Gerry Canavan

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Posts Tagged ‘Megan McArdle

Weekend Links

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* CFP: Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 on Art & Artifice, November 7-10. Right here in Milwaukee!

* A disturbing catch from the MetaFilter thread on MOOCs: Obama has quietly decoupled Pell grants from accreditation, opening the door for full-throated neoliberal profiteering.

Last year, similar language tying federal aid to “value” was explicitly limited to a group of relatively minor aid programs. The Pell grant and loan programs that make up $140 billion in annual aid were excluded. No such restrictions appear here (although the President did refer to only “certain types” of aid in the speech itself.) But the real kicker is at the end: a new, alternative system of accreditation that would provide pathways for higher education models and colleges to receive federal student aid based on performance and results.

The existing accreditation club has been around since the end of the 19th century. It has had an exclusive franchise on determining federal financial aid eligibility since the middle of the 20th century. Opening a new doorway to the Title IV financial aid system would be an enormouschange, particularly when coupled with the phrase “higher education models and colleges.” The clear implication is that the higher education models that would eligible for federal financial aid through the alternate accreditation system wouldn’t have to be colleges at all. They could be any providers of higher education that meet standards of “performance and results.”

MOOCiversity, ho!

Think about it: When was the last time a college or university president produced an edgy piece of commentary, or took a daring stand on a contentious matter? 

* Disaster capitalism, Chicago style.

There aren’t any hurricanes in the Midwest, so how can proponents of privatization like Mayor Rahm Emanuel sell off schools to the highest bidder?

They create a crisis.

The Drone Industry Wants a Makeover. Dissent on drones.

* Malcolm Harris explains yellowism.

* The delightfully named Ben Kafka explains bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy, Kafka argues, can be everybody’s enemy, and can thus serve as the organizing principle for otherwise untenable alliances, like the one between eighteenth-century liberals and democrats, or between some contemporary working-class voters and the neoliberal elites they vote for. Sowing contempt for bureaucracy, in the form of lambasting all government efforts as inherently inefficient, full of “lazy” and “parasitical” civil servants and their “bloated” pensions, remains a potent tactic of right-wing populism, but whereas conservatives of old evoked a nostalgic class paternalism to cure paperwork’s ills, the American Right offers a myth of self-sufficiency, of everyone for themselves, with no claims to be filed and no burdens to be shared. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, comes to stand for the inevitable outcome of all types of collective power, the emblem of neutered individualism. And since paperwork is an evil that proliferates no matter what the form of government, it can seem irrelevant to mount any political fights to reform it. Politics is thus reduced to the pettiness of sorting out strictly personal grievances, which in turn worsens bureaucracy, as these sorts of selfish claims are precisely what bureaucracy exists to process.

* Duke professor proposes that students be required to produce a video summary of the dissertation. I actually think this kind of distillation can be really useful and productive — someone once told me you know you’re done with your dissertation when you can summarize its argument in one sentence — but making it an actual requirement is silly.

North Carolina is the only state that will clearly mark all people who are not U.S. citizens – everyone from business executives with “green cards” to students on visas – with a newly designed driver’s license coming this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation in all the states. History contains absolutely no examples of times when this kind of thinking has ever gone wrong, so I’m sure it’s a really good idea.

In other words, in the midst of a major national debate over America’s finances, 90% of Americans are wrong about the one basic detail that probably matters most in the conversation, while only 6% — 6%! — are correct.

A cottage at 71/2 West End Court in Long Branch where one-time renter Bruce Springsteen wrote “Born to Run” is up for sale for $349,900, said real estate agent Susan McLaughlin of Keller Williams Realty. Anyone want to go halfsies?

World Press Photo Of The Year: Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories: Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by and Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put into intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

* Even Megan McArdle has stopped believing in meritocracy.

* And io9 on how your favorite cancelled science fiction series would have continued. Start your FlashForward fan fics now…

Tuesday Mo(u)rning Links

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* Utopian for Beginners: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented.

* Uncomfortable metaphor watch:

The two spacecraft, Ebb and Flow, have been orbiting the Moon since their launch in September 2011 to create a gravity field map of its surface.

But, with not enough fuel to carry out further experiments, the American space agency opted for a “controlled descent” to avoid the risk of obliterating astronaut Neil Armstrong’s footsteps on the Moon.

