Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘my misspent youth

‘We Have Never Been STAR TREK’

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Everyone in the world is writing about Star Trek today. Here’s my contribution, at the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound: “We Have Never Been Star Trek.” A tiny excerpt of a long and somewhat personal piece:

And one of the most remarkable and most vexing things about Star Trek – as someone who cherishes the Idea, who in some basic way grew up on it, and was shaped by it, and who turns to it still as the closest expression of what I think our society ought to aspire to be instead of the nightmare that it actually is – is that this Idea is only sporadically present within the hundreds of hours of film and television and other media that make up the franchise. For my breed of Star Trek fan, our loyalty is to to an Idea that has only barely ever been depicted, and perhaps never truly was at all – but we are loyal, fiercely loyal, nonetheless. The very weirdest thing about loving Star Trek is that even Star Trek isn’t really Star Trek, most of the time.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 8, 2016 at 11:04 am

Labor Day Weekend Links!

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20121130* Aliens! Aliens! Not really. But it’s never too early to panic.

* This truly is the darkest timeline: Marquette signs new contract with Pepsi for on-campus beverage services.

Some Of The Best PC Games Ever Made Hit Steam This Week. Quest for Glory! Police Quest! Wow. Waiting now for the Mac port.

* Star Trek: Discovery really will follow Number One. Relatedly: The 2000s-era Star Treks we never saw. Star Trek Beyond, Reviewed by Tim Phipps.

Science Fiction World Building in a Capitalist Society: An Interview with Dan Hassler-Forest (Part One).

* The Exemption Packet.

Jason Scott Talks about Preserving Games with the Internet Archive.

* Be a rebel; major in English. A decent discussion of the fact-free moral panic involving choice of major, clickbait headline aside.

The Peculiar Success of Cultural Studies 2.0.

* How to Write an Effective Diversity Statement for a Faculty Job Application.

Mandatory Trigger Warnings at Drexel?

* Lockout at LIU.

* Symposium: Why Monster Studies Now?

* Nicholson Baker, substitute teacher. Welcome to Terror High.

The most important lesson to take from all this is that there is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatisation, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all.

* Improv as self-help philosophy, as scam, as fad, as cult. (via) I’ve never taken an improv class, but my nonstop consumption of improv-based comedy podcasts has seriously helped my teaching by helping me see the importance of adopting the yes-and stance in the classroom.

Professor hunger strikes against denial of tenure.

Islam and Science Fiction, the long-running website dedicated to “fill[ing] a gap in the literature about Muslims and Islamic cultures in Science Fiction,” has just published Islamicates: Volume I, as a free-to-download release.

Check Out These Amazing Soviet Maps Of D.C.

That’s a serious charge, worthy of being considered seriously. Although easy access to inexpensive Mexican food would be a boon for hungry Americans, what would the inevitable presence of those trucks do to the American economy? How could our country accommodate an explosion of trucks at that scale? The national economic implications of a taco truck on every corner.

* Stranger Things and the spirit of play.

Here’s why: it’s about play. We have good reasons to overthink TV shows, to take them too seriously: it helps us reclaim from them all that they take for granted, all the ideology in which we find ourselves implicated as we enjoy works produced by a capitalist, patriarchal, racist culture, etc. If your fave is problematic, it’s worth thinking about why, not because you or it are bad and should feel bad, but because our world is fallen and all is vanity and what does humanity gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun, etc. Or something like that. Art has baggage; criticism is about rummaging through that bag to see what’s inside, and what you want to do with it.

* Girls feel Stranger Things, too.

Fortunately, those of us who grew up in the 80s also experienced the 90s, where Dana Scully and Buffy Summers awaited us. But with its flawlessly staged setting and piled-up homages to 80s movies, Stranger Things has performed a kind of time travel: it has reached back into my memories,Total Recall-like, and inserted characters who now seem as though they were there all along. Nancy, the nerd-turned-monster killer who can like more than one boy at once. Barb, the buttoned-up babygay whose best friend won’t let her be disposable. Eleven, the terrifying, funny, scared, brave, smart weirdo whose feelings could save the world.

Global Capitalism, Fan Culture, and (Even) Stranger Things. The Strange Motivations of Stranger Things. Sticking a tough landing: Stranger Things Season Two Will Add New Characters, New Settings, and Sequel Sensibility.

* Teasing the Fall 2016 Pop Culture series at Marquette: Harry Potter, Tarantino, and (yes) Stranger Things.

