Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘memes

Thursday Links!

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* Deadline extended: Special Issue: Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Narrative, Characters, Media, and Event.

* CFP: Speculative Vegetation: Plants in Science Fiction.

After humanity spent thousands of years improving our tactics, computers tell us that humans are completely wrong. I would go as far as to say not a single human has touched the edge of the truth of Go.

* The banality of evil in Baltimore.

* “Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles.” Every revelation in this story is stunning. Trump leans on ‘fake news’ line to combat reports of West Wing dysfunction. Donald Trump says all negative polls about him are fake news. Check out this fake news about voter fraud. Yemen Withdraws Permission for U.S. Antiterror Ground Missions. Milwaukee passes resolution opposing Trump travel ban. White House rattled by McCarthy’s spoof of Spicer. White House Denies Report That Bannon Had to Be Reminded He Wasn’t President Amidst Travel-Ban Chaos. Probably best to put this in writing ahead of time. The simple fact is that Trump has never had real friends in the sense you or I think of the term. Never Believe the Republicans’ B.S. Ever Again. How Each Senator Voted on Trump’s Cabinet and Administration Nominees. Five Theses on Trump. To Stephen Miller, Duke University Class of 2007.

* Elsewhere in Duke News! Bernie and the Duke Grad Student Unionization Movement.

Apparently those who support income redistribution through aggressive top marginal taxation are still willing to accept union busting and poor parent shaming before considering direct infusions of cash. No matter how lofty their rhetoric, there is an intuitive desire within mainstream American liberalism to believe that the trouble in education is not so obvious as poor people not having enough money to do well—but rather, that poor parents are to blame for not being enough like middle class ones. DeVos Was Inevitable. Democrats reject her, but they helped pave the road to education nominee DeVos.

* ok she won me over

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The 10 US colleges that stand to lose the most from Trump’s immigration ban. American Universities Must Take a Stand.

The Nervous Civil Servant’s Guide to Defying an Illegal Order.

* American democracy isn’t.

Meet Antifa, the Most Reasonable People in America.

The Wisdom of Science Fiction in the Age of Trump.

* “All the pieces of the neo-Nazi solution to climate change already exist.”

Dakota Access Pipeline Is Back On, Skipping Environmental Review.

* The New Yorker celebrates the great Mo Willems.

Much has been written about the toxicity of internet “call out” culture over the past five years. But less has been said about the prevalence of efforts to fire people, one of that culture’s creepiest and most authoritarian features. 

Doctor Strange Has Now Made More Money At Box Office Than Man Of Steel. DC is really bad at this.

Liberalism looks and feels like a waiting period that may never end. A primary purpose of this tactic is to allow policymakers and elites to announce their intention to do something about a problem while hoping the problem goes away on its own as public attention dies down or as they move on with their careers.

* Keep Mars Red.

We Asked Sci-Fi Writers About The Future Of Climate Change.

Within a decade, according to a 99-page white paper released today, Uber will have a network—to be called “Elevate”—of on-demand, fully electric aircraft that take off and land vertically. Instead of slogging down the 101, you and a few other flyers will get from San Francisco to Silicon Valley in about 15 minutes—for the price of private ride on the ground with UberX. Theoretically.

* The Singularity has already happened.

* 150 Years to Alpha Centauri. But it’s no place to raise your kids.

* Make stamp-collecting great again.

* Know your alignments.

* Teaching is not longer a middle class job. College professor isn’t either, pretty much anywhere but a town like Milwaukee.

* The Arc of History Is Long But Republicans Are Moving To Scrap Rules That Limit Overdraft Fees.

* The Resistance.

* A clever study showing how protests impact election outcomes, using rain.

A general strike could transform American politics. But we’re nowhere near being able to call one.

* Capitalism is struggling to reproduce the misery and terror required for worker compliance.

* Even baseball hates baseball.

Donald Trump Had A Superior Electoral College Strategy.

