Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘oil spills

Some Weekend Links

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In this future, if MOOCs are the route to a credential, they may initially retain some of the popularity that traditional higher education currently holds. But as people realize that the real opportunities continue to accrue to those who are able to attend whatever traditional colleges and universities that remain, they will go to even greater lengths than today to secure those spots. Meanwhile, those for whom access to this opportunity is impossible will be left even further behind.

* Tampering with powers mankind was never meant to know: The U.S. military has developed a pizza that stays edible for years.

Socialism is not a flight from the human condition; it’s a direct and unsentimental confrontation with that condition.

* Anyway, the point is this: maybe the exhaust port wasn’t the problem.

Faculty on Strike.

* Reclamations Special Issue: Securitization and the University.

Can The Government Stop The Comcast/TWC Monstrosity? Comcast must be stopped. Preach.

A Florida town is attempting to repeal its ban on homeless people using blankets and other means of shelter and comfort. That’s good, I gue–wait, you banned what?

* Not only does the state’s proposed law allow private businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples; it permits state employees to deny them basic services. WHAT?

* Another NFL cheerleader files suit against her team. This one details the copious amounts of clothing and body discipling for a job that pays $90 a game.

* Noam Chomsky, stealing my bit.

* Now playable! Sesame Street Fighter.

* Ellen Page comes out.

Is the AA system of addiction recovery too unscientific to work?

The Blum Center Takeover Manifesto.

Why not cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as Doctor Strange? I’m on board.

* Because somebody had to: Debunking Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld.

The problem with the thesis is that in setting out their claim, the authors ignore the more obvious explanation for differences in group success: history. To be specific, in their quest to make it all about culture, the authors either ignore or strongly discount the particular circumstances of a group’s first arrival, and the advantages enjoyed by that first wave.

Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]

But Truman’s famously crisp sentence did encapsulate a recurrent American attitude toward the fearsome weapons the United States developed: they came to us almost accidentally, inadvertently, “found” in that cornucopia which modern science and technology provided.

Leaks benefit the government, the author argues, in many ways. They are a safety valve, a covert messaging system, a perception management tool, and more.  Even when a particular disclosure is unwelcome or damaging, it serves to validate the system as a whole.

The Word You Are Searching for Is Rape.

Wendy Davis Is Pretty Much Fine With the Abortion Ban She Filibustered.

* Another Day, Another Train Derails In Pennsylvania, Spilling Up To 4,000 Gallons Of Oil.

A recent analysis found that rail cars spilled more than 1.15 million gallons of oil in 2013, more than was spilled in the previous four decades combined. Still, some companies are looking to expand their oil-by-rail transport: expansion plans for oil-by-rail projects on the West Coast could mean that as many as 11 fully loaded oil trains would travel each day through Spokane, Washington. A Senate subcommittee was scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on rail safety, but it had to be rescheduled due to bad weather that forced the closure of the federal government.

* STAMOS! Remembering The LEGO Movie Directors’ Wonderful TV Show, Clone High.

The (almost) entire run of Gargoyles is streaming legally on YouTube.

* Say I’m the Only Bee in Your Bonnet: A People’s History of “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”

* Facebook has added fifty alternative gender options.

Texas Appeals Court: State Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage.

* And in breaking news: Internet trolls are seriously bad news. The more you know…

Friday Morning Links

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Wednesday Night!

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* “A game that demands you do meaningless, inexplicably stupid things to progress”: Poison Tree: A letter to Niko Bellic about Grand Theft Auto V.

I need to tell you up front: I do not write recommendations for Teach for America. I believe doing so is immoral and damaging to children, to schools, to the teaching profession, and to this country. I was a TFA corps member myself, and now I am an active member of the TFA resistance movement. I urge you to please reconsider applying to TFA.

Censored by Google.

“You’re a lawyer. You know you can’t tweet stuff like that and expect to get on an easyJet flight.”