* $600,000 humanities endowment account at CUNY turns out to be a mere $599,924 dollars short.

* Learn to Write the Vandermeer Way. Keep scrolling!

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Virtually every decision made by Warner Bros. with regards to its DC superhero movies has been bad. But it’s been so desperate to recreate Marvel’s success that it keeps running forward, trying to constantly course correct, when what it really needs to do it take a break, a deep breath, and start over from scratch with a long-term plan that it will actually stick to.

Jack Kirby’s long-lost, incomplete “The Prisoner” comic book.

The Myth of the Millennial as Cultural Rebel.

Apartment Broker Recommends Brooklyn Residents Spend No More Than 150% Of Income On Rent.

Airlines are surprisingly ill-equipped to handle accusations of sexual assault on their planes.

This small Indiana county sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. Why? Yes, the word “oxy” appears in the first sentence.

Creepy Clown Sightings in South Carolina Cause a Frenzy.

* Tracing the history of the phrase “office-involved shooting.”

How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media. Why Isn’t It a Bigger Deal That Trump Is Being Advised by Sadistic Pervert Roger Ailes?

Democrats really might have a shot at taking the House. Here’s the math.

* Because you demanded it! CBS is developing a scripted drama based on the life of Judge Judy. It’s also graciously decided to allow you to pay extra for an ad-free experience on its subscription service.

* Ah, the good old days. Still not done yet!

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Meet Moya Bailey, the black woman who created the term “misogynoir.”

* Dialectics of Superman: The Old Lois Lane Really Doesn’t Like the New Lois Lane. The Rise and Fall of Axiom.

* Math is cool: The absent-minded driver’s paradox.

Solar Power Plant Can’t Figure Out How to Stop Frying Birds.

Georgetown University Plans Steps to Atone for Slave Past. Georgetown’s slavery announcement is remarkable. But it’s not reparations.

Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept Their Freedom.

* “A short story in English is a story in which the letter e occurs no more than 5715  times.”

* How far are you from an In N Out Burger?

* Works for academic papers too.

* RIP, Gene Wilder.

Debating the Legality of the Post-9/11 ‘Forever War’ at the Council on Foreign Relations.

* Whiteness without white supremacy?

Football and the Buffalo both owe some of their survival today to Teddy Roosevelt, who loved them both because they were accessories to one of his first loves: violence, which he and others of his time and a lot of people living right now believe tempers men into steel.

Avengers: Full House.

* Sold in the room: Alison Brie Will Star in Netflix’s ’80s Lady-Wrestling Series G.L.O.W. And that’s before I even found out Marc Maron would be on it too.

* I’m also excited to option this one: Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker.

* The L.A. Times is running a six-part story on that framing of a PTA mom in California.

* Screens in Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax.

* Socialize the EpiPen.

* The critics are saying Arrival (née Story of Your Life) is the real deal.

* The art of Biff Tannen.

* Breaking: Warner Brothers wants another five billion dollars.

Few baseball fans have heard of the tiny Pacific Association, an independent league founded in 2013. But in 2015, during the Stompers’ sophomore season, the team fielded pro baseball’s first openly gay player, Sean Conroy. Then, in the off-season, the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola approached the team to talk about making his Virginia Dare Winery, based in nearby Geyserville, one of its sponsors. That proposal came with another: he wanted the team to recruit female players.

* Understanding Prenatal Depression.

* It’s weird that 911 has an off switch, isn’t it?

* Web comic of the week: Ark.

* Short film of the week: Movies in Space. Chris and Jack’s other stuff is pretty great too.

The New York Times Reassures Parents That Their Sons’ Penises Are Probably Totally Fine.

* And I really think just one more year ought to do it.

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 3, 2016 at 8:43 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Happy Weekend Links!

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* CFP: Octavia E. Butler Legacy and Society Call for Papers.

I want to complain to the studio execs who commissioned the current season of “21st century”; your show is broken.

* But maybe a big reboot is coming! Astronomers may have found giant alien ‘megastructures’ orbiting star near the Milky Way.

The Many, Many Times Astronomers Mistook Mundane Phenomena for Aliens. Cult of the cosmic — How space travel became the unofficial religion of the USSR.

* Another potential redirection for the series: Women who sniff this Hawaiian mushroom have spontaneous orgasms.

“To call for capitalism to pay its way is to call for the abolition of capitalism.”

* World federalism isn’t dead, it’s never even been tried!

The Alphabet of Assassination.

US intelligence knew bombed Afghan site was a hospital.

