Drums– they would likely support the neoliberal orthodoxy that has captured the debate by denying that any such dynamic could exist. That would give an out to the conservatives and libertarians to say “see, even the Liberal Ezra Klein says….” Every time there is agreement between, say, Yglesias, Ross Douthat, and Will Wilkinson, this is taken as a sign that of a lack of disagreement to their position, rather than as an indicator of the narrow confines of blogger opinion. Once again, the idea that there is some sort of genuine ideological disagreement within the space would paper over the fact that little such disagreement exists.

Freddie deBoer has a must-read post on neoliberalism and the progressive blogosphere. Of course, when people happily take up the criticism as a badge of honor, there’s just not much left to say…

UPDATE: Contrary to my own pronouncements, I had a little bit more to say about all this on HASTAC.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm