Posts Tagged ‘NASA’
* Over the past decade numerous stories have come out about Soviet and American military personnel who were given orders to fire nuclear weapons between the 1960s and 1980s. Their conscience stopped them, only to learn later that it was a mistaken order. We now have another horrifying story to add to that growing list of possible post-apocalyptic futures.
Former Air Force airman John Bordne is now an elderly man. But in the early morning hours of October 28, 1962 he and his fellow airmen nearly launched their nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Air Force has only now given Bordne permission to tell his story of how America nearly started World War III.
* Time travel short film of the day: “Therefore I Am.”
* Bullets dodged: Aaron Sorkin once pitched a Pixar movie about talking office supplies.
* The book includes diary entries about the tensions between Mrs. Bush and Nancy Reagan (“Nancy does not like Barbara”) and his private comments about Michael S. Dukakis, his 1988 opponent (“midget nerd”). It reports that as defense secretary for the elder Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney commissioned a study of how many tactical nuclear weapons would be needed to take out an Iraqi Republican Guard division, if necessary. (The answer: 17.)
* Meanwhile, back at the ranch: The Most Militarized Universities in America.
* Prose and poetry—all art, music, dance—rise from and move with the profound rhythms of our body, our being, and the body and being of the world. Physicists read the universe as a great range of vibrations, of rhythms. Art follows and expresses those rhythms. Once we get the beat, the right beat, our ideas and our words dance to it—the round dance that everybody can join. And then I am thou, and the barriers are down. For a while. Ursula K. Le Guin, y’all.
* Students suspended or expelled over allegations of sexual assault rarely succeed in lawsuits against the institutions that punished them. That’s starting to change.
* “What’s your secret?” ““Oh, we just kick out the bad ones.”
* Don’t miss my flash review of The Avengers: Age of Ultron! As I say in the update, thanks to my friend Ryan Vu for priming the pump (and look for his brilliant review of Captain America 2 in a few months in SFFTV).
* 2030 is set largely in the titular year, 100 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City. The initial title card establishes that 80% of the population has been evacuated due to the rising sea level as an effect of global warming.
* Late last week, using the hashtag #talkpay, people began tweeting about how much money they make—a radical thing to do in a culture that treats disclosing your salary as the ultimate taboo.
* I’ve been buried in final book manuscript revisions, and have been noticing that I’m increasingly using the term “management” rather than “administration” in my analyses of university governance. Part of the reason is that my employer, the University of California, uses Senior Management Group as a formal employment classification. But it’s also because the friendlier aspects of the term “administration” seem decreasingly part of everyday academic life. Friendliness was administration as support structure, as collaborator, as partner, as the entity that did not take orders from obnoxious egocentric faculty prima donnas the way that frontline staff often had to do, but that accepted balanced power relations and a certain mutual respect that could make decisions move relatively quickly and equitably. It would avoid command and control of the kind that prevailed in the army and in most corporations, where executive authority consisted of direct rule over subordinates.
* Well, I guess that settles it: In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans.
* “No one has walked on the moon in my lifetime,” I told them. “Yet you try to tell me that it’s my generation who has lost their wonder? That it’s the young people of today who have let everything slip and fall into ruin? You don’t understand. You had the dream and the potential and the opportunities, and you messed it all up. You got hope and moon landings and that bright, glorious future. I got only the disasters.”
* In some ways Ex Machina may be considered a feminist film by sheer dint of our low standards, the scarcity of stories that explore female desire beyond the realm of sex and romance.
* This 5-year-old girl knows a lot more about presidents than you do. At this point I say put her in charge.
* If you’re 33 or older, you will never listen to new music again—at least, that’s more or less what a new online study says. The study, which is based mainly on data from U.S. Spotify users, concludes that age 33 is when, on average, people stop discovering new music and begin the official march to the grave.
* The arc of history is long, but Cheez-Its is finally going to sell a box of just the burned ones.
* The same joke but with this Iceland law allowing anyone to murder any Basque on sight.
* If you want a vision of the future, imagine James Cameron directing Avatar sequels, forever.
* This is the only movie franchise Disney should produce from now on.
* It’s not time to degree, it’s time from degree.
* Professors and other university employees wouldn’t be able to criticize or praise lawmakers, the governor or other elected officials in letters to the editor if they use their official titles, under a bill introduced in the Legislature. Having solved every other problem in existence, the Legislature now turns its eyes towards…
* First Louisiana, then Wisconsin, now South Carolina ups the ante. Now they want to shut it down for two years. Would it shock you if I told you this was a historically black college? Would it completely blow your mind?
SOFIA SAMATAR: Lately I have been thinking about African literature as the literature that becomes nothing.“African subjectivity…is constituted by a perennial lack: lacking souls, lacking civilization, lacking writing, lacking responsibility, lacking development, lacking human rights and lacking democracy. It is an unending discourse that invents particular ‘lacks’ suitable for particular historical epochs so as to justify perpetuation of asymmetrical power relations and to authorize various forms of external interventions into Africa.” (Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Empire, Global Coloniality And African Subjectivity)This was kicked off when I read Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni on lack. We know that all literary works are copies, but Africanliterature is a copy in a way that obliterates it (Ouologuem, Camara Laye, whatever, choose your plagiarism scandal). All literature is political, but African literature is political in a way that makes it cease to be literature (it’s “too political,” “didactic,” etc.). All literature is produced to suit a market, but African literature is produced to suit an illegitimate, inauthentic, outside market (it’s always in the wrong language). Its market also makes it nothing…
* Crumbs is a new feature-length film project from award-winning Addis Ababa-based Spanish director Miguel Llansó boldly touting itself as “the first ever Ethiopian post-apocalyptic, surreal, sci-fi feature length film.” Its cryptic official trailer, which we first spotted over on Shadow and Act, takes us deep into a bizarre universe inhabited by the beautiful Candy (played by Ethiopian actress Selam Tesfaye) and her diminutive scrap collecting partner Birdy (played by Ethiopian actor Daniel Tadesse Gagano), who sets out on a journey to uncover strange happenings in their otherwise desolate surroundings.