* I don’t think there’s been a better postmortem on the election, and what it means for the coming decades, than this by Mike Davis: The Great God Trump and the White Working Class.

In addition, as Brookings researchers have recently shown, since 2000 a paradoxical core-periphery dynamic has emerged within the political system. Republicans have increased their national electoral clout yet have steadily lost strength in the economic-powerhouse metropolitan counties. “The less-than-500 counties that Hillary Clinton carried nationwide encompassed a massive 64 percent of America’s economic activity as measured by total output in 2015. By contrast, the more-than-2,600 counties that Donald Trump won generated just 36 percent of the country’s output — just a little more than one-third of the nation’s economic activity.”

* Trump believes his base desires cruelty above all else. Here is today’s case study.

“Uncle Biden” has done a lot to mask the fact that the real Joe Biden fought desegregation, wrote the 1994 crime bill, and appeared to side with Clarence Thomas over Anita Hill during Thomas’s confirmation hearings. The hyper-competent “Texts From Hillary” made it more difficult for the real Clinton to rebut charges of shadiness and corruption, and also served to mask over the fact that she had never won a closely fought election. Liberal Fan Fiction.

* When Details in a Story Can Put People at Risk.

* Creeping Trumpism.

* He speaks for us all: “Man found stuck in waist-deep mud has no idea how he got there, officials say.”

* The best news anybody’s gotten since 1997.

* What it’s like to lose your short-term memory.

* Ubiquitous surveillance watch.

A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months. Oh, well, that explains everything, doesn’t it.

* Rick and Morty and Bojack and existentialism.

* Yes Weekly interviews the great Fred Chappell.

* What a horrible night to have a curse.

* And this is a really good start, but I’m sure we can find a way to do worse.

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Catching Up on My Open Tabs After an Incredibly Slow News Week in Which Nothing World-Historically Bonkers Happened

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* CFP: And Now for Something Completely Different: Critical Approaches to Monty Python.

* CFP: The Films of Wes Anderson.

* Three on Dylan, Nobel Laureate. The Guardian reports.

After much consideration my position on this event is that I’m formally opposed, but nonetheless personally delighted.

* Barack Obama for first president of the Federation.

* Le Guin in the Post, the Nation, and the New Yorker.

* PKD and the Problem of 2-3-74.

* An adjuncting career, by the numbers.

Idiots Who Run Harvard Let Their Low-Wage Workers Go On Strike.

* 4 Professors Involved in Philosophy Brawl Find Feces in Their Mail.

With Campus Carry in Place, Some Texas Grad Students Make Bars Their Offices.

* Why a Controversial Palestinian History Class at Berkeley Was Cancelled, Then Reinstated.

* I make a brief appearance at the end of this CBS58 story on Marquette’s incredible Tolkien collection. I also pop up in this review of the first few episodes of Westworld.

* The Trouble with Thanksgiving.

This schedule creates a natural mid-semester break. And if adopted soon, that break would occur next week. Let’s get to work. I don’t think it’s too late.

* Arrested Development Season Five (not really). Women Are Defeating Donald Trump. All of Donald Trump’s Accusers: A Timeline of Every Alleged Grope and Assault. Gerrymandering helped Republicans take control of Congress, but now it’s tearing them apart over Trump. A Trump collapse could give Democrats back the House. Here’s the math. Inside the Bunker. Inside the Meltdown. How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages. Trump, the GOP, and the Fall. Let’s never forget what a terrifying thing we almost did. Your Surgeon Is Probably a Republican, Your Psychiatrist Probably a Democrat. I guess I need a new surgeon. If professors made $500k/year, would they be Republicans? U.S. government officially accuses Russia of hacking campaign to interfere with elections. The Evan McMullin Century. A GOP strategist explains why the Republican Party is about to break in two. Even the Humane Society. Teach the controversy. Thank you for your idea about a political thriller but unfortunately we find the plot preposterous. Michelle Obama for President. And because we’re all still asking: What Happens If Trump Drops Out?

