Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Moby-Dick

Friday Morning!

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* Waste your weekend the Manufactoria way. This is one of the best flash games I’ve ever played, I think—it hits the same sweet spot of manic focus for me as doing discrete math problems did back in college. (Thanks, Neil!)

* xkcd finds an impressive new angle on the ancient killing-Hitler time-travel gag.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a clever about a cliched political metaphor.

* Photos of People Riding Invisible Bikes.

* Superhero photobombs. (Thanks, Lindsey!)

* Tom Chatfield interviews China Miéville.

Tom: Today, of course, you go online, and you can see that the Wikipedia entries for something like Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes are higher quality, better-referenced, longer and better-researched than many entries about the Second World War. You have this strange inversion in collective belief and emphasis, which ends up generating a lot more material a lot more confidently around the small stuff than the big stuff.

China: This is one of the bad things about the geekocratic moment. Even speaking as someone who loves geek culture at its best, nevertheless I think the sense of priorities is often skewed to the point of being demented.

Tom: Passion is very distorting. If the only reference you have is the strength of your own feeling, and you don’t temper it with something like a sense of social good or importance…

China: Yes, if you don’t contextualize it, it becomes disaggregated from totality—and ultimately it’s totality that one is interested in, social totality.

* The Two Guys from Andromeda are on Kickstarter looking for funds for what sounds like an unofficial Space Quest sequel.

* And in a rare bit of good news: Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Purging Voter Rolls.

Monday!

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* The e-Rater’s biggest problem, he says, is that it can’t identify truth. He tells students not to waste time worrying about whether their facts are accurate, since pretty much any fact will do as long as it is incorporated into a well-structured sentence. “E-Rater doesn’t care if you say the War of 1812 started in 1945,” he said. As Kevin Drum notes, this may less a bug than a feature in these benighted times.

* The White House Correspondents’ Dinner may be fascism with a human face, but at least there’s Stephen Colbert.

Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall: President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.

Give it up everybody. David Koch.

Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.

Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential. Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million. That’s kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room. I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC. And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke.

By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.

* Podcast of the day: “Bombing Savages in Law, in Fact, in Fiction” from Sven Lindqvist.

* n+1 talks debt.

Last quick point on student loans: If I am driving around while texting, and I negligently run over and kill a child, or if I am in a gambling institution and I have an 11 and the dealer has an ace, and I mistakenly double down and get a huge gambling debt—those kind of debts—hurting someone, killing someone, gambling debts, or all kinds of other debts—are treated less harshly under our bankruptcy code than the debts associated with trying to educate yourself. Student loans are the most repressive kind of debts under the legal structures that we have. These are democratic bills. People voted for them. Hillary Clinton voted for the 2005 bankruptcy bill. Biden voted for it; Biden pushed it. These are things we have chosen, and they are incredibly repressive for student debts.

More here.

* All about Paul Ryan.

* Academic advice: How to apply for things.

* zunguzungu explains the albatross on Johnny Depp’s brain.

* Life inside the Earth Liberation Front.

* Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!

“ ‘Moby-Dick’ is about the oil industry,” they said. “And the Ship of American State. The owners of the Pequod are rapacious and stingy religious hypocrites. The ship’s business is to butcher whales and turn them into an industrial energy product. The mates are the middle management. The harpooners, who are from races colonized by America one way or another, are supplying the expert tech labor. Elijah the prophet — from the American artist caste — foretells the Pequod’s doom, which comes about because the chief executive, Ahab, is a megalomaniac who wants to annihilate nature.

“Nature is symbolized by a big white whale, which has interfered with Ahab’s personal freedom by biting off his leg and refusing to be slaughtered and boiled. The narrator, Ishmael, represents journalists; his job is to warn America that it’s controlled by psychotics who will destroy it, because they hate the natural world and don’t grasp the fact that without it they will die. That’s enough literature for now. Can we have popcorn?”

How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes.

* The Avengers Has Earned $178.4 Million, And It Hasn’t Even Opened in the U.S. Yet.

* And here comes the Portal 2 DLC.

Busy, Busy, Busy

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Busy, busy, busy, as the Bokononists say.

* Sci-Fi has put out a “Catch the Frak Up” video for the last four seasons of Battlestar Galactica.

* All about Patrick Fitzgerald, the man everybody wants to put in charge of everything.

* Daily Routines: how writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days. Via MeFi, which has some greatest hits.

* In 1945, after the atomic destruction of two Japanese cities, J. Robert Oppenheimer expressed foreboding about the spread of nuclear arms. “They are not too hard to make,” he told his colleagues on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, N.M. “They will be universal if people wish to make them universal.” How the bomb spread (and didn’t) around the world.

* The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has named WALL-E the best film of the year. It’s a bit of a strange choice against Dark Knight and Synecdoche, among others, but WALL-E was a hell of a good film, potentially a very important one, and damnit if I don’t love Pixar.

* No book more deeply and revealingly explains the spasm of madness through which the United States has passed in recent years than Moby Dick. For generations, it has been considered a masterpiece of world literature, but now can it be seen as an eerily prophetic allegory about 21st-century America. It is now truly the nation’s epic.

* The Barack Obama of 2018 has been playing video games all his life.

* Everybody loves Silent Star Wars.

* Pharyngula has been having an awful lot of fun with found images lately.

* Has Greenpeace been rating Apple unfairly?

* Will we nationalize the auto companies?

* And the good news: Gabriel García Márquez is still writing after all.

‘How Fan Fiction Can Teach Us a New Way to Read Moby-Dick’

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How fan fiction can teach us a new way to read Moby-Dick: Parts 1 and 2.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 24, 2008 at 4:29 am

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Wordle

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One of my students showed me Wordle the other day, and it’s already one of my favorite Internet widgets. Steamboats Are Ruining Everything has a fun Wordle of Moby-Dick (click to enlarge):

While I of course prefer a Wordle of some of my own writing at culturemonkey:

Written by gerrycanavan

July 5, 2008 at 2:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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