* I asked Mr. Trachtenberg if it was morally defensible to let students borrow tens of thousands of dollars for a service that he himself had compared to a luxury good. He is not, by nature, one for apologies and second-guessing. “I’m not embarrassed by what we did,” he said. “It’s not as if it’s some kind of a bait and switch here. It’s not as if the faculty weren’t good. It’s not as if the opportunities to get a good degree weren’t there. There’s no misrepresentation here.” He seemed unbowed but also aware that his legacy was bound up in the larger dramas and crises of American higher education.
* Jesus Christ: The University of Oregon illegally pried through the medical records of a female student who was expected to file a sexual assault-related lawsuit against the school, a staff therapist claims.
* Rosa Parks — because of her arrest, because of her activism — loses her job at the Montgomery Fair department store, where she was an assistant tailor. She wasn’t fired, they just let her go. And Raymond Parks also loses his job as well. And neither one of them is able to find sustainable employment in Montgomery after that — because of their activism, absolutely. They are basically boycotted. …
This is a 1955 tax return, and of course her arrest is in December of that year, and their combined income is $3,749. So they’re, you know, the working poor, but they’re holding their head above water. And here is their tax return in 1959 when they’re living in Detroit. Their combined income is $661. They have descended into deep, deep poverty.
* On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr.
* NASA’s latest budget calls for a mission to Europa. OK I think as long as we attempt no landings there.
* Secret Teacher: exams have left my students incapable of thinking. “Incapable” is a bit strong, but elites have certainly turned education into a nightmare.
* What appears to happen during this time—the years I look at are 1994 to 2008, just based on the data that’s available—is that the probability that a district attorneys file a felony charge against an arrestee goes from about 1 in 3, to 2 in 3. So over the course of the ’90s and 2000s, district attorneys just got much more aggressive in how they filed charges. Defendants who they would not have filed felony charges against before, they now are charging with felonies. I can’t tell you why they’re doing that. No one’s really got an answer to that yet. But it does seem that the number of felony cases filed shoots up very strongly, even as the number of arrests goes down.
* Text adventure micro-game of the day: 9:05.
* Fantasy short of the day: “The Two of Us.”
* Sharing companies use their advertising to build a sort of anti-brand-community brand community. Both sharing companies and brand communities mediate social relations and make them seem less risky. Actual community is full of friction and unresolvable competing agendas; sharing apps’ main function is to eradicate friction and render all parties’ agenda uniform: let’s make a deal. They are popular because they do what brand communities do: They allow people to extract value from strangers without the hassle of having to dealing with them as more than amiable robots.
* The-price-is-too-high watch: Study says smelling farts may be good for your health.
* From the archives: The New Yorker‘s 2013 profile of American Sniper Chris Kyle.
* Human sociality and the problem of trust: there’s an app for that.
* But Manson, 80, does not want to marry Burton and has no interest in spending eternity displayed in a glass coffin, Simone told The Post. “He’s finally realized that he’s been played for a fool,” Simone said. Poor guy.
* “This AI can create poetry indistinguishable from real poets.” Finally, we can get rid of all these poets!
* The news gets worse, academics: Your lifetime earnings are probably determined in your 20s.
* For a small group of comedy writers, however, their yearly viewing couldn’t be further from Bedford Falls. Instead, they gather ’round a never-aired 1996 Comedy Central special: Escape From It’s A Wonderful Life.
* Jacobin remembers the Christmas truce, one hundred years old yesterday.
* Let 2015 be Year One of the post-carbon future. 4 Legal Battles This Year That Were All About Climate Change. Sewage in the streets of Miami. Could flooding finally wake Americans up to the climate crisis? Irreversible But Not Unstoppable: The Ghost Of Climate Change Yet To Come.
* Elsewhere on the local beat: A Milwaukee doctor says he has the answer to concussions.
* And, sadly: Milwaukee’s poet laureate passes away.
* Among recent graduates ages 22 to 27, the jobless rate for blacks last year was 12.4 percent versus 4.9 percent for whites, said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
* I missed this one in August: Tobias Wolff on the heart of whiteness.
* I can’t believe they made a movie out of Bill, The Galactic Hero. I can’t wait to see it.
* A look inside 8chan, the worst place on the Internet: “The Mods Are Always Asleep.”
* There’s magical thinking, and then there’s “Believing in Santa Claus could help your kids develop a cure for cancer.”
* This was a nice, short, readable explanation of how all the statistical analysis in The Bell Curve was bullshit.
* 10 Story Decisions Scifi And Fantasy Writers Ended Up Regretting. Tough list to get down to just ten!
* In the 1950s, Egypt and Britain played an old version of tit-for-tat. Egypt took the Suez Canal. The British decided to pay them back by stealing the river Nile itself. Yes, the whole Nile.
* Parents Are Moving To The Same Towns Where Their Kids Go To College. When my kids go to college, I’m enrolling in their freshman classes. I don’t want to miss a moment.
* The melancholy of all things done” is the way Buzz once described his complete mental breakdown after returning from the moon. Booze. A couple of divorces. A psych ward. Broke. At one point he was selling cars. Buzz Aldrin and the dark side of the Moon.
* A public service announcement: Black Mirror: White Christmas was fantastic. Find a way to watch it!
* And if you squint just right it looks like the world isn’t ending. Happy Holidays indeed!