* Citizens United, all class.

* Eugenics in America.

As a national prison strike enters its second month, the Department of Justice says it will investigate conditions in Alabama prisons. And some corrections officers are expressing support.

Louisiana isn’t letting immigrants get married.

New Jersey Transit, a Cautionary Tale of Neglect.

“We’d at least like to have it said of us that we tried”: Marvel and the civil rights movement.

How Rock and Roll Became White.

* Atlanta’s lost Afrofuture.

* Brutalism is back.

* “When her best friend died, she rebuilt him using artificial intelligence.”

* Department of Precrime, CIA edition.

* The search for a true blue M&M.

* Whatever this is for, I am so completely in.

* Meanwhile, the Fantastic Beasts expansion of the Harry Potter franchise will top out at an economical and reasonable five films.

* Star Trek explained by epic poetry.

* The four types of board games.

Golden Girls Action Figures Are Here.

* Life with migraines.

* I was pregnant, and then I wasn’t.

* Generation Adderall.

* Poet at work.

* The end of Devin Faraci and the end of The Canon podcast (for now). There’s more at the Mary Sue.

* Huge, if true: Tech billionaires convinced we live in the Matrix are secretly funding scientists to help break us out of it.

And on the subject of deranged tech madmen: Simpsons did it.

Liquid assets: how the business of bottled water went mad.

The reaction that would give us clean fossil fuels forever.

The coming fight over “nonlethal neuroweapons.”

What’s the Longest Humans Can Live? 115 Years, New Study Says. Challenge accepted.

* Now, I may have to move first.

* The kids are all right: Only 1 in 5 Millennials Have Ever Tried a Big Mac.

* On Delany’s Dark Reflections.

* App of the week: Really Bad Chess.

* The Perils of Becoming a Meme.

* The LEGO Yellow Submarine.

* Finally my condition has a name.

* And I told you, Mom: Science Says the First Born Child Is the Most Intelligent.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 14, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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All Your Weekend Links

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* Waywiser Press has two new MP3s of Jaimee reading from her first book, How to Avoid Speaking: “Derrida Eats a Dorito” and “On Beauty.”

* New SF from Cixin Liu: “The Weight of Memories.”

* Duke Lit is hiring. And Georgetown has a cluster hire in African American studies.

* Automatically preordered: Kim Stanley Robinson’s next novel, New York 2140. China Miéville’s October: A History of the Russian Revolution. The Miéville- and Le-Guin-fronted new edition of More’s Utopia. Box Brown’s graphic history of Tetris.

* I love this Oulipoesque writing game from Steve Shaviro, on writing like a pundit.

  1. Every sentence must be a cliche.
  2. There must be no logical or narrative connection among the sentences. Each one must be a complete non sequitur.

Supporting Transgender Students in the Classroom.

Reevaluating Teaching Evaluations.

Can grad students unionize? Academia awaits major labor board ruling.

Univision buys Gawker for $135m, shuts Gawker itself down.

Conservatively, counting just the biggest chunks of staff time that went into it, the prison story cost roughly $350,000. The banner ads that appeared on the article brought in $5,000, give or take. Had we been really in your face with ads, we could have doubled or tripled that figure—but it would have been a pain for you, and still only a drop in the bucket for us.

* Relatedly: Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons. Some immediate effects.

* The new Star Trek distribution model in a global context.

15 Technologies That Were Supposed to Change Education Forever.

* Foundation 124 is out, with a special focus on More’s Utopia.

* I feel this now about a lot of things I read: Why Scott Snyder Doesn’t Write Damian Wayne Much.

Unfortunately, Landis — the director who co-wrote and executive produced Clue — and the studios were completely wrong about there being any box office appeal for a film with three endings. As Lynn explained, “The audience decided they didn’t know which ending to go to, so they didn’t go at all.”

* Meanwhile, from the death of culture.