Black Enrollment Falls 30 Percent At University of Michigan After Affirmative Action Ban.

Remember The Tar Sands Leaks That No One Knew How To Stop In July? They’re Still Leaking.

* College endowments making mad mad money.

Why Do We Tolerate Revenge Porn?

Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup ‘slaves.’

* Durham chosen for Google hub.

* And congratulations, University of Wisconsin, Playboy’s #2 party school.

Weekend Links (Now with More Twitter Nazel-Gazing!)

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* How to Survive a Graduate Career. Draws in part from Audrey Waters’s “The Real Reason I Dropped Out of a PhD Program.” I’ve just been talking a bit on Twitter this afternoon about my own experiences with a very particular kind of health scare near the end of graduate school (no symptoms, only the potential for very serious symptoms in the future) and the extent to which it completely opened my eyes about how unforgiving academic labor can be with respect to human frailty.

* I also had a long, possibly extremely tedious conversation on Twitter this afternoon with @adamkotsko, @ibogost, and @pannapacker about whether the focus of efforts to reform graduate education in the humanities should be focused on individuals or on systems. Way down at the end of it I monologue a bit both about the self-defeating nature of market-driven, consumerist approaches and about my own experience making “good” and “bad” choices with respect to the academy.

* From earlier today: Don’t miss Kotsko hulking out.

* Meanwhile in humanities education: Employers and Public Favor Graduates Who Can Communicate, Survey Finds.

* Ask Sven Lindqvist: Who is responsible if a drone kills my child?

* While earlier studies have argued that redshirted children do better both socially and academically—citing data on school evaluations, leadership positions, and test scores—more recent analyses suggest that the opposite may well be the case: the youngest kids, who barely make the age cutoff but are enrolled anyway, ultimately end up on top—not their older classmates. When a group of economists followed Norwegian children born between 1962 and 1988, until the youngest turned eighteen, in 2006, they found that, at age eighteen, children who started school a year later had I.Q. scores that were significantly lower than their younger counterparts. Their earnings also suffered: through age thirty, men who started school later earned less. A separate study, of the entire Swedish population born between 1935 and 1984, came to a similar conclusion: in the course of the life of a typical Swede, starting school later translated to reduced over-all earnings. In a 2008 study at Harvard University, researchers found that, within the U.S., increased rates of redshirting were leading to equally worrisome patterns. The delayed age of entry, the authors argued, resulted in academic stagnation: it decreased completion rates for both high-school and college students, increased the gender gap in graduation rates (men fell behind women), and intensified socioeconomic differences.

* “I get enraged when I see people hating on the kids today. You try graduating into this mess.”

* Ted Cruz Turns Obamacare Defunding Plan From Disaster to Utter Fiasco.

Step one of this far-fetched scheme was the passage of a “continuing resolution,” which keeps the government open, attached to abolishing Obamacare. Now it goes to the Senate. Once that bill comes up for a vote in the Senate, the majority can vote to strip away the provision defunding Obamacare. That vote can’t be filibustered. It’s a simple majority vote, and Democrats have the majority.What Senate Republicans can do is filibuster to prevent the bill from coming to a vote at all. That’s the only recourse the Senate defunders have. And Ted Cruz is promising to do just that: “ I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together,” he says, “and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in.” A “committed defunder” in the Senate likewise tells David Drucker, “Reid must not be allowed to fund Obamacare with only 51 votes.”

In other words, the new stop-Obamacare plan now entails filibustering the defunders’ own bill.

The GOP’s Suicide Squeeze.

* BREAKING: Online courses don’t live up to hype. Inside the Coursera Hype Machine.

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* Some new reporting on the hydrogen bomb that the US government dropped on North Carolina in 1961 reveals just how close it came to detonating.

Over 22,000 gallons of oil spilled so far in Colorado’s floods.

* And it is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails: 22-Year-Old Inmate Says She Is Going Blind Because Prison Won’t Treat Her Diabetes.

