Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘National Mall

Spring Break So Close You Can Taste It Links

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* Sing to me, Muse, of Fredric Jameson. I’ve never understood the “worst writer” slam against Fred; alongside all the other good things I’d have to say about his work I think he’s actually very clear and precise.

* CFP for the 2014 Marxist Literary Group at the Banff Centre: Energy, Environment, Culture.”

* CFP: Bruce Springsteen Studies.

* Once upon a time in America this was called advocating for justice. But in today’s America, it’s deemed a miscarriage of justice.

* Meanwhile. My god. And my god. And my god. And my god. The US courts are just a bottomless nightmare.

Obama knew CIA secretly monitored intelligence committee, senator claims. Yes we can!

* Freddie deBoer on the unbearable lightness of always voting Democrat.

* The unbearable whiteness of Project X.

* 25 Years of Declining State Support for Public Colleges. Many Colleges ‘Hoard’ Endowments During Rough Economic Times. The Rising Cost of Not Going to College.

* Service, Sex Work, and the Profession.

* The SATs have been provably racist and classist for decades with no improvements; Canavan’s Razor would suggest that’s the entire point. But this time…

The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped? Content Warnings and College Classes. The Trigger Warned Syllabus. We’ve gone too far with ‘trigger warnings.’ I think this kind of “trigger warning” — and even offering alternative assignments when circumstances warrant — is very often good pedagogy on the level of the individual classroom; I did so this semester when teaching Lolita, somewhat reluctantly, but I’d come to feel it was necessary. I’m very skeptical it would ever be a good idea at the level of administration or policy.

An Elegy for Academic Freedom.

* 10 Unintentionally Horrifying Statues of Famous People.

* Tendrils of the invisible web: the undersea cables wiring the Earth.

“Wearing Google Glass automatically means that all social interaction you have must be not just on yours, but Google’s terms,” Adrian Chen wrote at Gawker almost a year ago, when we all first cringed in fear.

* You know every cop is a criminal: David Cameron’s porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children.

* Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher’s car.

* The Civ V files: Never Move Your Settler?

The Fetishization of Lupita Nyong’o.

* Who owns the Oscar selfie?

* Zombie Studies in the WSJ.

Why Sweden has so few road deaths.

* Durham school board joins teacher tenure lawsuit.

According to a New Study, Nothing Can Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind.

Activists Erect A Monument To Rape Survivors On The National Mall.

How Gun Violence is Devastating the Millennial Generation.

* Sea Level Rise Threatens The Statue Of Liberty And Hundreds Of Other Cultural Heritage Sites. Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse. But don’t worry! President Obama’s New Budget Is Peppered With Efforts To Tackle Climate Change. Peppered!

Milwaukee shuts down Little Caesars for day over rodent droppings. A whole day! That’ll show ’em.

Cheerleader Sues Parents for Refusing to Pay College Tuition. Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk. Having not heard any of the evidence or consulted any of the relevant laws, Canavan Court rules in favor of both plaintiffs!

* How do you remember a massacre?

* How did DC manage to cast anyone but Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor — much less Jesse Eisenberg? It’s a crime.

* Pretty mediocre hoax. Everyone knows Mattel has had working hoverboards since the 80s anyway.

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed.

* And I try not to get sucked into the wingnut-said-something-crazy! scene anymore, but every once in a while: my god.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Wednesday Night

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* “Locked up in the bowels of the medical faculty building here and accessible to only a handful of scientists lies a man-made flu virus that could change world history if it were ever set free.” Via MeFi.

io9 has your alternate-universe Lincoln Memorial.

* Daniel Ellsberg on what it’s like to receive top-secret security clearance.

“First, you’ll be exhilarated by some of this new information, and by having it all — so much! incredible! — suddenly available to you. But second, almost as fast, you will feel like a fool for having studied, written, talked about these subjects, criticized and analyzed decisions made by presidents for years without having known of the existence of all this information, which presidents and others had and you didn’t, and which must have influenced their decisions in ways you couldn’t even guess. In particular, you’ll feel foolish for having literally rubbed shoulders for over a decade with some officials and consultants who did have access to all this information you didn’t know about and didn’t know they had, and you’ll be stunned that they kept that secret from you so well.

“You will feel like a fool, and that will last for about two weeks. Then, after you’ve started reading all this daily intelligence input and become used to using what amounts to whole libraries of hidden information, which is much more closely held than mere top secret data, you will forget there ever was a time when you didn’t have it, and you’ll be aware only of the fact that you have it now and most others don’t….and that all those other people are fools.

“Over a longer period of time — not too long, but a matter of two or three years — you’ll eventually become aware of the limitations of this information. There is a great deal that it doesn’t tell you, it’s often inaccurate, and it can lead you astray just as much as the New York Times can. But that takes a while to learn.

“In the meantime it will have become very hard for you to learn from anybody who doesn’t have these clearances. Because you’ll be thinking as you listen to them: ‘What would this man be telling me if he knew what I know? Would he be giving me the same advice, or would it totally change his predictions and recommendations?’ And that mental exercise is so torturous that after a while you give it up and just stop listening. I’ve seen this with my superiors, my colleagues….and with myself.

