Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘optimism

Christmas Leftovers Links

with 3 comments

* Listen, when Chris Ware tells you to buy a book, you buy it.

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.

Caganer — the strangest, most scatological part of Catalan nativity scenes — explained.

* 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.

* The crazy history of Star Wars.

The Class Struggle in the North Pole.

* The Justice Department may investigate Milwaukee PD following the no-indict of the shooter of Dontre Hamilton.

* 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.

* Subway sandwiches and the halo effect.

* 90-Year-Old Vet Arrested For Feeding Homeless Will Hand Out Christmas Eve Dinner.

* I can’t believe they made a movie out of Bill, The Galactic Hero. I can’t wait to see it.

“I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9’ S, Longitude 126° 43’ W)?”

* 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.”

* Behold, the baby in the sun from Teletubbies.

* 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.

* A very J.R.R. Tolkien Christmas.

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.

Falsely Shouting Fire in a Theater: How a Forgotten Labor Struggle Became a National Obsession and Emblem of Our Constitutional Faith.

New York City Sends $30 Million a Year to School With History of Giving Kids Electric Shocks.

Pope Francis: ‘One in 50’ Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals is a paedophile.

Pious Anxiety: Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal.

* On Facebook and Algorithmic Cruelty.

The Marvel Movie Universe, In Completely Chronological Order.

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.

* Of course you had me at “There’s a serious proposal to send astronauts to a floating cloud city in Venus’s atmosphere before heading to Mars.”

* 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!

Friday Links!

leave a comment »

* Ferguson, Missouri, is still the most important story in the country right now; I put up a bunch of links related to the crisis there last night. A letter from David Simon.

* I had a feeling there was more to Robin Williams’s suicide than the initial flurry around depression. It turns out he was suffering from the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

* Nick Kristof defends the humanities. I want to save the humanities more than anyone, but the price is too high. THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH.

Over 1500 Scholars to University of Illinois: We Will Not Engage With You! The case for dismissing Cary Nelson, from the co-chair of the search committee that hired Salaita.

* Denying tenure to game college rankings. Well, that’s cheery.

* “Stop Writing Dystopian Sci-Fi—It’s Making Us All Fear Technology,” says venture capitalist.

* Zombie narrative as teaching tool, at LARoB.

* It Turns Out Colleges Aren’t Actually Atheist Factories.

* Wherever there’s a professor worrying over whether their student really deserves an A- or a B+ — that’s where I’ll be. The Professorate and The Grapes of Wrath.

* You come at the Scrabble King, you best not miss.

* Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, Settlers of Catan. I’m sold.

* Starbucks–with a human face.

* And a mother has been arrested for dropping f-bomb in front of her kids. I think I’d better start my legal defense fund now….

gerrycanavan.com Is Pleased to Offer This Sunday Reading Experience

with 2 comments

* The schedule for the final third of my Cultural Preservation course. This has been one of the best teaching experiences I’ve ever had; I’m hoping things go as well next spring when I do it all again.

* Starting out with two strikes with this guy and he hasn’t even found out where I work yet.

The institution of the faculty wife is alive and well in academic culture. She’s an adjunct.

* Nietzsche was right: it turns out without forgetting it is quite impossible to live at all.

* “It seems to me that St. Patrick’s Day expresses the fundamental nihilism at the heart of American life.”

* Elsewhere in the American nihilism files: NASA study concludes it’s not just you, we really are doomed.

* Meanwhile, we can’t even agree on the incredible, undeniable, world-historical usefulness of vaccines. One map sums up the damage caused by the anti-vaccination movement.

* Surely we’ll start the school day later, when every bit of science backs this up… Oh.

* Unreal: Malaysian investigators conclude missing airliner hijacked. Could the Passengers Still Be Alive?

* Don’t be evil: Google’s anti-copyright stance is just a way to devalue content.

* There’s no escape from the corporate-NSA surveillance network.

* Five Cops Beat Innocent, Unarmed Father to Death Outside Cinema.

* No one could have predicted a completely unregulated peer-to-peer hotel network would lead to bad outcomes. Next up: Hey, Uber, your unregulated taxi was just some random creep’s unsafe car!

* Being Terry Gilliam.

* For the true believers: A Brief History of the Quidditch World Cup.

It’s not Mortal Kombat we should fear; it’s Candy Crush Saga and FarmVille.

50,000 Activists Demand Sexual Assault Reform At Dartmouth After Student Publishes A ‘Rape Guide.’

* On the spell-binding catastrophic collapse of the Juan Pablo season of The Bachelor.

* Thinking big: “I very well may be president of the United States in 2020, but for right now I am supporting some pro-White candidates from the American Freedom Party,” he said.

* If we make the world a paradise where everyone is immortal, will we still be able to have all these awesome jails? Aeon Magazine reports.

Car Dealers Are Terrified of Tesla’s Plan to Eliminate Oil Changes.

* Kim Stanley Robinson is all over the ASU “Thoughtful Optimism” project.

As of 2010-2011, the most recent year with available data, recent humanities and liberal arts majors had 9 percent unemployment. That’s right about on par with students in computer and math fields (9.1 percent), psychology and social work (8.8 percent), and the social sciences (10.3 percent). And it’s just a bit above the average across all majors of 7.9 percent. The larger problem, as always, is that there’s still not enough work for young people post-recession.

Pussy Riot launches a prisoners rights center in Russia, demands freedom in Wisconsin.

* Promisingly specific: Projecting ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ in Theaters Requires Special Instructions.

* Game of the Weekend: 2048, an addictive simplification of Threes!, in your browser.

* And good news for fans of medieval maps.