Weekend Links!

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* Big fair use decision: specific commentary on the original work is not required for a fair use defense.

* Finding common ground with Senator Coburn: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude major professional sports leagues from qualifying as tax-exempt organizations.

* Gasp! Many students stay away from online courses in subjects they deem especially difficult or interesting, according to a study released this month by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The finding comes just as many highly selective colleges are embracing online learning and as massive open online courses are gaining popularity and standing.

“What we’re saying is that bargain-basement (clothing) is automatically leading towards these types of disasters,” John Hilary, executive director at British charity War on Want, told Reuters.

* Bad Robot will adapt 11/22/63.

* Canada gets it right: “The legal test for a true volunteer arrangement looks at several factors, but merely agreeing to work without pay does not in itself make you a volunteer,” Ministry of Labour spokesperson Jonathon Rose wrote in an email. See also Natalia Cecire:

Like the hypothetical minimum-wage high schooler whose income serves as pocket money, non-essential and destined for “fun,” the youthful volunteer, who may very well intrinsically enjoy the work, authorizes a category of labor exploitation that is not only okay but also okay to take as the norm for the labor of cultural preservation. “I can get you a twenty-year-old!” is, in that sense, not a labor solution but its opposite: a commitment to the norm that this work will be unpaid.

* Whitewashing and manwashing cinema.

* Mother Jones profiles the great Tig Notaro.

What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill.

* And 66 behind-the-scenes photos from the filming of The Empire Strikes Back.

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Wednesday Night Links: 8,000 Barrels, 0.000025%, 3,387 Men, $100 Bills, and More

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Over a longer time span, say a decade, we would expect about 19 spill incidents with an aggregate spill volume of about 8,000 barrels, enough to fill about half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  We would expect about 1.3 of these spills to be “large,” which means that on average we would expect a “large” spill to occur about once every 8 years or so.  Clearly, based upon reported historical industry performance, spills in general and large spills in particular would not be a rare occurrence for the proposed pipeline.

* Elsevier’s behavior is so egregious that it has provoked a boycott from academics who refuse to write or review papers for its journals. But to focus on one malefactor elides a larger question: Why should academic knowledge — largely produced by academics at public and nonprofit universities and often with government grants — be turned into private property and kept from public dissemination?

Dartmouth College Cancels Classes After Sexual Assault Protesters Receive Rape Threats. More at Student Activism.

* Piranhas are a very tricky species: On Gift Horses and Trojan Horses: The Proposed Aquatics Center.

* Tumblr of the day: Little Girls Are Better at Designing Superheroes Than You.

Women Writers take heed, you are being erased on Wikipedia. It would appear that in order to make room for male writers, women novelists (such as Amy Tan, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt and 300 others) have been moved off the “American Novelists” page and into the “American Women Novelists” category. Not the back of the bus, or the kiddie table exactly–except of course–when you google “American Novelists” the list that appears is almost exclusively men (3,387 men).

“I love to paint. It is — painting has changed my life in an unbelievably positive way,” the unprosecuted war criminal said.

Mad Men’s Misery Problem And How TV Can Handle Characters Who Never Change.

Right Wing Media Exploit Boston Bombings To Attack Government Assistance Programs. West Virginia Republican: Make Kids Work As Janitors For School Lunches.

Feds spend at least $890,000 on fees for empty accounts. That’s a crushing 0.000025% of the federal budget going to WASTE.

Holding Corporations Responsible for Workplace Deaths. And then there’s Matt “Proud Neoliberal” Yglesias.

Rhode Island Becomes 10th State To Approve Marriage Equality.

* A Slavoj Žižek Text Adventure.

* Monster.com bans unpaid internships.

* You majored in STEM? And you thought you’d get a job after graduation? Why didn’t you major in something useful?

* And the new $100 is awful. Good thing I’ll never actually have one.