It was the deadliest massacre of disabled people since World War II. How do we honor the victims if we don’t even know their names? Remembering the Sagamihara 19.

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing.’

* Something unexpected I learned recently: the practice of giving presidential candidates classified intelligence briefings began in the 1950s with President Truman, who didn’t want his successors coming into office without knowing crucial information (the way he hadn’t known about the Manhattan Project).

* Donald Trump is assembling gathering the Legion of Doom. (The ubiquitous Twitter joke was calling it “the hospice stage.”) Trumpism: first as tragedy, then as farce. The Presidential Debates Will Almost Definitely Exclude Third Parties. Finding Someone Who Can Imitate Donald Trump. Battleground Texas? The short, unhappy life of the Naked Trump statue. #TrumpExplainsMoviePlots.

The GOP’s Chances Of Holding The Senate Are Following Trump Downhill.

* A digital exhibit from the Milwaukee Public Library on the history of race and class in Milwaukee. Milwaukee by the numbers.

hobbiton-google* Frodo’s trip to Mordor as a Google Map. Via Boing Boing.

* Aetna to pull out of the Obamacare markets, apparently for revenge. EpiPen Price Hike Has Parents of Kids With Allergies Scrambling Ahead of School Year.

Diagnoses of 9/11-linked cancers have tripled in less than 3 years.

Why gifted kindergarten is 70 percent white. How schools that obsess about standardized tests ruin them as measures of success.

“Clickbait”-esque titles work for academic papers too.

* Why aren’t there more women in Congress?

* What crime is the robbing of a neighborhood, compared to policing it?

These Researchers Are Using Reddit to Teach a Supercomputer to Talk. In a panic, they try to pull the plug…

The Original Plan for Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four Sounds Completely Amazing.

In addition to Annihilus and the Negative Zone, we had Doctor Doom declaring war against the civilized world, the Mole Man unleashing a 60 foot genetically-engineered monster in downtown Manhattan, a commando raid on the Baxter Foundation, a Saving Private Ryan-style finale pitting our heroes against an army of Doombots in war-torn Latveria, and a post-credit teaser featuring Galactus and the Silver Surfer destroying an entire planet. We had monsters and aliens and Fantasticars and a cute spherical H.E.R.B.I.E. robot that was basically BB-8 two years before BB-8 ever existed. And if you think all of that sounds great…well, yeah, we did, too. The problem was, it would have also been massively, MASSIVELY expensive.

By coincidence, we watched the actual Trank Fantastic Four tonight and I was utterly shocked to see that there was almost a decent movie lurking in there somewhere.

Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered.

The spectacle of mixed gender racing unravels fascistic models of sex/gender difference and sex/gender purity.  Every woman runner competes with the lie that men are faster than women. That fiction can only be maintained by ensuring that men and women never run with each other — when men and women run with each other, they scale down each other’s understanding of their differences. The Life and Murder of Stella Walsh, Intersex Olympic Champion. Capturing Semenya.

The Forgotten Tale of How America Converted Its 1980 Olympic Village Into a Prison.

That time NASA accidentally sold a piece of irreplaceable Apollo history for less than $1,000.

* Nothing gold can stay: The Heidelberg Project is coming down.

* Allow me to recommend the Julia Louis-Dreyfus portion of this episode of the Katie Couric Podcast, where she talks Veep, Hillary Clinton, and Trump. The Al Franken episode is pretty good too.

* This episode of Criminal, on the founder of The Leaky Cauldron’s experience of being cyber-stalked for eight years, is also a really fascinating listen.

* I’m sad about this, but it’s probably time: Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman Announces End of Long-Running Superhero Comic Invincible.

“Distance from center of diagram measures explanatory generality, comprehensive power, & potential banality”

Perhaps, once at a summer barbecue, when both were still alive, Maude grabbed Marge’s hand under the table and held tight.

* Meritocracy and system dysfunction. Meritocracy and system dysfunction and free tuition at public colleges.