* Potentially major finding: Huntington’s disease protein controls movement of precious cargo inside cells, study finds.

Colleges Are Spending 7 Times More on Athletics Than They Are on Academics.

* Speaking my language: A strong El Niño may mean a warmer, drier winter in southern Wisconsin.

* World’s most depressing tour of LA planned for October 21, 2015. Come to Marquette English’s BTTF events instead!

Watch Doc and Marty travel to the real 2015, where everything is terrible.

* You can time travel with Marquette another way, too: here’s a sneak preview of our Spring 2016 course offerings.

* Scenes from the class struggle against that one weird Cornell ad: 1, 2.

First-year composition, in other words, is more than a course in grammar and rhetoric. Beyond these, it is a course in ethical communication, offering students opportunities to learn and practice the moral and intellectual virtues that Aristotle identified in his Nicomachean Ethics as the foundation for a good life. And that’s why America is such a paradise today.

* Good news: it’s your spouse who’s ruining your career, not your kids.

How Harvard Fights Unions.

* The dark art of curriculum review.

By the same token, I know that an emphasis under a major has the same student-learning outcomes as the parent major, so I can create a new program without expanding the number of assessment reports that I have to do. This just means that a major is basically a magical bag of holding for emphases: I can fit as many emphases as I want inside a major without becoming encumbered by more paperwork!

Famous quotes, the way a woman would have to say them during a meeting.

* A judgmental map of Milwaukee.

* When Marquette tore down a historic mansion to build the AMU.

* I’m sure the policy is being written as we speak: When May I Shoot a Student? Guns on Campus: A Terrible Idea.

* Pretty good selfie-based horror short. 

* Die Hard was the gold standard of unprequelizable films. Kudos to all involved in this important project.

* Playboy without Playboy.

Wayne Simmons, a regular Fox News commentator who claimed to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost three decades, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly fabricating his agency experience.

Through the Plexiglass: A History of Museum Dioramas.

* How the NSA broke cryptography.

Huntington Library and UC Riverside teaming up to hire humanities professors.

* Why Google Ngrams are garbage.

How The Black Dot Campaign Grew Into A Dangerous Viral Hoax.

People being shot by toddlers on a weekly basis in the US.

Artists got ‘Homeland is racist’ Arabic graffiti into the latest episode of ‘Homeland.’

CCP Adjunct Professor, Black Lives Matter Activist Suspended After Speaking at Rally.

Aunt Loses Lawsuit Against 12-Year-Old Nephew Who Allegedly Broke Her Wrist With a Hug. But there’s more! Aunt Didn’t Want to Sue Nephew, Lawyer Says, Insurance Company Left Her “No Choice.”

Žižek, social reformist: The lesson here is that the truly subversive thing is not to insist on ‘infinite’ demands we know those in power cannot fulfil. Since they know that we know it, such an ‘infinitely demanding’ attitude presents no problem for those in power: ‘So wonderful that, with your critical demands, you remind us what kind of world we would all like to live in. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where we have to make do with what is possible.’ The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can’t be met with the same excuse.

* I’m so glad this turned out to be the case: Standing Desks Are Mostly Bullshit.

These Are the American Cities That Could Be Buried Underwater by 2200.

The Man Who Builds Luxury Bomb Shelters for Paranoid One Percenters.

* Jeb makes an almost pathetically transparent bid for my endorsement.

* Sorry!, and the Nature of Suffering.

* Just don’t tell Shia: FX is turning Y: The Last Man into a TV series.

* And teach the controversy: Your Favorite Band Sucks.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Links!

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* Somebody thinks 2015 could be a doozy: Treasury Department Seeking Survival Kits For Bank Employees.

* Trends We Can Work With: Higher Ed in 2015.

* Remembering the reason for the season: During Holiday Season, City Erects Cages To Keep Homeless People Off Benches.

Christmas Eve Document Dump Reveals US Spy Agencies Broke The Law And Violated Privacy.

But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true. Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black.”

Ending excessive police force starts with new rules of engagement.

What Does It Mean to Be Anti-Police?

How to Survive a Cop Coup: What Bill de Blasio Can Learn From Ecuador.

“It has been alleged that Officer Kattner has used his position as a peace officer to contact known female prostitutes and compel them to perform sexual acts while working an extra job.”

And whether or not people accept it, that new normal—public life and mass surveillance as a default—will become a component of the ever-widening socioeconomic divide. Privacy as we know it today will become a luxury commodity. Opting out will be for the rich.

