Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Muppets

Weekend Links!

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* I have a short essay in the New Orleans Review‘s science fiction issue. Check it out! (Sorry, it’s not online.)

* CFP: Special Issue of American Literature: “Queer about Comics.”

* Academics of color experience an enervating visibility, but it’s not simply that we’re part of a very small minority. We are also a desired minority, at least for appearance’s sake. University life demands that academics of color commodify themselves as symbols of diversity—in fact, as diversity itself, since diversity, in this context, is located entirely in the realm of the symbolic. There’s a wound in the rupture between the diversity manifested in the body of the professor of color and the realities affecting that person’s community or communities. I, for example, am a black professor in the era of mass incarceration of black people through the War on Drugs; I am a Somali American professor in the era of surveillance and drone strikes perpetuated through the War on Terror.

Universities love a flagship building that sets them apart from the rest. But are they being designed with learning and research in mind?

Cornell Grad Students Form Unrecognized Union.

* The Irony of Catholic Colleges.

* The end of content.

* The end of tenure.

* Fake traffic is rotting the Internet.

* So weird: John Boehner, House Speaker, Will Resign From Congress.

* The College President-to-Adjunct Pay Ratio.

* The Journal of Academic Freedom has a special section devoted to Steven Salaita.

* Science proves you like being ripped off by airlines.

Fordham, Marquette rescind honorary degrees they gave Cosby.

Here’s More Evidence That Galactic Super-Civilizations Don’t Exist. Yet!

What a massive sexual assault survey found at 27 top U.S. universities. Counterpoint: The latest big sexual assault survey is (like others) more hype than science. Counter-counterpoint: The University of Chicago’s message to the Class of 2019: Don’t be a rapist.

* Speech and the campus newspaper at Wesleyan. And from the Southern Poverty Law Center: Campus Newspaper Thefts since 2000.

* Today in the apocalypse: Why some scientists are worried about a surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean.

* Ahmed’s Clock, Banneker’s Clock, and the Racial Surveillance of Invention in America.

* “Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges.”

A recent study suggests that acetaminophen—found in Tylenol, Excedrin and a host of other medications—is an all-purpose damper, stifling a range of strong feelings. Throbbing pain, the sting of rejection, paralyzing indecision—along with euphoria and delight—all appear to be taken down a notch by the drug.

Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software. Volkswagen hires BP’s Deepwater defense team as the lawsuits start. But it’s not all bad news.

Stojcevski was sent to the Macomb County Jail in Mt. Clemens, Mich., on June 11, 2014, to serve a 30-day sentence after failing to appear in court over a ticket for careless driving, according to the lawsuit. During the 16 days between his imprisonment and his death, the lawsuit alleges, staff at the jail knowingly allowed him to suffer through “excruciating” acute withdrawal without treatment.

Inside the collapse of Scott Walker’s presidential bid.

* Inside Retraction Watch.

* Inside Salvador Dali’s Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Rather than fighting for more and better work, we should fight for more time to use as we please. Proposals like a universal basic income may well lead to this. Most importantly, in thinking about the time bind, we should keep in mind what it would mean to be really free from it. We should keep in mind the full possibilities of liberation: what we want is not to be allowed to work more or in better conditions, but to be allowed to live as we see fit.

* Counterpoint: Against UBI.

* I had nightmares like this: What If the Answer Isn’t College, but Longer High School?

* A Urine Collection Bag from Apollo 11 marked with the initials “NA.”

* The Bowe Bergdahl case is a weird choice for Serial season two, but I suppose nearly anything would be.

Netflix Data Reveals Exactly When TV Shows Hook Viewers — And It’s Not the Pilot.

* DC reboots the Spectre.

* Happy Birthday, everyone.

* …the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.

* Honestly this would work pretty well for academics too.

* Listen, this is just getting silly now.

We have burned all the furniture for fuel and we’re starting to chop away at the deck. We are a terrible, dispirited society and we finally have the terrible, dispirited Muppets we deserve.

What Can ‘Star Trek’ Teach Us About American Exceptionalism?

* Rude hand gestures from around the world.

* And I’m devoting the rest of my career to the Mysteries of the Unknown books, now that I’ve been reminded they exist.


Written by gerrycanavan

September 26, 2015 at 9:00 am

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

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.


Written by gerrycanavan

September 17, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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The Prophecy Was True: More Tuesday Links

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* Eight short science fiction stories.

