Posts Tagged ‘obituary’
* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.
* Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.
* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.
* From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.
* The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.
* Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.
* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.
* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.
* An excerpt from the conversation between Tim Morton and Jeff VanderMeer from my and Andy Hageman’s issue of Paradoxa is up at LARB. You can read our introduction too! The issue has been printed and will be on its way to subscribers (and available for purchase) soon.
* acting as if nothing terrible has happened
is a failed strategy you yell and this docility
has ruined and crushed us and afraid as I am
I cannot hold your vehemence against you
at this political moment as I watch you dig
your fingers into the rubble you’re sitting on
and you say maybe it’s impossible to believe
in politeness or civilization anymore…
* Ken Liu’s “Paper Menagerie” is the first story to hit the Hugo / Nebula / World Fantasy Award trifecta. Read it!
* Being a parent really is a second childhood: I’m even terrified of nuclear war again. “A tense new battle over nuclear arms erupts between Donald Trump and his staff.” Tweeting our way to Armageddon.
* Ted Chiang talks adapting Arrival.
* Looking back: The collapse of the Obama coalition. What could explain it? More data that couldn’t possibly explain it. Having presided over the catastrophic collapse of his party and the possible end of American democracy, Obama gives himself high marks. Why Did Planned Parenthood Supporters Vote Trump?
*A consummate bullshit artist, Bucky Fuller’s career was built on failure, if not outright fraud. With few of his ideas achieving commercial success, he amounted to nothing more than a hand-waving proponent of outlandish notions. Worse still, he was an aggressive manager of his own profile and patents, an authoritarian technocrat who sought not students but compliant disciples to disseminate his muddled messages. The lynchpin of this view: even the geodesic dome, Fuller’s greatest “success,” rested on a concept borrowed (to be charitable) from an aspiring student sculptor. Buckminster Fuller in the 21st Century.
* Don’t make the joke, don’t make the joke: Sex robots will ‘come a lot sooner than you think’, scientist claims.
* Elsewhere in the rise of the machines.
* A&E Cancels KKK Docuseries Following Criticism. That whole network needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
* BREAKING: All pro sports are bad.
* Actually, my speciality is evil ethics.
* They did it: They found the worst Star Wars take.
* Meanwhile, in Japan: Can the Emperor abdicate?
* And wherever we are on the political spectrum: let’s give the giant meteor a chance.
* TNG and the limits of liberalism (and, not incidentally, why I always recommend The Culture novels to Star Trek fans). And one more Trek link I missed yesterday: An oral history of “The Inner Light.”
* We are, after all, rigged for gratification, conditioned to want to “feel good.” We seek pleasure, not pain; happiness, not misery; validation, not defeat. Our primary motivators are what I have previously called the “Neuro P5”: pleasure, pride, permanency, power, and profit — however these may be translated across socio-cultural contexts. Whenever technologies that enhance these motivators become available, we are likely to pursue them.
* The layered geologic past of Mars is revealed in stunning detail in new color images returned by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, which is currently exploring the “Murray Buttes” region of lower Mount Sharp. The new images arguably rival photos taken in U.S. National Parks.
* “Why a forgotten 1930s critique of capitalism is back in fashion.” The Frankfurt School, forgotten?
* CFP: “Activism and the Academy.”
* Your MLA JIL Minute: Assistant Professor of Science Fiction/Fantasy Studies at Florida Atlantic University.
* States vs. localities at Slate. Wisconsin vs. Milwaukee is the example in the lede.
* And just in case you’re wondering: What happens if a presidential candidate dies at the last second?
* Once again: A News21 analysis four years ago of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states found that while some fraud had occurred since 2000, the rate was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million registered voters in that 12-year span. The analysis found 10 cases of voter impersonation — the only kind of fraud that could be prevented by voter ID at the polls.
* 21st Century Headlines: “Airlines and airports are beginning to crack down on explosive Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones.”
* Rebranding watch: Lab-Grown Meat Doesn’t Want to Be Called Lab-Grown Meat.
* Passing My Disability On to My Children. Facing the possibility of passing on a very different genetic condition — which, as it turned out, I wasn’t a carrier of– I was very much on the other side of this before we had our children.
* Jason Brennan (and, in the comments, Phil Magness) talk at Bleeding Heart Libertarians about their followup paper on adjunctification, “Are Adjuncts Exploited?: Some Grounds for Skepticism.”
* This Friday at C21: Brian Price on Remakes and Regret.
* From the archives: Some Rules for Teachers.