Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Nagasaki

All the Monday Links!

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* Look alive, Octavia Butler scholars! 2015-16 Fellowships at the Huntington.

* Exciting crowdfunding project on disability and science fiction: Accessing the Future.

* If what we were fighting against in World War II were not just enemy nations but fascism and militarism, then did the atomic bombs that massacred the defenseless populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — coming as a grand climax to our “strategic bombing” of European and Asian cities — help bring us victory? Or defeat?

The long-standing paradox of human rights is that the declaration to observe them is a hollow scream that follows their loss.

* Is Genocide Right For You?

* The Sheep Look Up7 Things You Need To Know About The Toxin That’s Poisoned Ohio’s Drinking Water. Farming practices and climate change at root of Toledo water pollution.

* Newborns laugh in their sleep, say Japanese researchers.

* Common sense solutions to alt-pop song problems.

Problem: We all want something beautiful, man I wish I was beautiful.
Solution: Diet, exercise, and plastic surgery.

* Op-ed: Adjuncts should unionize.

* What colleges can learn from journalism schools. English departments seem particularly well-positioned to apply some of these lessons.

*  Meet The Sexual Assault Adviser Top U.S. Colleges Have On Speed Dial.

* Understanding college discounting.

The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”

* Emirates becomes first major international airline to suspend all flights to virus-affected region. Why you’re not going to get Ebola in the U.S.

* When Moral Panics Collide! GOP Congressman Who Warned About Unvaccinated Migrants Opposed Vaccination.

* The Golden Age of Comics Is Now.

* Just another weekend in Milwaukee.

IRS Agrees To Monitor Religious Groups For Political Campaigning.

* How an honors student became a hired killer.

A Thai surrogate mother said Sunday that she was not angry with the Australian biological parents who left behind a baby boy born with Down syndrome, and hoped that the family would take care of the boy’s twin sister they took with them. Honestly, I think I’m pretty mad at them.

* Is Howard the Duck Really Marvel’s Next Franchise? A Close Look at the Evidence.

* They say Western civilization’s best days are behind it, but Bill Murray will star as Baloo in Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book.

* Ever tried. Ever meowed. No matter. Try Again. Meow again. Meow better. Beckittens.

* Filming is apparently wrapping on Fantastic Four, but they didn’t even have a teaser trailer for Comic-Con. This film must be a complete disaster. Can’t wait!

* Why are we impeaching Obama today?

* The third Lev Grossman Magicians book ships tomorrow. Soon to be a TV show, maybe!

* Presenting the all-new, all-different Ghostbustrixes.

* Always remember: The best thesis defense is a good thesis offense.

* And it took its sweet time, but the Singularity is finally here.

Google Cardboard, virtual reality

Finally Back in Milwaukee Links

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The fact that animals were for a long period of European history tried and punished as criminals is, to the extent that this is known at all, generally bracketed or dismissed as amere curiosity, a cultural quirk.

Arrested Development Season 4 episode titles revealed.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Advice to Young Writers.

* January 1, 1946: two Marine divisions faced off in the so-called Atom Bowl, played on a killing field in Nagasaki that had been cleared of debris.

The future is bright at Monsters University. I agree wholeheartedly with my Marquette colleague who hopes there’s a ton of confusion about MU in the future.

* Traxus and Kotsko on Django Unchained. Bonus Kotsko New Year’s Resolution! Stop paying attention to non-stories.

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2013?

* Women’s gangs of India.

* The Death of the American Shopping Mall.

* The Penn State shitshow continues: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will announce a federal lawsuit against the NCAA tied to the historic sanctions levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Corbett will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning in State College, Pa., to announce the suit, which will be filed by the state.

* “I don’t think I would do a terrible job at a Han Solo backstory. I could do that pretty well. But maybe that would be better as a short.” An interview with Wes Anderson.

The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth.

Could going to Mars give future astronauts Alzheimer’s disease?

Can being overweight actually make you live longer?

* A Pickpocket’s Tale.

A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”

Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

“Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.

Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.

A moment of dreaming about higher education.

* And Jaimee has some new poems up (with rare audio!) at Unsplendid.

Joachim Radkau on the (Historical) Lack of an Anti-Nuclear Movement in Japan

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…Japan, however, lacked a great nuclear energy controversy. That’s very strange for a number of reasons: Japan is the first and so far only victim of nuclear weapons. When the Japanese fishing boat Lucky Dragon 5 was hit by the fallout from an American hydrogen bomb test in 1954, this scandal gave impetus to the international protest movement against nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere. The Japanese mainland, moreover, is far more densely populated than Germany: correspondingly, the residual risk of nuclear technology is higher. On top of that, Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. In the United States, the regional earthquake danger was the key argument of the first initiatives against a nuclear energy project at Bodega Bay in California. For yet another and more unique reason, conditions in Japan were amenable to anti-NPP protest: because the Japanese electronics industry—herein more forward-looking than the German one—from very early on concentrated not on nuclear technology but rather on electronics, nuclear power never had a “national” argument in favor of it. On the contrary: the reactors had to be imported from the United States.