* On running an arcade in 2015.

Dear Dad, Send Money – Letters from Students in the Middle Ages.

The University of Iowa’s new president has no experience, no ideas, and flubbed his own résumé.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 22: Collaboration (1 of 2).

NCTE Statement Affirming #BlackLivesMatter.

Wes Craven gentrified the exploitation genre, but by the end of his career he was priced out himself.

* The past is another country: the town where Emmett Till was lynched is disappearing.

* “I’m a public defender. It’s impossible for me to do a good job representing my clients.”

* Wage theft in America.

Here’s What I Saw in a California Town Without Running Water.

Refugees are the price we pay for a globalised economy in which commodities – but not people – are permitted to circulate freely. The idea of porous borders, of being inundated by foreigners, is immanent to global capitalism. The migrations in Europe are not unique. In South Africa, more than a million refugees from neighbouring states came under attack in April from the local poor for stealing their jobs. There will be more of these stories, caused not only by armed conflict but also by economic crises, natural disasters, climate change and so on. There was a moment, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, when the Japanese authorities were preparing to evacuate the entire Tokyo area – more than twenty million people. If that had happened, where would they have gone? Should they have been given a piece of land to develop in Japan, or been dispersed around the world? What if climate change makes northern Siberia more habitable and appropriate for agriculture, while large parts of sub-Saharan Africa become too dry to support a large population? How will the redistribution of people be organised? When events of this kind happened in the past, the social transformations were wild and spontaneous, accompanied by violence and destruction. Slavoj Žižek on the refugee crisis.

* “On Queer Privilege.” Postcolonial theory has faced versions of this dilemma from time to time.

A Comprehensive List of Every Rick and Morty Universe So Far.

* Why Maria Left Sesame Street.

* Netflix to continue the best SF show of the decade? Yes please.

10 of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s best Muppet Labs experiments, rated for scientific accuracy.

Superhero Comics for Little Superheroes: Caped crusaders are not just not just for kids anymore.

* Ashes to ashes, mall to mall.

* And for your consideration: the greatest gif in world history.


Thursday Links!

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* A reminder: Marquette English has three open TT positions this year, two in rhet-comp and one in transatlantic Anglophone. The deadline is October 28.

If I were going to encourage you to take any one class simply because it’s good for the freshman soul, I would say this: Take some introductory literature class that forces you to memorize poems, heaps and gobs and mounds of poems, old poems.

* Jameson on time travel in the LRB.

* AAUP v. LSU.

* Leftist academics need to understand they are embattled both as leftists and as academics.

This afternoon at two o’clock the New York State Attorney General will announce the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Committee to Save Cooper Union, a group of activist students, faculty, and alumni against the Cooper Union trustees. The settlement will impose various reforms to Cooper Union governance, establish an independent financial monitor for the college, and begin the slow, difficult process of re-establishing Cooper Union as a free, healthy institution. Incredible turn of events. The tragedy of Cooper Union.

* A Proposed Heuristic for Academic Budgeting Decisions.

NY Fed Study Should Redefine How We Think About Student Loans and College Costs.

“Thanks, UCF, for having lecture-capture courses so I don’t have to go to class ever.”

A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself. I continue to think Democrats are completely in denial about how bad this story could get.

Massive hurricanes striking Miami or Houston. Earthquakes leveling Los Angeles or Seattle. Deadly epidemics. Meet the “maximums of maximums” that keep emergency planners up at night.

The Moral Panic Over Sexting. Today’s obscenity.

The Accreditation Wars: Where are the Faculty?

* Some rules for teachers.

* Films for the feminist classroom.

The proportion of people with intellectual disability who have been treated with psychotropic drugs far exceeds the proportion with recorded mental illness. Antipsychotics are often prescribed to people without recorded severe mental illness but who have a record of challenging behaviour. The findings suggest that changes are needed in the prescribing of psychotropics for people with intellectual disability.

Boom shakalaka! Read an interview with the NBA Jam voiceover artist.

* Concrete Action, the Wikileaks for architects.

* I’ll take three.

* Yahoo has added commentary tracks from Dan Harmon to its Community episodes.

* Harvard will let students select their own pronouns.

Iceland Caps Syrian Refugees at 50; More Than 10,000 People Respond With Support for Syrian Refugees.