* One of the biggest crime waves in America isn’t what you think it is: wage theft.

The race of the police officer doesn’t matter. The race of the mayorimplementing the policy doesn’t matter. What matters is who enjoys a “right to the city” — and who gets thrown up against a wall and patted down.

New Museum Connects History of Slavery to Mass Incarceration.

* Elsewhere at Jacobin: Jacobin vs. Scientology.

* google sugar high truth

Scenes From the Terrifying, Already Forgotten JFK Airport Shooting That Wasn’t.

* Stranger Things, Parallel Universes, and the State of String Theory. And an interesting proposition from Chuck Rybak: Is the ubiquity of cell phones driving the nostalgia craze in film and TV?

* Please don’t mess this up: Marvel And Hulu Announce Runaways TV Series.

* Or this one either: Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar return for animated Batman movie.

* What killed The Nightly Show?

* When Nixon almost implemented universal basic income.

* Understanding the Harambe meme. Understanding the bees are dying at an alarming rate meme.

* A list of 150+ SF Writers of Asian Descent.

* Terraforming Mars without Nukes.

Gins often said that the reason she and Arakawa made art and architecture was to “construct optimism.” Their whole philosophy began there, in the desire to embrace being alive and to shift their focus away from the certainty of death. Gins made the choice to believe that art, and her work, were strong enough to do that. It was her version of faith, and her work made that faith solid, physical. Her life, like all our lives, was often filled with sadness and difficulty. There were periods of depression, anxiety, sick parents, financial problems, her husband’s illness and death. Through it all, she insisted not just on continuing to live, but on living forever. Trying to build a world where fewer people suffered made her own suffering bearable. A year and a half after Arakawa’s death, Gins recalled in a letter to a friend her struggle to move forward. “Despite my shattered state,” she wrote, “in spite of the gaping hole that had been punched into my optimism, I asserted that nothing is of more interest than to be alive.”

J.K. Rowling announces new Harry Potter short story collections.

* Stop me if you’ve heard this one: In the 136 years scientists have been tracking global temperatures, there has never been a warmer month than this July, according a new NASA report. 

* Arctic Cruises for the Wealthy Could Fuel a Climate Change ‘Feedback Loop’.

* RIP John McLaughlin, who I watched with my father every week for a decade. Bye-bye.

* Dune, as it was always meant to be experienced.

* Feet of clay: Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland vs. the unions.

* Exercise we can believe in: Watching horror films burns nearly 200 calories a time.

* And physicists may have discovered a fifth fundamental force of nature. This is the one that gives people superpowers, I know it.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 19, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning Links Has Tied the Record for Most Wins in a Single Season

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* Ecotopia 2121: Visions of Our Future Green Utopia.

Kids Can Sue Over Climate Negligence, Judge Says.

This is all to say that it would be very surprising, not to mention ill-advised, for DC/WB to go forward with the franchise without making significant adjustments. Every other studio has either scrapped a franchise or made significant changes to movies that had far higher multipliers than BvS. Also, people should be careful not to simply look at the total gross of a movie to gauge its success, particularly franchise movies. For instance, although BvS will have a similar gross to Guardians of the Galaxy and be in the ball park of Deadpool, the high multipliers for those movies indicate that fans crave sequels or are eager to watch similar movies. BvS’s low multiplier suggest that people were curious to check out the movie and/or were lured in with the heavy marketing, but ultimately decided that the movie was not for them.

Inside the New DC Fan Schism.

* Feminists of Wakanda.

The feminist critique of comics has made “not asking” a lot harder. That, in itself, is a victory. The point is not to change the thinking of the active sexist. (Highly unlikely.) The point is  to force the passive sexist to take responsibility for his own thoughts.

* Huge, if true: They Don’t Just Hide Their Money. Economist Says Most of Billionaire Wealth is Unearned.

The Coming Left-Wing Majority.

