Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Mayans

Weekend Links

leave a comment »

My proposed Coursera course will ask students to discover for themselves how and why John Doerr, and your other Venture Capitalists, are willing to provide an even greater abundance of knowledge in the service of greater economic and social equality than is the State of California, which clearly has the means to spend much more than it has cost your company to reach a worldwide enrollment in the millions. As the course progresses, my more diligent students will come to see, however, that reducing income gaps through education is not the main problem that Coursera and other Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers are trying to solve in their pitch to investors. That problem is, rather, how and when to price the content that you are now giving away in your current (pre-public offering) phase of development.

* Mike Konczal on a universal basic income.

“We are the people who live in the rivers where you want to build dams. We are the Munduruku, Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã, Arara, fishermen and peoples who live in riverine communities. We are Amazonian peoples and we want the forest to stand. We are Brazilians. The river and the forest are our supermarket. Our ancestors are older than Jesus Christ.”

Former Leader of Guatemala Is Guilty of Genocide Against Mayan Group.

Brezhnev-style capitalism.

Neoliberalism was a political system in which the world was put to the test in some way, it was simply that the tests employed were those which privileged price and entrepreneurial energy. I don’t want to defend this form of testing, which is often cynical, bullying and depressingly unsympathetic to other valuation systems. But there was often some consistency about it and the capacity for an unexpected outcome (for instance, that local economic diversity might be revealed to be more fiscally efficient). Look at Westfield today, however, and you see an economic culture being repeated, without any sincere sense that this represents ‘choice’, ‘efficiency’ or ‘regeneration’, nor any sense that things might have turned out differently even if this had been known. The point becomes to name this as ‘efficient’ and that (e.g. Peckham Rye Lane) as ‘inefficient’, and try and avoid or suppress evidence to the contrary. The fear arises that provable efficiency might involve abandoning one set of power structures in favour of another. And so economics becomes a naming ceremony, not a test.

“Why do we have all this money to go after man-made terrorist attacks, and then we let our bridges fall down?” Flynn wonders.

* The New York Times covers the catastrophic failure of leadership at Cooper Union.

* Everything you want in the worst possible way: Not-Quite-Community renewed for a fifth season.

* Aaron Swartz Was Right.

The problem, as many mathematicians were discovering when they flocked to Mochizuki’s website, was that the proof was impossible to read. The first paper, entitled “Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory I: Construction of Hodge Theaters,” starts out by stating that the goal is “to establish an arithmetic version of Teichmuller theory for number fields equipped with an elliptic curve…by applying the theory of semi-graphs of anabelioids, Frobenioids, the etale theta function, and log-shells.” This is not just gibberish to the average layman. It was gibberish to the math community as well.

Law would stop Tesla electric car sales in NC.

* Morale crisis in Americans nuclear forces?

Flying car crashes near school in Vernon, B.C.

* Julian Assange explains the coming super-surveillance state.

* Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.

* The New York Times profiles Dr. David A. Patterson.

His American name is David A. Patterson, his Cherokee name Adelv unegv Waya, or Silver Wolf. He is a tenure-track assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. His groundbreaking research on the pitfalls facing Native Americans is both informed and inspired by his own story of deliverance.

* And the L.A. Times profiles Elizabeth Warren.

Five for Sunday

leave a comment »

* Teller explains it all. Via MeFi, which has some video links too.

* Star Wars Uncut: the last great surrealist masterpiece. I think a friend on Facebook really nailed the appeal of this when he pointed out the importance of this sort of “careful reenactment” in childhood consumption of media. In a sense Star Wars Uncut is what we were doing all along.

* Did climate change crash the Mayans?

* Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice. We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups. In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology. A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status. Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.

* And I think someone in Parliament has been watching Dark Angel.

On the possibility of a nuclear missile being fired into space and exploded, he said: “I personally believe that it’s quite likely to happen. It’s a comparatively easy way of using a small number of nuclear weapons to cause devastating damage.

“The consequences if it did happen would be so devastating that we really ought to start protecting against it now, and our vulnerabilities are huge.”

Tuesday Night Links

leave a comment »

* How to Draw Comics the New 52 Way.

* Today Occupy Wall Street occupied foreclosed homes nationwide.

* Fox News vs. the Muppets. At least we got a great new hashtag out of it.

It’s long been surmised that the Mayan empire fell largely because of a 200-year drought that struck the region in 800 AD, but now it appears that the drought may have been amplified by Mayan agricultural practices.

* Weird ecology: The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Florida has been so good to the American crocodile that the reptile was recently taken off the endangered species list. But the croc’s newly thriving condition has nothing to do with nuclear power itself; rather the species has cottoned to the 168 miles of manmade cooling canals that surround the plant, adopting the system as a new natural breeding ground. (Thanks, Lindsey!)

* Tennessee firefighters let another house burn down for failure to pay subscription fee.

* And via Kottke, a profile of Nigel Richards, perhaps the best Scrabble player in the world.

In the tight, little world of Scrabble, Nigel Richards stories are legendary. Nigel read the 1,953-page Chambers Dictionary five times and memorized all the words. Nigel bicycled fourteen hours overnight to a weekend tournament, won it, then biked home and straight to work on Monday morning. With a rack of CDHLNR?, Nigel played CHLORODyNE# through three disconnected tiles (the two O’s and the E). Nigel played SAPROZOIC through ZO#. Nigel played GOOSEFISH$. Nigel averaged 584 points per games in a tournament. Nigel’s word knowledge was so deep, his point-scoring ability so profound, his manner so unflappable, that a competitor once made a T-shirt reading: I BEAT NIGEL RICHARDS.

Can’t Argue with That

with 2 comments

Now We’re Talking

with 2 comments

The ancient Mayans had contact with alien visitors who left behind evidence of their existence, according to a new Mexican documentary.

“Mexico will release codices, artefacts and significant documents with evidence of Mayan and extraterrestrial contact, and all of their information will be corroborated by archaeologists,” he said. “The Mexican government is not making this statement on their own – everything we say, we’re going to back it up.”

Written by gerrycanavan

October 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Saturday Afternoon Fever

with 2 comments

* The Mayans Jawas predicted it: Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012.

* The Republican Study Committee wants to defund the arts. Entirely.

A group of conservative Republicans, called the Republican Study Committee, revealed a new plan on Thursday to cut federal funding for arts down to zero. This means the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be left in the cold. Not to mention the potential hit at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

* David Neiwart gets literary with Glenn Beck’s favorite poem.

But it’s really quite revealing that Beck NEVER gets Niemoller’s poem right. There are a number of different versions with slight variations, but the most common is this one:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists ,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist…

* Also in Glenn Beck news: his latest target is receiving threats. She is 78.

The sole American manufacturer of an anesthetic widely used in lethal injections said Friday that it would no longer produce the drug, a move likely to delay more executions and force states to adopt new drug combinations. Obligatory Colbert flashback.

* Standing on Zanzibar: If the world’s population lived in one city.