* American Chess May Finally Emerge From The Shadow Of Bobby Fischer.

Meet the Twitter Bot Generating Unnervingly Plausible Think Pieces.

* Another Colbert profile.

California Uber Drivers Can Proceed With Their Class Action.

* Wow, finally: Octavia Butler’s Dawn is allegedly being developed for TV.

* Goonies forever.

* Piggy, Kermit, and domestic violence. Next up: why Elmer Fudd hunting animals out of season is actually no laughing matter…

Tuesday Links, So Many

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* Special issue of Modern Language Quarterly on “Our Obstinate Future” from Ryan Vu and Sharif Youssef.

Historicizing the concept of the inevitable in literature presents many challenges. For inevitability is itself a theory of historical agency, and an adequate critical account must confront inevitability’s claims without simply falling back on conventional notions of freedom, originality, or creative expression. Indeed, the inevitable is not merely a discourse to be cataloged by positivist historiography; it names a threat to any attempt at making humanity the author of its own experience. In its antique versions, women and men chalked their situation up to fate and diagnosed their historical condition through prophecy. In the late medieval era, more sophisticated but equally deterministic accounts of humanity’s relationship to historical change came into circulation, such as Calvinist predestination, fatalism, modern compatibilism, probabilism, and the acceptance of political economy as a science. Eventually, Charles Darwin’s natural history posited the inevitability of extinction in conditions of scarcity. The politicization of inevitability and conflicting visions of civilizational collapse followed, with communism and capitalism each decrying the other as a doomed system to be overcome. Friedrich Nietzsche’s eternal return recast inevitability as the nonlinear recurrence of intensifying crises. Walter Benjamin wrote of an angel of history who is condemned to look back on the wreckage of civilization. Today, in the wake of both historicopolitical optimism and existential pessimism, notions of the Anthropocene present a fatal paradox: the effects of human industry have set in motion a geological transformation that modern civilization might well not survive. The concept of the inevitable spins these discourses into a common thread, as so many attempts to diagnose the fundamental problem of human agency’s internal limits as expressed in time, along with whatever consolatory freedoms we might draw from our constraints.

It is easy for left academics to be seduced by a rhetoric of public consumption for our work, since most of us see theory and practice as intermingled. But the American case should stand as warning for British academics. For many years, Usonian scholars chased the mirage of being “public intellectuals”. Few realized, however, that this means depending on their institution to protect them from the onslaught of a rabid conservative media machine. When the dogs of reaction barked in the culture wars, though, American deans slunk away, fearing damage to their own managerial careers. Progressive scholars without the protective benefit of a strong Left were abandoned to fend for themselves against unfair odds, since the spectacular “public sphere” is never a level playing ground in the age of Fox News.

The New York Times Confirms Academic Stereotypes: Two months of opinion essays on higher education.

The athletic department’s four-year hidden tax may very well exceed $4,000 per student. In 2014 the subsidy rose to more than $27 million, a 25-percent increase.

The women who originally celebrated Mother’s Day conceived of it as an occasion to use their status as mothers to protest injustice and war.

A Medievalist on Savage Love. Hi, Matt!

* “2015 is my 25th year of adjunct teaching.” Oh, oh no.

Complaint Claims University Where Student Was Killed Failed To Act On Relentless Yik Yak Threats. Horrifying story on every level.

* Another moral panic against a left-wing academic. Six more weeks of winter.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, was established in 1965 and has long been known for its radicalism. But officials’ reaction to a recent protest against tuition hikes suggests that times have changed. 

* The rise of “mama.” Interesting to see something we didn’t even know we were doing laid out like this.

Alberta Loses Its Goddamn Mind for the Fourth Time: A Guide for the Perplexed.

* The End of Labour. Labour, Pasokified. The University after Conservative Victory.

Baby kangaroo, goats stolen from Wisconsin zoo.

* For what it’s worth I think the latest big Hersh story is probably mostly garbage.

Report: Defense Dept. paid NFL millions of taxpayer dollars to salute troops. Would you like to know more?

How roleplaying games and fantasy fiction confounded the FBI, confronted the law, and led to a more open web.

The University of Nevada, Reno, a land grant research university, is recruiting for a Coordinator, Innovation and Transformation. This could be the most buzzwordy, administrative-bloaty job ad of all time. It gets better/worse.

* Are we reading and watching Game of Thrones wrong?