How to Place “Humanities” Next to “Future” Without the Adjective “Dire” (or, Why Entry Level Courses Matter).

Faculty Salaries Show Strong Recovery From Recession. NO COMMENT

What We’re (Really) Talking About When We Talk About “Time to Read.”

Every time MaxMind’s database has been queried about the location of an IP address in the United States it can’t identify, it has spit out the default location of a spot two hours away from the geographic center of the country. This happens a lot: 5,000 companies rely on MaxMind’s IP mapping information, and in all, there are now over 600 million IP addresses associated with that default coordinate. If any of those IP addresses are used by a scammer, or a computer thief, or a suicidal person contacting a help line, MaxMind’s database places them at the same spot: 38.0000,-97.0000. Which happens to be in the front yard of Joyce Taylor’s house.

* Rejected Princesses. The backstory.

* Unraveled: The Mystery Of The Secret Street Artist In Boston.

* Scenes from the Dem primary: Bernie Sanders, socialist mayor (1985). Past cases suggest Hillary won’t be indicted.

The U.S. Is Failing Miserably on Six of 10 Markers of Gender Equality.

* What could possibly go wrong? Gun Company Turns Real Handgun Into Clone Of The Nintendo ‘Duck Hunt’ Zapper.

For the First Time In A Century, Wild Tiger Populations Are Beginning to Rebound.

The Wire Creator Eyes Series on Spanish Civil War.

At HubSpot, the software company where I worked for almost two years, when you got fired, it was called “graduation.” We all would get a cheery email from the boss saying, “Team, just letting you know that X has graduated and we’re all excited to see how she uses her superpowers in her next big adventure.” One day this happened to a friend of mine. She was 35, had been with the company for four years, and was told without explanation by her 28-year-old manager that she had two weeks to get out. On her last day, that manager organized a farewell party for her.

* Consider this: for almost 2,000 years and counting the entirety of Western culture has been brainwashed. The fields of biology, economics, religion, and psychology are built on a lie. Even those who self-consciously reject this falsehood are subconsciously shaped by it. It’s unavoidable and all pervasive. It’s made us who we are. Indeed, it’s turning us into monsters. What is this lie exactly? It’s the assumption that humans are born bad.

I called Sweden’s new national number to talk to a random Swedish person.

* What Are The Demographics Of Heaven?

The criminal justice system encourages prosecutors to get guilty verdicts by any means necessary—and to stand by even the most questionable convictions. Can one crusading court stop the lying and cheating?

* And getting ready for Wednesday: a people’s history of the Crying Jordan meme.

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Thursday Morning Link Transmission!

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* American says no to MOOCs. So does SFSU.

* Meanwhile, Florida Polytechnic University says no to tenure.

“We want to be a leading university, and we wanted to attract faculty who think out of the box, and who are ambitious and creative,” said Ghazi Darkazalli, vice president of academic affairs. “We don’t want them to be worrying within the first five or six years whether they’re going to be tenured or not.”

Far better for them to spend those five or six years trying to get a TT job at another school.

* The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study.

* Scenes from the Fitness Palace at Purdue.

* In practice, however, that doesn’t happen. The scholarships go towards “merit aid”, which is often, dismayingly enough, a polite way of saying that the college is helping to pay for wealthy kids to attend, even if they’re not particularly smart. Some 20% of students with GPAs below 2.0, for instance, receive merit aid. And at the same time, the “need aid” is carefully calibrated so that poor kids won’t take the colleges up on their offers… See also: Colleges Soak Poor U.S. Students as Aid Funneled to Rich.

* The Troubling Viral Trend of the “Hilarious” Black Neighbor. And its equally unhappy, equally exploitative shadow.

* Elizabeth Warren wants to cut student interest rates to near zero.

* Food service workers in St. Louis have gone on strike. So might adjuncts in Chicago. Amazon workers sue over mandatory post-shift search. Cooper Union Students Occupy President’s Office To Protest Tuition.