Lots of Monday Links But In My Defense They Are All Fascinating

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* Margaret Thatcher dies. Glenn Greenwald on speaking ill of the dead. We’re still living in Thatcher’s world. We Are All Thatcherites Now. “If I reported to you what Mrs. Thatcher really thought about President Reagan, it would damage Anglo-American relations.” Thatcher on the climate. Obama on Thatcher.

Will Democrats destroy the planet? And pretty gleefully, too, it looks like.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that not a single one of our major institutions, within government or without, is capable of confronting this problem. And if we can’t, that’s rather the ballgame, isn’t it?

The Methane Beneath Our Feet.

ExxonMobil, FAA, Arkansas cops establish flight restriction zone, threaten reporters who try to document Mayflower, AR spill.

* It’s Art Pope’s nightmare, North Carolinians just live in it.

Imagine for a moment if a loved one found themselves in legal jeopardy in some foreign country that had a 99% conviction rate.  You might ask what kind of illegitimate system are they up against.  You would likely conclude that any system where conviction is nearly-assured is stacked against the accused.  Yet this is exactly what the situation is in federal courts in the United States, the alleged bastion of liberty that does not hesitate to hold itself out as a beacon of freedom and poses as the benchmark of fairness that other nations are encouraged to follow.

* Pornokitsch considers one of my childhood favorites, Dragonlance Chronicles.

Searching for Bill Watterson.

How to make $1,000,000 at Rutgers. Rutgers Practices Were Not a Hostile Work Environment.

Average Faculty Salaries, 2012–13. The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012-13. Colleges Begin to Reward Professors for Doing Work That Actually Matters to Them.

And with stretched budgets and public pressure to keep costs down, many colleges and universities are cutting back on tenure and tenure-track jobs. According to the report, such positions now make up only 24 percent of the academic work force, with the bulk of the teaching load shifted to adjuncts, part-timers, graduate students and full-time professors not on the tenure track.

* The dark side of open access.

Is Stanford still a university? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than a dozen students—both undergraduate and graduate—have left school to work on a new technology start-up called Clinkle. Faculty members have invested, the former dean of Stanford’s business school is on the board, and one computer-science professor who taught several of the employees now owns shares. The founder of Clinkle was an undergraduate advisee of the president of the university, John Hennessey, who has also been advising the company. Clinkle deals with mobile payments, and, if all goes well, there will be many payments to many people on campus. Maybe, as it did with Google, Stanford will get stock grants. There are conflicts of interest here; and questions of power dynamics. The leadership of a university has encouraged an endeavor in which students drop out in order to do something that will enrich the faculty.

‘Social Entrepreneurs’ Bring New Ideas, New Conflicts to Colleges.

Coursera Takes a Nuanced View of MOOC Dropout Rates.

Steinberg’s bill will undermine public education by entrenching private capital; Block’s overestimates the educational effectiveness of online for its target population and therefore helps foreclose more imaginative uses of the digital and the allocation of necessary resources to the CCC and the CSU.

How the Location of Colleges Hurts the Economy.

So imagine my surprise — and envy — upon learning that these networkers moonlight in a profitable little business using Shakespeare to teach leadership, strategy and management to businesses and organizations. For $28,000 a day!

The relentless drive for efficiency at U.S. companies has created a new harshness in the workplace. In their zeal to make sure that not a minute of time is wasted, companies are imposing rigorous performance quotas, forcing many people to put in extra hours, paid or not. Video cameras and software keep tabs on worker performance, tracking their computer keystrokes and the time spent on each customer service call.

The Problem with Nonprofits.

* A brief history of public goods.

New York Is Shelving Prison Law Libraries.

* An editor rejects The Left Hand of Darkness.

* Game of Thrones as subway map.

* Dear Television premieres at TNR with a review of the Mad Men premiere.

* Bill Cosby will speak at the 2013 Marquette commencement.

* And your single-serving-site of the day: How far away is Mars?