Apples for the Teacher, Teacher is an Apple.

After 46 years of playing Big Bird, Caroll Spinney has some great stories.

* The Joss Whedon Avengers 2 podcast.

Marvel accidentally made a great female superhero, and now they have no clue what to do with her.

Judge Dismisses Nebraska Woman’s Lawsuit Against All Homosexuals.

Daily Express And Mail Celebrate The End Of Human Rights, A Horrified Twitter Despairs.

The US payday loans crisis: borrow $100 to make ends meet, owe 36 times that sum.

* New York and the slave trade.

* Headlines from the nightmare future. And again. And again.

How $45 worth of drugs landed a Baltimore man 20 years in prison.

The most senior Baltimore police officer charged over the death of Freddie Gray used his position to order the arrest of a man as part of a personal dispute just two weeks before the fatal incident, prompting an internal inquiry by Baltimore police department.

The mathematically proven winning strategy for 14 of the most popular games.

After an Eighth Grader Stayed Seated During the Pledge of Allegiance, the School Nurse Refused to Treat Her.

The ghetto was a deliberate policy invention, and investing in a path out of it would have been completely contrary to the point of creating it.

“I think we’re ready for capitalism, which made this country so great,” he said. “Public radio is ready for capitalism.”

* The death of the K-cup.

How Marvel Is Killing the Popcorn Movie.

Berkeley to Stop Adding Lecture Videos to YouTube, Citing Budget Cuts.

UBC student writes 52,438 word architecture dissertation with no punctuation — not everyone loved it.

How to Talk to Your Child’s Wary Professors.

Don’t let the police teach your kid a lesson.

Man Banned From Airline Over Frankly Hilarious Pinocchio Tattoo.

An Interview with the Publisher of a Magazine Printed Using HIV-Positive Blood.

In the Suburbs of Amaurotum: Fantasy, Utopia, and Literary Cartography.

Why cloth diapers might not be the greener choice, after all. I’ll believe anything on this subject to be honest.

Dictionary of Regional American English funded through summer 2016.

People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt.

“She’s likely to be in her twenties or thirties, middle-class, probably married, probably Christian, probably average intelligence,” Harrison said. “I just described, you know, your next-door neighbor.”

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal forever.

* The Pope just gave me the thumbs up.

* The arc of history is long, but.

Mother Still Searching For Preschool That Focuses Exclusively On Her Son.

* Great TNG prehistory from David Gerrold on this Mission Log supplemental.

* Kim Stanley Robinson explains his great new novel, Aurora.

Bigfoot Truthers Turn On Their Leaders.

Four Myths About the “Freelancer Class.”

The best way to nab your dream job out of college? Be born rich.

* And another great list of words that can’t be easily translated.


Written by gerrycanavan

May 12, 2015 at 8:07 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Easter Links! Find Them All!

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* The 2015 Hugo nominees have been announced, and they’re a mess. The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political. A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year. The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide. The Biggest Little SF Publisher you never heard of declares war. “Why I Declined a Hugo Award Nomination.”

* And in response to the question “Well, what should have been nominated for a Hugo?”: “Andromache and the Dragon,” by my brilliant Marquette colleague Brittany Pladek!

* “The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany”: In portraying a horde of clones on ‘Orphan Black,’ the actress has created TV’s strangest — and most sophisticated — meditation on femininity. And a special bonus companion piece: Meet The Woman (Besides Tatiana Maslany) Who Plays Every Single “Orphan Black” Clone.

Reddit’s Bizarre, Surreal, Maddening, Hypnotic, Divisive, and Possibly Evil April Fools’ Joke. I’ve become obsessed with this.

* CFP: Ephemeral Television. CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Watching them turn off the Rothkos.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University.

Iran’s Been Two Years Away From a Nuclear Weapon for Three Decades. The Iran deal. What if the Iranians are people too?

So how much money is the NCAA making? In 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting gave the NCAA $10.8 billion for a fourteen-year broadcast monopoly on March Madness games. Estimated ad revenue for the 2013 tournament reached $1.15 billion, while ticket revenue brought in another $71.7 million. Last year no less than thirty-five coaches pulled down salaries higher than $1 million before bonuses; Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski topped the list with an income of more than $9.6 million.