* Why Cops Bust Down Doors of Medical Pot Growers, But Ignore Men Who Keep Naked Girls on Leashes.

* NYC Considering Allowing Non-Citizens To Vote. Good!

* “Demolishing the Competition: The Longitudinal Link Between Competitive Video Games, Competitive Gambling, and Aggression,” a new study that will appear in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found that aggressive behavior is tied to competition, not violence, in videogames and gambling, according to Forbes.

* Scientists also say that guns are bad, glass is not a liquid, and the Toba catastrophe may not have happened.

* This 17-Year-Old Coder Is Saving Twitter From TV Spoilers (Spoiler: She’s a Girl).

* Here’s another example — I’ve watched every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (several times) and I never noticed that Riker doesn’t know how to use a chair. When the guy sits down he pulls the chair back and dramatically slings his leg over the back of it like he’s mounting a freakin’ horse. He apparently does this all the time, regardless of the situation. It’s nuts.

* Is Limbaugh finished?

* Lucas wanted Indiana Jones 2 to be a dinosaur movie. I honestly can’t decide if this is the best or the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

Monday Morning MOOCWatch

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Steven D. Krause takes Duke’s composition MOOC and comes away unimpressed.

So again, MOOCs exemplify the problem of scalability of teaching (versus content), and content does not equal teaching. If all it took was content for students to learn something and/or if teaching– actual small group interaction with a teacher and a group of students– wasn’t necessary for students to succeed or for learning to be assessed, then “Education” wouldn’t exist.  Instead, we would just have some kind of system that makes content available to students (online or in books, for free or for some kind of cost) so they can read that content and complete the exercises. Then students could finish the assignments and send them in (probably for some kind of fee) to have them evaluated for credit. Simple as that.

Except that doesn’t turn out to work.

Real college classes have writing assignments and required reading.

The trend should be clear now: MOOC providers don’t want to scare off potential students with too much work. Talk about teaching in a strait jacket! This is exactly why higher education should never be privatized in the first place. It degrades the quality of the product…a lot.

I’m sorry if this bursts anyone’s bubble, but watching videos on the Internet and maybe writing a few very short essays that the professor never sees isn’t college. Real college classes have writing assignments and required reading. Real college classes require access to the professor. To say MOOCs like these can somehow replace an actual college education is tantamount to fraud.

“Absent strong leadership, however, there is a high probability that any productivity gains from online education will be used to gild the education/research lily,” [Bowen] writes in the book.

Bowen also takes the hype about MOOCs with a grain of salt.

“Missionaries don’t particularly want their methods tested – they are missionaries after all,” he warned.

The missionaries include MOOC providers, the media, administrators and business-minded higher education policymakers, Bowen writes.

“There is a real danger that the media frenzy associated with MOOCs will lead some colleges and universities (and especially business-oriented members of their boards) to embrace too tightly the MOOC approach before it is adequately tested and found to be both sustainable and capable of delivering good learning outcomes for all kinds of students,” he writes.

Bowen also predicts coming debates about faculty governance and intellectual property as faculty members team up to teach courses or use an online course from another institution to aid them in their own classrooms.

“It’s less possible to talk about my course – quote, unquote; you have to talk about ‘our course,’ ” he said.

* The meme hustler.

However, it’s not his politics that makes O’Reilly the most dangerous man in Silicon Valley; a burgeoning enclave of Randian thought, it brims with far nuttier cases. O’Reilly’s mastery of public relations, on the other hand, is unrivaled and would put many of Washington’s top spin doctors to shame. No one has done more to turn important debates about technology—debates that used to be about rights, ethics, and politics—into kumbaya celebrations of the entrepreneurial spirit while making it seem as if the language of economics was, in fact, the only reasonable way to talk about the subject. As O’Reilly discovered a long time ago, memes are for losers; the real money is in epistemes.

* And even the liberal New Republic… MOOCs of Hazard.