Questions They Might Ask You at Your MLA Interview.

* Great moments in attendance policies.

* Fill-in-the-Blank Generic Gun Massacre Cartoon. Joe Scarborough, communist. Obama speaks at Sandy Hook Vigil. The formula is simple: The more batshit malevolent the gun cult gets, the more power they exert. Our Moloch. On politicizing tragedy:

What that means in practice is that in the aftermath of contemporary gun tragedies, we don’t see new gun legislation. What we do see is a spike in gun sales. After the shooting last summer in Aurora, Colorado, gun sales went up. After the Giffords shooting, there was a surge in purchases of the very Glock semiautomatic that wounded her. Certainly, the firearm industry and lobby will confront some bad P.R. in the coming weeks, but they can likely find succor in an uptick in business. Following the Newtown shooting, Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners for America, suggested that these massacres might be avoided in the future, if only more teachers were armed.

As Pratt’s sentiment should make clear, the United States has slipped its moorings and drifted into a realm of profound national lunacy. Ponder, for a second, the fact that I cannot walk into a C.V.S. today and purchase half-a-dozen packages of Sudafed, but I can walk into a gun dealership and purchase a .50 caliber rifle of the sort that U.S. snipers use in Afghanistan. In fact, I can buy six or ten—there is no limit imposed by law. Should the gun dealer think it fishy that I might want to acquire a weapon capable of downing a small aircraft (much less six of those weapons) he may report the purchase to the A.T.F. But in most states, he’s not required to.

You are terrible: The tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is a price that is paid for protection of the Second Amendment. You are terrible: Huckabee Blames ‘Tax-Funded Abortion Pills’ For Newtown Massacre. You are terrible: Can you imagine being in the shoes of the one who feels his power slipping away? You are terrible: If we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.

Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism,  McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication.

I mean really.

Support the creation of local organizations to act as “neighborhood watch” for schools. Had George Zimmerman been at the front door instead of some mechanical card reader those children would still be alive. Perhaps it’s time we start asking for volunteers to protect our children. It will require security checks, but isn’t that worth it? This dovetails with the union problem; the unions will fight this measure tooth-and-nail.

No, Really, Regulate the Bullets. Race, Class, Violence and Denial: Mass Murder and the Pathologies of Privilege. What makes America’s gun culture totally unique in the world, in four charts. But maybe this chart is the only one you need.

preschoolers-guns

Dreams in Infrared: The Woes of an American Drone Operator.

Leaked IPCC Draft Report: Recent Warming Is Manmade, Cloud Feedback Is Positive, Inaction Is Suicidal.

* I’m sorry to say I’ve followed Ricky Gervais pretty far down the “obnoxious asshat” rabbit hole, and even I can’t imagine how his staring in The Muppets 2 could possibly turn out good.

* When Stoker wrote Whitman.

Popular Mechanics makes 110 predictions for the next 110 years.

2012 to 2022

Drones will protect endangered species. Guarding at-risk animals from poachers with foot patrols is expensive and dangerous. This summer rangers in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park previewed a savvy solution: Hand-launched drones armed with cameras and GPS provided aerial surveillance of threatened Indian rhinos.

Digital “ants” will protect the U.S. power grid from cyber attacks.Programmed to wander networks in search of threats, the high-tech sleuths in this software, developed by Wake Forest University security expert Errin Fulp, leave behind a digital trail modeled after the scent streams of their real-life cousins. When a digital ant designed to perform a task spots a problem, others rush to the location to do their own analysis. If operators see a swarm, they know there’s trouble.

Vegetarians and carnivores will dine together on synthetic meats. We’re not talking about tofu. We’re talking about nutritious, low-cost substitutes that look and taste just like the real thing. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has already invested in Beyond Meat, which makes plant-based chicken strips so convincing they almost fooled New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.

Bridges will repair themselves with self-healing concrete. Invented by University of Michigan engineer Victor Li, the new composite is laced with microfibers that bend without breaking. Hairline fractures mend themselves within days when calcium ions in the mix react with rainwater and carbon dioxide to create a calcium carbonate patch.

* The east coast of 2057.

* Catfood forever! Catfood for everyone!

* And Republicans are still planning on rigging the Electoral College. Or you could just try being popular. You could, just once, try that…