6a00d8341c464853ef01a73d9013e7970d-800wi

Friday Links

leave a comment »

* Oh, JK: Harry Potter Spin-Off Movie Coming, JK Rowling Writing Screenplay.

* The “Merit Aid” Fiasco.

* “500 year flood” in Colorado. We get those every year now.

When you can pause for a moment between waves of stomach-churning heebie-jeebies, you realize that not only are these women sympathetic characters, but they’re all the more terrifying because they have every bit of anger that makes living women sources of fear, but none of the societal restriction. The Feminist Power of Female Ghosts.

* The President and the Pipeline.

There’s Something Wrong With America’s Premier Liberal Pollster.

What Isaac Asimov Thought 2014 Would Look Like. Of course, he wasn’t always so optimistic.

U-Va. should break some ties with state, panel says in preliminary report. I’m very conflicted about this — I’m not interested in UVA’s ability to “more easily increase tuition” but I would like to see it preserve its independence, and I like the idea of legislatures facing some potential political cost for destroying state university systems.

* Vladimir Putin, the most successful troll of all time.

* Shocked, shocked! Allegations of sex, pay and grade changes trouble Oklahoma State University football fans.

* Massive fire last night at the Seaside Heights boardwalk. Just terrible.

* And all that is solid melts into air: RIP, Marshall Berman. I feel like I begin half the things I write with a quote from All That Is Solid.

A Few for Friday

leave a comment »

* It is hard to overstate: This country, in its current condition, has no other option but something close to full employment. Our pathetic social safety net, even absent the contracting effect of austerity measures, can’t fill in the gaps caused by the demise of ubiquitous employment. Even the counterrevolution has no other idiom; the most common epithet directed toward Occupy protests, after all, was “Get a job!” That the near impossibility of getting a job was the point for many who were protesting was too destabilizing a notion to be understood. In the short term, I have no doubt that the unemployment rate will fall. The question is the long-term structural dependability of a social contract built on mass employment.

Lincoln Memorial, 2013, Anon, latex emulsion.

Lincoln himself, no more than a marble titan cut in his image, does not feel the change. And yet there it is, crawling across him, slithering toward his magisterial tumescence. The artist’s liquid hand is more than mere vestigiality; it is a spiritual kinship with the primitive, making its presence felt in the numinous historiography of neoclassicism, a soupçon of Jung melting into Kantian grandeur. But each is as lurid as the other in its own mythopoeia of the human mind.

* Supreme Court’s Gutting of Voting Rights Act Unleashes GOP Feeding Frenzy. The focus here is on the truly atrocious bill the North Carolina General Assembly passed yesterday.

* Congrats to Forbes’ Top 25 Best Public Colleges in 2013! Too bad one-fifth of them — including the very top three — are currently under fire for allegedly failing to report rape and generally sucking at dealing with sexual assault.

* Ken MacLeod remembers Iain M. Banks.

A Pox on Optimists!

The new Community syndication trailer understands that the show is really about hot girls with boobs.

* And is Arrested Development coming back again? Mitch Hurwitz says “Definitely.”

Friday Night Links

leave a comment »

* I’ve been so busy with the move I haven’t even had time to put up a James Gandolfini RIP post. I was really surprised, and bummed out, by this news. Goddamnit, I loved that show.

I know a lot of die hard fans of the original are pissed off, but JJ’s managed to make a totally cool, totally new movie that’s totally true to the spirit of the original: J.J. Abrams reboots The Godfather (2019).

* I have to admit I was somewhat pleased to see myself quoted in this end-of-the-world piece in Jacobin. And as an optimist, no less!

By the latter end of the 21st century, Miami became something else entirely: a popular snorkeling spot where people could swim with sharks and sea turtles and explore the wreckage of a great American city.

Is Obama About to Get Serious on Climate Change? Oh, honey.

* Now China, on the other hand…

China has introduced “harsher punishments” for breaking the nation’s environmental protection laws: reckless violators of pollution standards in the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economy now face execution.

“With regard to the student-athlete,” wrote a senior NCAA executive in an email, “I think the focus on exploitation may be misplaced, and maybe it is not our duty to protect the student-athlete.” Preach! What have student-athletes ever done for the NCAA?

All 185 Choose Your Own Adventure Books Ranked From Most to Least Awesome-Sounding. All-Time Gerry Canavan Maximum Nightmare Fodder Space Vampire clocks in at #4.

Welcome to the Ph.D. Placement Project.

A map showing the original meanings of place names in North America. More links below the image.

k-bigpic

The Government Files Espionage Charges Against Edward Snowden. Naomi Wolf has the conspiracy behind the conspiracy. And that’s exactly what they WANT us to think!

* TNI on Total Information Awareness.

* Jedediah Purdy: Seven Ways of Looking at a Charge Sheet: or, My First Arrest.

Do Unpaid Internships Lead to Jobs? Not for College Students.

The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.

It’s long been suspected that ratings agencies lie Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it.

* Science fiction studies CFP: A group of scholars from Deakin University, Melbourne is setting up the forum entitled Deletion and is calling for both papers and creative pieces.

Official casting call reveals the characters in Star Wars: Episode VII.

* How to Use Math to Dominate at Monopoly. I’m somewhat pleased with how much of this my brother and I generated on our own as kids.

Deep anxiety about the ability to have children later in life plagues many women. But the decline in fertility over the course of a woman’s 30s has been oversold. Here’s what the statistics really tell us—and what they don’t.

* Man of Steel easter egg setting up the sequel? This reminds me a bit of the script flub that launched a thousand Deckard-is-a-replicant fan theories. And it would be — gasp — a new story.

* And io9 says the general mediocrity and total obvious superfluousness of Monsters University marks the end of the Golden Age of Pixar. We mourn.