And yet it’s one thing to expect brilliant teens or medical students to be self-starters. It’s another to teach students who are in need of close guidance. A recent report from the Community College Research Center at Columbia finds that underprepared students taking online courses are, according to one of the authors, “falling farther behind than if they were taking face-to-face courses.” Michael Crow, one of the architects of Fathom and now president of Arizona State University and certainly no traditionalist, warns against a future in which “rich kids get taught by professors and poor kids get taught by computer.”

Sunday Links

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Suff1(some shamelessly borrowed from you-know-who)

* Britain paid reparations for slavery? That’s fantast–oh god.

The true scale of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country’s wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

Fathers matter, but so do grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Indeed, it may take as long as 300-500 years for high- and low-status families to produce descendants with equal chances of being in various parts of the income spectrum.

* The Ambition Gap: When researchers have studied the ambition gap, they’ve discovered something peculiar: It’s not there. Women do ask for more. They just aren’t rewarded for it. Via Feminéma.

7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown-Up Literature. Joyce! Twain! Woolf! Eliot! Shelley! Tolstoy! Wilde! 7 (More) Obscure Children’s Books by Famous “Adult” Lit Authors. Huxley! Stein! Thurber! Sandburg! Rushdie! Fleming! Hughes!

* Actually existing media bias: Glenn Greenwald on what’s become of MSNBC.

I wonder: does someone who goes from being an Obama White House spokesman and Obama campaign official to being an MSNBC contributor even notice that they changed jobs?

* Mentoring and cruel optimism.

* Race and the cuts at Emory.

* Rehabilitating Zero Dark Thirty.

Susan Sontag once wrote that every mass art form is practiced and experienced as “a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.” Zero Dark Thirty’s critics, unwilling to understand themselves as the film’s intended audience, instead imagined that “real Americans” were being made tools of power through one of their most important social rites: moviegoing. What these critics did not confront was their own need to fend off anxiety. For Maya, as for many Americans, the anxiety has to do with the inadequacy of Osama bin Laden’s death as consolation for all of the disasters that preceded it. How else to explain the manic focus on proving that torture did not contribute to the search for bin Laden? It suggests a kind of desperation, a desire to hold up just this one episode as separate and different from the rest of the war. This desire is Zero Dark Thirty’s true subject, as well as the object of its critique.

‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis.’

The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose, the Most Reviled Six-Year-Old Girl on the Internet. People are the worst. Jesus Christ.

* Texts from Pride and Prejudice. Texts from Don Quixote.

* Ten Little Suffragettes.

* George Saunders, lapsed Catholic.

* Papal Conclave 101.

Perhaps the classic expression of this idea belongs to none other than the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

Then the clincher:

There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

* Hayley Schafer chose her dream job at the age of 5. Three years later, her grandmother told her that if she wrote it down, the dream would come true. So she found a piece of blue construction paper and scrawled on it with a pencil: “Veterianian.” “No one told me how to spell it,” she remembers. “They just said, ‘Sound it out.’ ”

At the age of 30, she still has the sign, which is framed on her desk at the Caring Hearts Animal Clinic in Gilbert, Ariz., where she works as a vet. She also has $312,000 in student loans, courtesy of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Or rather, $312,000 was what she owed the last time she could bring herself to log into the Sallie Mae account that tracks the ever-growing balance.

* The Cost of Prison.

* A brief history of the car cup holder.

* Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male.

* Oscar Pistorius and the Media. The curious case of Reeva Steenkamp’s boyfriend. Inspiration porn and compulsory able bodiedness.

* Stay Free or Die Tryin’: Scenes from the student protests at Cooper Union.

Hidden behind a false wall and a fast-food restaurant, large black and brown images depict the faces of seven UCLA alumni, symbolizing the struggle of social activism and black history.

* Could a president use drones to kill journalists?

* Being David Bowie.

But what I wanted to talk about is the way that the Harlem Shake meme seems perfectly designed for the workplace.