How it is that Japan never experienced a large protest movement in spite all of this remains to be investigated. It concerns one of those questions upon which one first comes via international comparison. Supposedly, the main reason lies in the fact that no alternative to nuclear energy could be seen from the very start: Japan has no rich coal reserves at its disposal; the dependence on Chinese coal would have been a nightmare; the great oil resources of the world are far removed from Japan; and wind power, even in the land of typhoons, isn’t exactly a confidenceinspiring energy resource. That saving energy in the short term is by far the most effective energy resource was understood by the Japanese automobile industry, to their advantage, much earlier than in the German automobile industry (while the Japanese, since the end of the “wooden age” around 1960, preferred to have their interior heating provided by electricity—a scandal in the eyes of European energy conservation strategists!).

And Hiroshima? In Tokyo there is only a small, hidden, and seldom visited memorial for the victims of atomic weapons. The subject was, as one hears, never popular in Japan. The victims had to suffer under discrimination, and a “culture 176 The Anti-Nuclear Movement in Germanyof memory”—to use a fashionable word—never developed. As Europeans familiar with Japan relate, the Japanese prefer to display a composed cheerfulness and dislike speaking about misfortune and suffering. Whether or not this judgment is tenable in such a sweeping form is open to doubt, as one finds counter-indications in Japanese literature as well. But Arnold Toynbee, the British universal historian, was presumably right in his thesis that cultural successes indeed emerge as a response to challenge and crises. These challenges, however, can’t be too strong. In Germany’s experience, people became capable, first out of a certain temporal distance, of a creative working through of the terrible catastrophe that was Nazi rule and World War II. From Russia it was reported that the contamination of Lake Baikal, famous for its beauty, gave the environmental movement a strong impetus, but not, however, the reactor catastrophe at Chernobyl—because Chernobyl struck at the core of a Russian national pride founded on leading technologies like Sputnik. Presumably, the atomic catastrophes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were so immense that they could no longer be processed by many Japanese—only suppressed…

From the Polygraph archives: Joachim Radkau’s “The Anti-Nuclear Movement in Germany” (and Japan, and elsewhere…).

Written by gerrycanavan

March 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Letters of Note

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 14, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Wednesday Links

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Wednesday links.

* Scandal at UConn! The Plank says the story is peanuts; this sort of corruption is endemic to the NCAA.

* Cover Stories From the Most-Requested Back Issues of The American Prognosticator (1853–1987).

* Duke University professor and civil rights icon John Hope Franklin has died.

* Upright Citizens Brigade parodies Wes Anderson. Bastards!

* A 93-year-old Japanese man has become the first person certified as a survivor of both U.S. atomic bombings at the end of the Second World War.

* The first unambiguous case of electronic voting machine fraud in the U.S.?

* Solitary confinement as torture.

* Roman engineers chipped an aqueduct through more than 100 kilometers of stone to connect water to cities in the ancient province of Syria. The monumental effort took more than a century, says the German researcher who discovered it. How could the Romans think in terms of centuries but we can’t think past a single business cycle?

* Lots of people are linking to this letter from an AIG bonus recipient. The merits of the contracts aside—I’ve said before they should be enforced unless fraudulent or predicated on fraud—but I don’t think he helps his case much when he puts a number on it. His one-time after-tax “bonus” is more than I would have made in thirty years of adjuncting.

* David Brin wants to “uplift” animals, i.e., make them sentient. This is exactly why people don’t take science fiction seriously; it’s totally crazy, pointless, and cruel and it wouldn’t even work…

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Lenin’s Tomb has a fantastic post on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki today, taking as his starting point this unfortunate but telling historical-cultural truth:

I think it’s telling that on this, as on a number of issues (Israel/Palestine for example), public opinion is kept so far in the dark for so long by historical mythology that is only belatedly undermined by revisionism and declassification that it results in such a massive gulf between what is academically known and what is generally understood. It is particularly the case on matters where historical events matter most for contemporary understanding.

But it’s the sheer raw data that makes this post so important, necessary and good.

The main findings of revisionist scholarship coincide with those of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, which concluded (in a widely quoted statement) that: “certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” Now, since there is no doubt that Russia would have entered the war on 15th August 1945, it would seem probable on the basis of that conclusion that a surrender could have been achieved even more quickly than this. And since the planned invasion by ground would not have occurred before 1 November 1945 (it was scheduled for the Spring of 1946), the claim that the bomb saved 500,000 lives that would have been lost in such an invasion doesn’t seem to be supportable. A second document, declassified in the Seventies, is a War Department study on the ‘Use of Atomic Bomb on Japan’ written in 1946. It found that “the Japanese leaders had decided to surrender and were merely looking for sufficient pretext to convince the die-hard Army Group that Japan had lost the war and must capitulate to the Allies.” Even an early landinglanding on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu would have been only a ‘remote’ possibility, while the full invasion of Japan in the spring of 1946 would not have occurred. In fact, the belief that it was totally unnecessary to use the atomic bomb on Japan’s cities was shared by Eisenhower, who records telling Stimson that “Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bombs was completely unnecessary” and by Admiral William D Leahy, who opined that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”

There’s a lot here, and for many people out there it isn’t new—but it’s still important.

If you finish there and you still want more, I’m happy to re-recommend Sven Lindqvist’s A History of Bombing, the best book on the subject of aerial warfare I’ve ever read—”Airplanes and imperialism, genocide and global thermonuclear war: if you want to know the history of the twentieth century, this is the only book you need“—or else John Harvey’s Hiroshima, the classic on the subject, which I finally read earlier this summer and was quite impressed by.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 9, 2007 at 1:59 pm

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