Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Oswald

Saturday Links

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Exactly 100% of the Sunday Links

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Hundreds of children have been killed by American drones. These were some of their names, written down and erased.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike. Give Skynet a Chance. Forever War Turns Its Hungry Gaze to Africa.

The Counterreformation in Higher Education.

* Another review of Ebony & Ivy, on the connection between slavery and the university. Study faults UCLA’s handling of faculty’s racial bias complaints.

* Were Brutalist Buildings Really Designed to Thwart Student Riots? I’ve been to UWM; you’ll never convince me otherwise.

* The New York Times says it will slowly, laboriously, exhaustively roll out a simple and obvious change to dramatically improve their reporting.

* The story of Phone Story.

Apple’s email to Molleindustria apparently claimed that four such lines were crossed: two lines related to “charities and contributions,” and two further “crossed lines” that suggested the game had depicted “violence or abuse of children” and “excessively objectionable or crude content.” With a curious bit of irony, the letter from Apple focuses on the very trendy discourse of protecting children from the moral hazards of the Web — a trend also picked up by the current Tory government in the UK, which promotes various protective methods to ensure kids are safe from/in the online world. Indeed, one is tempted to connect such a moral panic discourse to a wider neglect of other types of surely more direct abuse of children, as well as other vulnerable groups of workers worldwide. Protect the kids, if they get online — but not if their labor helps you get online and support the digital economy slightly further away from the actual cognitive work.

* Scenes from the BART strike: two workers killed by management-driven train.

I think one of the most damaging effects America’s omnipresent racism has on a person’s psyche isn’t the brief pang of hurt that comes from being called a slur, or seeing a picture of Barack Obama portrayed by a chimpanzee. Those things are common and old-fashioned, and when they happen I tend to feel sadder than angry, because I’m seeing someone who engages with the world like a wall instead of a human being. Rather, I think what’s far more corrosive and insidious, the thing that lingers in the back of my mind the most, is the framework of plausible deniability built up around racism, and how insane that plausible deniability can make a person feel when wielded. How unsure of oneself. How worried that you might be overreacting, oversensitive, irrational.

The Insidious Power of Not-Quite-Harassment.

The Messy Link Between Slave Owners And Modern Management.

A Field Guide to the North American Responsibility Troll.

LSD is good for you, say Norway researchers.

* Breathing ruled more dangerous than passive smoking, with risk highest in places like China.

Cheney Had Heart Device Disabled To Prevent Terrorists From Sending Fatal Shock.

* A brief history of the Washington Racial Slurs.

* Masculinity, patriarchy, violence.

Woman’s Abortion Used As ‘Proof’ She’s Unfit To Raise Kids. Female DUI Suspects in Washington Were Made to Strip for Their Jailers.

* A Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic? That may be overstating it.

* Why Teachers Quit.

* In retrospect, even though I have no reason to doubt Yanomamo ferocity, at least under certain circumstances, I seriously question the penchant of observers (scientific and lay alike) to generalize from small samples of our unquestionably diverse species, especially about something as complex as war. On just-so stories and evolutionary explanations of history.

* The ne plus ultra of Americans’ irrational free speech absolutism: Revenge Porn Is Awful, But The Law Against It Is Worse.

At the rate things are going, tens of millions of us could end up as temps, contract employees, call-center operators, and the like: The Task Rabbit Economy.

* Moral panics we can believe in: Salsa Overtakes Ketchup as Most Popular Condiment. I don’t think this is even the first time this happened.

“The 1979 conclusion by the House Select Committee on Assassinations is wrong,” Sabato said.

* The perfect rationality of markets: why don’t restaurants have dynamic, constant readjusting pricing schemes? What could possibly explain it?

* Two Rich People Hate Health Care for the Normals, Won’t Ever Drop It.

* And a Rich Person Says You Should Major in the Liberal Arts. There you have it! Go!

Friday Night Links

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An analysis by Thomson Reuters in association with Times Higher Education shows startling levels of gender inequality in research-intensive universities across the world. The gap persists not just in emerging nations but also in some of the world’s most highly developed countries – where the fight for women’s rights and equality has gone on for decades.

Georgetown U. Adjuncts Vote to Unionize.

Over the last 12 years, the United States has gone from having the highest share of employed 25- to 34-year-olds among large, wealthy economies to having among the lowest.

* EPA whistleblower says the West, Texas, disaster is a criminal matter.

A new report out from the National Council of Teachers of English criticizes the practice of using machine scoring for writing assessments.

Falling Men: On Don DeLillo and Terror.

* And in local news: Responding to a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Department of Justice warned voucher schools in Milwaukee to stop excluding, counseling out, or otherwise discriminating against students with disabilities.

Media Empire Watch

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Jaimee and I both wrote short capsule reviews for the Independent‘s holiday book roundup this week, me on Debt and 11/22/63 and her on Don DeLillo and Tomas Tranströmer.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 23, 2011 at 12:40 am

Lots and Lots of Monday Night Links

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* ThinkProgress reports solar is surging. We’re saved! Krugman has more, and so does Steve Benen.

* Via my dad: Soviet Bus Stops.

* Occupy my dad: Class war is intergenerational war.