“Enhanced interrogation” is torture, American style. Exceptional torture. Torture that insists it is not torture. Post-torture? This uniquely American kind of torture has six defining characteristics.

* “The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled”: In praise of The Usual Suspects.

* Decades of Bill Cosby’s shadow ops.

Justice Denied to Steven Salaita: A Critique of the University of Illinois Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure Report. This was my reaction as well.

* Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US.

* Are ideas to cool the planet realistic? Meanwhile: Pope Francis Could Be Climate’s Secret Weapon Next Year.

The architecture of dissent.

* The red state economic miracle that wasn’t.

* Airlines want you to suffer.

* Games are ancient, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. But their stock is not rising at the rate that their fans’ Twitter streams and Web forums might suggest. Instead of a ludic age, perhaps we have entered an era of shredded media. Some forms persist more than others, but more than any one medium, we are surrounded by the rough-edged bits and pieces of too many media to enumerate. Writing, images, aphorisms, formal abstraction, collage, travesty. Photography, cinema, books, music, dance, games, tacos, cats, car services. If anything, there has never been a weirder, more disorienting, and more lively time to be a creator and a fanatic of media in all their varieties. Why ruin the moment by being the one trying to get everyone to play a game while we’re letting the flowers blossom? A ludic century need not be a century of games. Instead, it can just be a century. With games in it.

* Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed. Migrant World Cup workers in Qatar are reportedly dying at alarming rates.

* Enterprise, TOS, and “the scent of death” on the Federation.

* How Kazuo Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks.

I am no fan of the North Korean regime. However I believe that calling out a foreign nation over a cybercrime of this magnitude should never have been undertaken on such weak evidence.

* Longreads best crime reporting 2014.

A Drone Flew Over A Pig Farm.

The black and African writer is expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant. This gives their literature weight, but dooms it with monotony. Who wants to constantly read a literature of suffering, of heaviness? Those living through it certainly don’t; the success of much lighter fare among the reading public in Africa proves this point. Maybe it is those in the west, whose lives are untouched by such suffering, who find occasional spice and flirtation with such a literature. But this tyranny of subject may well lead to distortion and limitation.

* I’m a pretty big fan of “Jean & Scott”: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

* A profile of David Letterman from 1981.

How Colonel Sanders Became Father Christmas in Japan.

* The Song of Saruman.

The filmmakers’ cartoonishly evil vision of Saruman is unfortunate, as it deprives a fascinating narrative of its complexity, while also being untrue to Tolkien’s own vision. Jackson and his team seem incapable of imagining that a person can be wrong without also being evil. For example, the Master of Lake-town in The Hobbit was greedy, but he was an elected official, generally well regarded by the community (at least until he absconds with the municipal funds, a fact revealed only on the last page of the book); in the film The Desolation of Smaug, he is a murderous tyrant who opposes even the idea of elections. An even worse example is the case of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, who in the books has been driven mad by grief and despair, partly owing to the cruel machinations of Sauron himself; in the film (The Return of the King), he is made so irredeemably evil that Gandalf actually attacks him, while we the viewers are expected to cheer. If this is what Jackson does to weak and pitiable characters, what must he do to Saruman, who is a legitimate “bad guy” in The Lord of the Rings?

Quiz: Find out how your salary stacks up against other American workers. You know, fun.

L.A. studio to restore venerable ‘King’s Quest’ to its gaming throne.

* Is the anti-vax movement finally dying?

* You can’t beat the media at its own game.

* America’s own 7 Up: Johns Hopkins’s Beginning School Study.

* Sober People against New Year’s Eve SuperPAC.

* And of course you had me at Grant Morrson’s All-New Miracleman Annual #1.

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Midweek Links!

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* Truly, this is the best of all possible worlds: X-Wing, Tie Fighter Are FINALLY Getting Digital Re-Releases. I don’t meant to brag but I was the very very best in the world at this game, back when.

* CFP at the Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at UWM. This year’s theme is “the unbearable.” Keynotes by Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman!

* How Not to Defend the Liberal Arts.

* Higher Education and the New Brutalism.

We live in the age of a new brutalism marked not simply by an indifference to multiple social problems, but also defined by a kind of mad delight in the spectacle and exercise of violence and cruelty. The United States is sullied by a brutalism that is perfectly consistent with a new kind of barbaric power, one that puts millions of people in prison, subjects an entire generation to a form of indentured citizenship, and strips people of the material and symbolic resources they need to exercise their capacity to live with dignity and justice. Academics who speak out against corruption and injustice are publicly demeaned and often lose their jobs. At the same time, the Obama administration criminalizes public servants who expose unethical behavior, the violation of civil liberties and corruption.