“You will deal with a person who doesn’t have those clearances only from the point of view of what you want him to believe and what impression you want him to go away with, since you’ll have to lie carefully to him about what you know. In effect, you will have to manipulate him. You’ll give up trying to assess what he has to say. The danger is, you’ll become something like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they may have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours.”

* More on Romnarok from Ezra Klein.

* And Mayor Bloomberg says the NYPD is his “own private army.” I think one of us probably ought to go back to 8th grade civics class. But which one?

Postponing the Ceremony

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King did not think that America ought to go to hell, but rather that it might go to hell owing to its economic injustice, cultural decay and political paralysis. He was not an American Gibbon, chronicling the decline and fall of the American empire, but a courageous and visionary Christian blues man, fighting with style and love in the face of the four catastrophes he identified.

Cornell West: Martin Luther King Jr. Would Want a Revolution, Not a Memorial.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 26, 2011 at 10:55 am

Wednesday Links

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* Since yesterday there have apparently been small earthquakes in Los Angeles and Iran, and a large one in Peru. I’m ready to call it: S.P.E.C.T.R.E. has an earthquake machine.

* Did Fracking Cause the Virginia Earthquake?

* National Level Exercise 11: a high-magnitude quake hits the New Madrid Fault, which lies on the border region of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi and on which fifteen nuclear power plants sit. More scary news: Virginia Nuclear Plant Had Quake Sensors Removed Due to Budget Cuts.

Future Shocks: Modern Science, Ancient Catastrophes and the Endless Quest to Predict Earthquakes. Via longform.org.

The Wire: The Complete Series is on sale today only at Amazon for $72.

* Lots of buzz today around truly outrageous exploitation of international student labor (and an eventual work action) at Hershey’s; good posts can be found at How the University Works and New APPS.

On the Early Iconography of Certain of the 2012 Presidential Campaign Logos, Considered Alphabetically.

* I linked this on Twitter yesterday, but it’s worth repeating: this short Portal fan film is pretty stellar.

* Hegemony watch: “The Chinese want to make Superman an honorary citizen.”

* Laughably Freudian symbolism watch: “Washington Monument may be cracked, could be closed indefinitely.”

* A big part of the problem is precisely that climate efforts so far have been almost entirely driven by liberal elites. It’s been an extremely intellectualized, top-down sort of undertaking, and as we saw with painful clarity during the climate bill fiasco, an elite-driven strategy isn’t going to cut it. Why Isn’t the Climate Left Stronger?

* As things now stand we are producing a generation of graduates whose lives are being wrecked by debts they will never be rid of (or, if they go into the Income-Based Repayment program, will be rid of in 25 years, which to be fair is only five years longer than the term of service for ordinary soldiers in the Roman Legions when that empire was at its height). The Road to Serfdom.

* And just for laughs wry, knowing half-smiles: How Hard Is It To Get a Cartoon Into The New Yorker?

Monday Night Infinite Jest (and More)

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* The MLK Memorial opened today on the Washington Mall. Pretty visually stunning.

* zunguzungu has your Libya links.

* The headline reads, “The Scramble for Access to Libya’s Oil Wealth Begins.”

* Kaufman, who has a lifelong passion for American folk music, has just written a biography of Guthrie. And, much more unusually for an academic, he is singing his way across the US to promote it. He is performing Guthrie’s songs, which he mixes with short lectures and projected images in what Kaufman calls a “live musical documentary.”

* Grant Morrison: The Rolling Stone interview. More here. Via Bleeding Cool.

* The New Yorker profiles Clarence Thomas. Via just about everybody.

* Also via literally everybody: The Decembrists’ new Infinite-Jest-themed music video.

* Don’t miss Brad DeLong’s brief history of the Obama administration. Via Digby.

* 2010: Detroit apocalypse porn. 2011: Detroit is the new Brooklyn.

* Inside the mind behind Feminist Hulk. If you’d bet the account was owned by a graduate student in English literature, pick up your money at the front desk.

* Inside the Tea Party: a UNC professor has polled Tea Party supporters to determine that the Tea Party’s core values are “authoritarianism, fear of change, libertarianism and nativism.” I can’t imagine anyone anywhere will find this study remotely controversial.

* Kevin Drum asks: Can we fix the economy? Sign me up for Krugman’s Lament (first comment); we can fix this, we just won’t.

* Wikileaks implodes.

* And a look inside how Scrabble warps your brain.

Competitive Scrabble players’ visual word recognition behavior differed significantly from non-experts’ for letter-prompted verbal fluency (coming up with words beginning with a specific letter) and anagramming accuracy, two Scrabble-specific skills. Competitive players were faster to judge whether or not a word was real. They also judged the validity of vertical words faster than non-experts and were quicker at picking up abstract words than non-competitive players. These findings indicate that Scrabble players are less reliant on the meaning of words to judge whether or not they are real, and more flexible at word recognition using orthographic information.

National Mall as Metaphor

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The National Mall serves as a tragic metaphor for our nation, whose own infrastructure has been left to crumble. The irony is that the way that the National Mall has been allowed to crumble literally in front of the government is like how our nation has slowly crumbled while the government grows in size and power.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2008 at 4:03 am