* Rortybomb: Two Steps Toward Tackling Our Current Student Loan Problems. Robert Cruickshank: …any student loan reform proposal that does not include some form of principal writedowns is not likely to be very effective.

* Chris Newfield: The real issue is that imposing higher teaching loads and more on-line instruction on public universities won’t reverse the relentlessly growing gulf between elite privates and their once-elite public peers. 

* Tor reviews Stephen King’s 11/22/63. I’m much more interested in his pitch for what sounds like a truly horrifying next novel: Occupy Bangor.

“Without knowing what they ought to fear, US citizens might otherwise fail to support profitable national security initiatives.”

* A new AAUW study shows there’s an easy way for young women to avoid sexual harassment in schools: just avoid being either pretty or not pretty.

* Polling shows Americans have begun to realize Republicans are intentionally sabotaging the economy.

* Anti-vaccination fever just got a little more crazy. Via MeFi.

* Marriage equality increases property values. Is that a good enough reason?

* Also on the equality front: Dan Harmon kind-of, sort-of apologizes for the way Community treats gay and trans people.

* Everybody still hates Romney. Poor guy.

* And Bors memorializes one of the windows broken during the Occupy Oakland protests last week.

It Was Forty-Five Years Ago Today

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It was forty-five years ago today.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 22, 2008 at 3:41 pm

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Philip K. Dick Link Explosion

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I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and over that time I’ve linked to Philip K. Dick related material a whole lot of times. Here, in honor of reading Dr. Bloodmoney this week, are just a few PKD highlights, all to the glory of the man Fredric Jameson once called “the Shakespeare of science fiction”:

* “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later.” In some ways this is the definitive PKD essay, and it’s the one referenced somewhat famously at the end of Waking Life. [+/-]

It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question “What is reality?”, to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real. One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” That’s all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven’t been able to define reality any more lucidly.

But the problem is a real one, not a mere intellectual game. Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups—and the electronic hardware exists by which to deliver these pseudo-worlds right into the heads of the reader, the viewer, the listener. Sometimes when I watch my eleven-year-old daughter watch TV, I wonder what she is being taught. The problem of miscuing; consider that. A TV program produced for adults is viewed by a small child. Half of what is said and done in the TV drama is probably misunderstood by the child. Maybe it’s all misunderstood. And the thing is, Just how authentic is the information anyhow, even if the child correctly understood it? What is the relationship between the average TV situation comedy to reality? What about the cop shows? Cars are continually swerving out of control, crashing, and catching fire. The police are always good and they always win. Do not ignore that point: The police always win. What a lesson that is. You should not fight authority, and even if you do, you will lose. The message here is, Be passive. And—cooperate. If Officer Baretta asks you for information, give it to him, because Officer Beratta is a good man and to be trusted. He loves you, and you should love him.

So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing. It is my job to create universes, as the basis of one novel after another. And I have to build them in such a way that they do not fall apart two days later. Or at least that is what my editors hope. However, I will reveal a secret to you: I like to build universes which do fall apart. I like to see them come unglued, and I like to see how the characters in the novels cope with this problem. I have a secret love of chaos. There should be more of it. Do not believe—and I am dead serious when I say this—do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things. Before the new things can be born the old must perish. This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually part with much of what is familiar to us. And that hurts. But that is part of the script of life. Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new.

Of course, I would say this, because I live near Disneyland, and they are always adding new rides and destroying old ones. Disneyland is an evolving organism. For years they had the Lincoln Simulacrum, like Lincoln himself, was only a temporary form which matter and energy take and then lose. The same is true of each of us, like it or not.

* Another great essay at Grey Lodge Occult Review: “If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others.”

We are accustomed to supposing that all change takes place along the linear time axis: from past to present to future. The present is an accrual of the past and is different from it. The future will accrue from the present on and be different yet. That an orthogonal or right-angle time axis could exist, a lateral domain in which change takes place — processes occuring sideways in reality, so to speak — this is almost impossible to imagine. How would we perceive such lateral changes? What would we experience? What clues — if we are trying to test out this bizarre theory — should we be on the alert for? In other words, how can change take place outside of linear time at all, in any sense, to any degree?

* R. Crumb’s comic, “The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick.”

* The first law of kipple is that kipple drives out nonkipple.

* Philip K. Dick and drugs.

* Philip K. Dick on Kurt Vonnegut. [+/-]

Interviewer: What did you think of Vonnegut’s attitude towards his characters (in Breakfast of Champions)?

PKD: Disgusting and an abomination. I think that that book is an incredible drying up of the liquid sap of life in the veins of a person like a dead tree…that’s what I think. I also love Kurt Vonnegut.

* Philip K. Dick and the Kennedy Assassination. (Warning: spoilers for the last book we’re going to read this semester, also a Dick novel, Dr. Futurity.)

* Profiles of Philip K. Dick from The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and the Times. Interviews with Philip K. Dick. Lethem on Philip K. Dick. Again. Stanislaw Lem on PKD.

* Jameson on Dr. Bloodmoney.

(cross-posted at culturemonkey)

Written by gerrycanavan

February 15, 2008 at 5:43 am