* Elsewhere in the richest society in the history of the world: How many homeless S.F. schoolkids? Enough to fill 70 classrooms.

When I was a black woman, I was hated. Now, as a black man, I’m feared.

Priscilla Wald on Media Treatment of Ebola. How Unscientific Ebola Steps in U.S. Could Help Spread Virus Elsewhere.

* Any grad student could have told you: drunk people are better at philosophy.

* Tufts and Unionized Adjuncts.

* Scenes from the competency-based education scam. And the for-profit scam.

* …and the Uber scam.

* UNC-Chapel Hill Should Lose Accreditation.

Free education is not a crazy dream; some countries already have it. We should too, or we face a future where the study of literature or art becomes a luxury available to the rich alone.

* Some things mankind was never meant to see. More links below!

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* Watch a New York Woman Get Catcalled 108 Times in Less Than One Day.

* You Can Buy This Abandoned CT Town For Less Than A Brooklyn Apartment.

* 30 Philip K Dick Stories That Should Be Movies.

* Voight-Kampff test for college admissions.

* ‘Wasting Time on the Internet’ Is Now an Actual College Class. I’d take that. I know I could teach it.fe

* Someone finally said it: I Don’t Support Feminism If It Means Murdering All Men.

* Yosemite Lifehacks. Recommended.

* There’s no anti-college nonsense so aggressively silly that the Washington Post won’t push it.

* Cura personalis.

* How the culture of assessment fuels academic dishonesty.

US currency reimagined to celebrate ideas, not the dead. Still more links below!

Allbills_SubverseA_verge_super_wideAllbills_ObverseA_verge_super_wide* Reparations for women.

The Race to Nowhere In Youth Sports.

You Can Still Eat This Corgi In Pennsylvania, Thanks To The NRA.

Krypton TV Series In The Works. The CW Is Making A Young Shakespeare Vs. Witches TV Show.

* But it’s not all terrible ideas: I’m cautiously optimistic about Marvel Phase III. Black Panther! Captain Marvel!

* Halfway through this review of William Gibson’s The Peripheral I broke my no-buying-books rule and bought the book.

* Milwaukee hosts first Fantasticon comic convention.

* A brief history of ridiculous things we’ve been asked to believe after famous men were accused of rape.

* The NFL Concussion Settlement Is Pure Evil.

The end result is always the same. You do all this work just to get money. So fuck it: Why not skip everything and just start making currency?

* Could you patent the sun?

* The Dartmouth (America’s Oldest College Newspaper) issues a rare correction.

* Damning every damnable river on Earth: what could possibly go wrong?

* When Russell Brand Met David Graeber.

* Glenn Beck, billionaire.

* Martin Jarvis, professor of music at Charles Darwin University in Australia, claims some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s best-loved works were actually written by his wife.

* And there’s nothing sweet in life: Soda May Age You as Much as Smoking, Study Says.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 29, 2014 at 7:02 am

Tuesday

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* Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? Hogwash! It was the only thing that ever worked.

* The number of open faculty positions in English and foreign languages rose by about 3.8 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in 2011-12, according to figures released by the Modern Language Association.

* The Presumption of Literacy. Nice post from Angus.

* I think I linked to this before, but it’s still pretty great: romcom2012. Romney losing Ohio. Romney getting creamed. Romney’s nightmare scenario.

Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner, interviews and documents show. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found.

Study shows gender bias in science is real. Here’s why it matters.

* Dystopia now: news from Honduras.

Honduras is set to host one of the world’s most radical neo-liberal economic experiments under a plan to build from scratch the rules, roads and rafters of a “charter city” for foreign investors.

The Central American nation hopes the plan for model development zones, which will have their own laws, tax system, judiciary and police, will emulate the economic success of city states such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

* Analysis: 93 Percent Of Fox News Climate Coverage Is ‘Misleading.’ Honestly, I’m amazed they hit 7% accuracy.

* But at least climate change has an upside: global bacon shortage predicted.

* The cult of the entrepreneur.

* Chevy Chase Hates Everyone.

* Miniature Virgin Mary Statues Transformed Into Pop Culture Characters.

* How Humans Lost Our Chance at a Third Eye. So close.

* Animals are conscious and should be treated as such.

* Know your enemy! Economists walk among us.

* And a detailed plan for getting human beings off the Earth. Just don’t tell the plebes.