Guarding against the errant, suicidal murderous pilot belongs to a category called “wicked problems” — the complexity of the system and the conflicting incentives mean that every solution introduces another set of problems, so the only way forward is always going to be an imperfect one. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that this once again reveals how, as humans, we are lousy at risk assessment, and also lousy of accepting this weakness. The problem is wicked, but its occurrence is so rare that it is almost unheard of — partly why it terrifies us so. Our imagination, biases and fears are terrible guides to what should actually be done to keep us safer, and this has significant consequences in a whole host of fields, ranging from terrorism to childcare to health-care.

So you see, people like Tim Cook are selective in their moral universalism; morality, it turns out, is universal only insofar as extends to the particular desires of a Western bourgeoisie; deny a gay couple a wedding bouquet that they could get at the florist down the street anyway, and that is a cause for outrage and concern; extract minerals using indentured Congolese servants, well, look, we’ve got marginal cost to consider! The moral argument, it turns out, curdles when exposed to the profit motive, and the universality of justice actually does end at certain borders, one way or another.

How the Slave Trade Built America.

* But unlike its predecessor, the show has no obvious narrative progression. Nacho’s important, or he’s not; the Kettlemans are half the show, or maybe we should care about Sandpiper. There are flashbacks to Jimmy’s past where Bob Odenkirk is playing either 25 or 57—a savvy criminal or a neophyte screw-up. In the lead-up to Better Call Saul, there were theories that the show would be funnier than Breaking Bad (maybe a sitcom?) or more procedural than Breaking Bad (maybe The Good Wife for bad boys?) or more episodic (like X-Files with lawyers!). None of that is true, and all of that is true. It’s interesting, but not the way great TV is interesting. Better Call Saul reminds me more of Treme or John From Cincinnati: post-masterpiece meanders. 

* In TV’s Silver Age, a logjam of shows that are ‘pretty good,’ but not great.

Here’s A Map That Shows All The Future Megacities From Science Fiction.

* Can science fiction be a form of social activism? Walidah Imarisha thinks so, and she’s recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.

* Johns Hopkins Faces $1-Billion Lawsuit Over U.S. Experiments in Guatemala.

*, blogging from seven years in the future.

* Are Aliens Behind Mysterious Radio Bursts? Scientists Weigh In.

* Calif. Governor Orders Mandatory Water Restrictions For 1st Time In History. It’s up to us to singlehandedly save california from drought by turning off the tap when we brush our teeth! California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago. California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth. R.I.P. California (1850-2016): What We’ll Lose And Learn From The World’s First Major Water Collapse. Children of the Drought.

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

* Oceans might take 1,000 years to recover from climate change, study suggests.

Drug field tests used by cops are so bad they react positively to air, soap, candy.

* Trolley Problem: The Game. Advanced Trolley Problems.

* Scott Walker’s budget cuts $5.7 million from pollution control efforts.

The Most Popular Antidepressants Are Based On A Theory We Know Is Wrong. Most antidepressant users have never had depression.

* 12 New Science Fiction Comics You Absolutely Need to be Reading.

* From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics Read More: Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics.

* Hero Price Is Right model begins the revolution by just giving away a car.

* First as an unexpectedly great show, then as I don’t know it doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.

All told, the “Detroit Industry” frescoes are probably as close as this country gets to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

* The happiness spigot.

New report says manned Mars mission could reach orbit by 2033, land by 2039.

Clarke makes her point not with stirring courtroom rhetoric or devastating legal arguments but by a process of relentless accretion, case by case, win by win. This is her cause. Because if the state cannot put these defendants to death, then how can it put anyone to death? Thirty-five executions took place in the United States in 2014 for crimes that form an inventory of human cruelty—and yet few were as willful and egregious as those committed by Judy Clarke’s clients.

Here is an example of the priorities in New York state’s budget: There is no increase in the minimum wage, but purchasers of yachts that cost more than $230,000 are exempt from the sales tax.

* U.S. Court Officially Rules that Friendship Is Worthless.

Tales from the Trenches: I was SWATed.

Texas Just Does Not Care How Hot Its Prisons Get.

* Duke tries throwing polio at cancer, as you do.

* Interesting article on design: The Secret History of the Apple Watch.

Senate Republicans say the current system is unfair because rural residents are effectively supporting urban counties’ schools and services when they shop there. Yes, that’s literally how the system is intended to function.

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust.

* So you want to resurrect a college.

