Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Napoleon

Tuesday Night MOOCs and More

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* 20 Things the Matter with MOOCs.

* Also from Richard: What do asteroids, MOOCs, and medical records have in common?  All are examples, currently in the news, of the way in which public policy in the US is driven not by the common good or professionals or expert knowledge, but by the generation of mediashock in the service of the entrepeneurial desire of cybercapitalism to monetize data.

* On drone ethnography.

All of us that use the internet are already practicing Drone Ethnography. Look at the features of drone technology: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Surveillance, Sousveillance. Networks of collected information, over land and in the sky. Now consider the “consumer” side of tech: mapping programs, location-aware pocket tech, public-sourced media databases, and the apps and algorithms by which we navigate these tools. We already study the world the way a drone sees it: from above, with a dozen unblinking eyes, recording everything with the cold indecision of algorithmic commands honed over time, affecting nothing—except, perhaps, a single, momentary touch, the momentary awareness and synchronicity of a piece of information discovered at precisely the right time. An arc connecting two points like the kiss from an air-to-surface missile. Our technological capacity for watching, recording, collecting, and archiving has never been wider, and has never been more automated. The way we look at the world—our basic ethnographic approach—is mimicking the technology of the drone.

* The ACLU on what Rand Paul achieved.

Six-Month-Old Baby Dies From Gunshot Wounds In Chicago.

*  “Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.” She was unconscious at the time.

I think it’s possible Natalia is the reckoning of Girls.

* The Herbalife war: Hedge-fund titan Bill Ackman has vowed to bring down Herbalife, the 33-year-old nutritional-supplement company, which he views as a pyramid scheme. With his massive shorting of Herbalife stock, the price plummeted, prompting two fellow billionaires—Ackman’s former friend Dan Loeb and activist investor Carl Icahn—to take the opposing bet on Herbalife. As the public brawl rivets Wall Street, William D. Cohan learns why, this time, it’s personal.

The most influential songwriter of his time has become the first rock star voted into the elite, century-old American Academy of Arts and Letters, where artists range from Philip Roth to Jasper Johns and categories include music, literature and visual arts.

* New data confirms that the unsatisfyingly named “Higgs-like particle” announced at CERN last year really is a Higgs boson.

* Exhumation of Pablo Neruda’s remains set for 8 April.

6 ÷ 2(1+2) = RAGE

The Law Graduate Debt Disaster Goes Critical.

* Ezra Klein gets it very wrong.

The US Senate: Where Democracy Goes to Die.

* Here comes the asteroid mining.

The insane plan to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena by submarine.

14 Great Sci-Fi Stories by Philip K. Dick as Free Audio Books and Free eBooks.

In the News

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In the news:

* In response to public outrage—and who thought that could still accomplish anything?—the Bureau of Land Management has reversed the absurd two-year moratorium on public-land solar projects that got me so riled up a few days ago.

* Is Bush about to close Guantánamo? I imagine extralegal prisons are a whole lot less fun lately, though knowing the Bush administration they’d probably only plan to close it in preparation for Guantánamo II on the Moon.

* Utah responds to the high price of energy by moving to a four-day workweek for state employees. Meanwhile, Sal Cinquemani at Slant Magazine takes aim at the central contradiction that has crippled the Democrats’ ability to properly respond to the high price of gasoline: so long as we are unable to think the crisis outside a capitalist, market-oriented framework, $140 a barrel still isn’t high enough.

* Jesse Helms died today, one day after Bozo the Clown, and everyone else has already made the joke.

* Despite the latest denialist meme, volcanoes are not melting Arctic ice.

* Christopher Hitchens now agrees waterboarding is torture. Why? He let himself be waterboarded. (Here’s video.) I really hate to kick a guy just when he’s finally starting to see the light, but it’s worth saying that there are still plenty of people whose moral sense is not so deformed by eight years of Bushism that we knew better than to torture people without an object lesson in basic human decency—and it’d be nice if, you know, we were maybe listened to occasionally. Via MeFi.

* And, at NPR, the strange odyssey of Napoleon’s penis.