These Slow-Motion Videos of Fluids Vibrating on Speakers Are Wonderful.

* Now Full House, and the Muppets too.

These Photos Of Melanie Griffith And Her Pet Lion In The 1970s Are Everything. (UPDATE: Here’s the article that seems to be the original source, plus a little bit on Roar’s rerelease. Noteworthy lines from Wikipedia: “Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film.”)

* Being Andre.

Landlord Sends Man $1,200 Bill To Cleanup His Roommate’s Blood, Who Was Shot Dead By Police.

Stan VHS, A Tumblr Blog Featuring 1980s-Style VHS Cover Art for Modern Television Shows and Movies.

A Linguistic Comparison of Letters of Recommendation for Male and Female Chemistry and Biochemistry Job Applicants.

* SF Short of the Weekend: “Burnt Grass.”

* …and your short short of the weekend: “No One Is Thirsty.”

* I finally found enough time to be annoyed by Obama interviewing David Simon about The Wire.

* This Easter, we remember.

* And because you demanded it: An oral history of Max Headroom.


Written by gerrycanavan

April 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links! So Many!

with 4 comments

Harris Wittels has died. I really loved his appearances on Earwolf, but the one I keep thinking about is his appearance on “You Made It Weird” last November, where he spoke about his addiction at length. The humblebrag.

* Oliver Sacks writes about his terminal cancer diagnosis in the New York Times.

* The Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference began today. This year’s theme is “Animacy” and both Lee Edelman and Lauren Berlant are keynotes.

* TNI has a great excerpt from the beginning of Creepiness.

* A President’s Day remembrance of Ona Judge.

* Neill Blomkamp is making an Alien. ​The Man In The High Castle Gets Series Order From Amazon. Amazon should greenlight this next.

* The City and the City may be a BBC drama. I would have said it was unfilmable, but sure, let’s give it a try.

* Boston’s winter from hell. What the massive snowfall in Boston tells us about global warming.

A Siberian blast—seriously, this air is from Siberia—has turned the eastern U.S. into an icebox featuring the most extreme cold of anywhere on Earth right now. Looking ahead, there’s plenty more where that came from.

* Rudy Giuliani, still horrible.

Melodrama is so powerful, then, because by promising heroic emancipation from terrorist villainy, it implies that US citizens can overcome their feelings of diminished political agency and lost freedom. Melodrama promises that both the US state, and individual Americans, will soon experience heroic freedom by winning the War on Terror. They will cast off their feelings of vulnerability and weakness through heroic action—even when the villain they attack is not the primary cause of their powerlessness or suffering.

* The fastest way to find Waldo. You’re welcome.


Would you like to understand how the “new” Harper Lee novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” came to be billed as a long-lost, blockbuster sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” — one of the definitive books of the American 20th century — when, by all the known facts, it’s an uneven first draft of the famous novel that was never considered for publication? Would you like to get a glimpse into how clever marketing and cryptic pronouncements have managed to produce an instant bestseller, months before anyone has read it?

* Republicans think this is their moment to kill higher education in America. And they might be right.

Congressman Says We Don’t Need Education Funding Because ‘Socrates Trained Plato On A Rock.’ Checks out.

* The outlook for the rest of Illinois isn’t much better. We Need Syriza in Illinois.

* That there are any homeless children anywhere in the country is an unthinkable national tragedy.

* Save the Wisconsin Idea. You may have to save it from its saviors.

* The inexorable tuition explosion that will result is proving to be politically untenable, and Walker has moved immediately to head it off, consequences be damned. And UW leadership, having adopted a posture of supporting the public authority on principled grounds, is left in the politically deadly position of having to fight for the power to raise tuition arbitrarily.

Meanwhile let’s kill all the state parks too.

* Meanwhile Milwaukee is one of America’s poorest cities. Though it still has one thing going for it.

* “Scott Walker says he consults with God, but his office can’t provide documents to prove it.”

* Thank goodness we were able to take all that valuable real estate we were wasting on schools and turn it profitable again.

Ideology Seen as Factor in Closings in University of North Carolina System. No! It can’t be!

New Education Initiative Replaces K-12 Curriculum With Single Standardized Test.

* The best and worst presidents. The hottest U.S. presidents. The beardiest presidents.

* Mother Jones loves Minnesota governor Mark Dayton.

* Gender and J School.

* The visiting professor scam.

We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.

* “The academic atmosphere, produced mainly by the humanities, is the only atmosphere in which pure science can flourish.”

* Academic interviews are horrible, mealtime edition.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History.

* The end of Miami.

* The West Coast cargo strike.

* Charting the Bechdel Test.

* DWYL, porn industry edition.

* Defund DHS.

What is going to happen to all of those African-languages-speaking, archive-obsessed, genre-discovering graduate students? Listen, I have some terrible news.

* The death cult called the MLA wants you to have hope for some reason though. Really strange study.

Florida Passes Plan For Racially-Based Academic Goals.

* Meanwhile, affirmative action for men in college admissions.

* “A Superbug Nightmare Is Playing Out at an LA Hospital.”

In the current movement against white supremacy and the police we can see the beginnings of a new Black Arts Movement.

But one of America’s ugliest secrets is that our own whistleblowers often don’t do so well after the headlines fade and cameras recede. The ones who don’t end up in jail like Manning, or in exile like Snowden, often still go through years of harassment and financial hardship. And while we wait to see if Loretta Lynch is confirmed as the next Attorney General, it’s worth taking a look at how whistleblowers in America fared under the last regime.

Boston Using Prison Labor To Shovel Heaps Of Snow In Frigid Temperatures For Pennies.

* Revealing scenes from the deranged thinking in the tech industry.

* SMBC messing with the primal forces.

* LARoB reviews Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble and Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary and Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1.

* Clarissa Explains White Supremacy.

* Iceland begins to jail bankers.

* “College Apologizes for Way It Gave M&Ms to Children.”

* “Can There Be Too Many Museums?”

* “Which sexual positions are more likely to break your penis?”

Giant Ron English art-book: Status Factory.

* An excerpt from David Graeber’s The Rules of Utopia.

* Oral histories of the early days of the HIV epidemic.

* National Adjunct Walkout Day is growing near. It’s Time to Review Your Adjunct Employment Policies.

* Trying to create a promotion track outside the tenure stream at Denver.

* The adjunct unionization movement. And more on that.

* Campus cops prepare for National Adjunct Walkout Day.

* Here’s a thing about @OccupyMLA that uses me as its stooge for part of it. Yay?

* Interesting Kickstarter: “Pioneers of African-American Cinema.”

* “DoJ report on Montana justice: Don’t get raped in Missoula, even if you’re only five years old.”

Justice Department ‘seriously examining’ Ferguson race case.

* Another piece on the rise of the Title IX industry. Provocative Harvard Law Review forum on Title IX overreach. However bad we’re doing, though, we can certainly always do worse.

Perhaps with each tuition bill, students should receive a breakdown of how their dollars are spent.

* Academic hiring: The Trading Places hypothesis.

How Arizona State Reinvented Free-Throw Distraction.

* Best wishes, Ed Balls.

* The Oscars and racism. The Oscars and sexism.

* The Brazilian town where the Confederacy lives on.

* DC Comics is bringing back Prez, this time as a teenage girl who gets elected president by Twitter.

Holding Out For a Heroine: On Being a Woman and Loving Star Wars.

10 Worst Misconceptions About Medieval Life You’d Get From Fantasy Books.

* A rare piece from NRO worth linking: The Right-Wing Scam Machine.

Former Nazi Guard Charged with 170,000 Counts of Accessory to Murder. Take the plea deal!

The CIA asked me about controlling the climate – this is why we should worry.

To misappropriate the prophecy of another technological sage: the post-human dystopia is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed yet.

* Mark Bould has another post on Jupiter Ascending trying to wrangle its treatment of gender. Lots of good discussion of Princess Leia here too.

* Plans to whip us up into another invasion in the Middle East are proceeding apace.

* When horrific child abuse becomes quirk.

* Florida police officer: “Planting evidence and lying in your reports are just part of the game.”

* Cuteness in history. Why when you see something cute you (sometimes) want to destroy it.

Another Reason To Worry About The Measles.

Wearable Workplace “Mood Monitors” Are About To Become A Thing.

* A People’s History of Franklin.

* Asexuals and Demisexuals in Wired.

* Five-alarm nerd alert: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has begun its final arc.

* Settlers of Catan: The Movie.

* And in case that’s not enough here’s some more proof we as a nation are still capable of great things.


Written by gerrycanavan

February 20, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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