Posts Tagged ‘outer space’
* Climate work and despair. It’s a tough problem in the classroom, too. Climate change conflicts somehow with an assumed, mandatory pedagogical optimism; the lack of a solution or even a “hope spot” often leaves the class feeling somehow incomplete.
* Ted Chiang in the New Yorker. Great piece.
Beyond this narrow Wikipedian territory, Chiang is reluctant to venture. Although he is amiable and warm, he is also reticent and does not riff. Over several conversations, I learned, in addition, that he owns four cats, goes to the gym three times a week, and regards a small cylindrical seal made of hematite sometime around 1200 B.C. as one of his most treasured possessions—it was a gift from his sister, a reference to “Tower of Babylon.” He told me that, when he was a child, his family celebrated Christmas but wasn’t religious. When I asked Chiang if he had hobbies, he said no, and then, after a long pause, admitted that he plays video games. He refused to say what he eats for breakfast. Eventually, I sent him an e-mail with twenty-four questions that, I hoped, might elicit more personal details:
Do you have a favorite novel?
There isn’t one that I would want to single out as a favorite. I’m wary of the idea of a favorite anything.
You’ve spent many years living near the water. Do you like the sea?
Not particularly. I don’t actually spend much time on the coast; it’s just chance that I happened to move here.
What was the last work of art that made you cry?
Do you consider yourself a sensitive person?
* Conspiracy theories we can believe in: the 19A0s, the suppressed decade between the 1970s and 1980s whose memory has been repressed.
* Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not. This article certainly supports my implicit bias against these sorts of studies.
* Trumpism: The Devil We Know.
* Today in the hopeless search for some Trump upside: the end of the campus sex bureaucracy.
* How could it possibly get worse? Oh.
* When We Feared Skyscraper Living: J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise. I thought the recent movie adaptation was great; I wish it had made a bigger splash.
* One of the startling facts to emerge is that while seven Supreme Court justices (Brennan, Marshall, Powell, Blackmun, Stevens, Breyer, and Ginsburg) have indicated that they think capital punishment should be ruled categorically unconstitutional, and several have renounced their previous rulings upholding capital punishment, no justice has ever moved in the opposite direction from questioning the death penalty to upholding it.
* Always reblog: Richard Scarry’s 21st Century Busy Town Jobs. And elsewhere in the 21st century: Uber’s Ad-Toting Drones Are Heckling Drivers Stuck in Traffic.
* The Department of English invites candidates holding the rank of Associate or Full Professor to apply for the inaugural Stephen E. King Chair in Literature honoring the department’s most celebrated graduate.
* Next week at Marquette: Cuban science fiction authors Yoss and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo!
* I am writing to apply for the job–or rather “fellowship”–advertised on your website. As a restless member of the creative class, I agree that secure employment, renewable year-to-year, can be a suffocating hindrance. And besides, you specify “tons of snacks and beverages” as part of your benefit package. As a job-seeker motivated by a combination of desperation and snacks, I am an ideal candidate for this position.
* The report finds that the cost of forgoing tuition revenue from two- and four-year public institutions could run into the billions for some states: $4.96 billion in California, $3.89 billion in Texas and $2.53 billion in Michigan.
* Pence and gaslighting. Kaine’s tactical defeat. A Con Man of Epic Proportions. Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for A Mere Two Decades. The mind-blowing scale of Trump’s billion-dollar loss, in one tweet. Trump Foundation ordered to stop fundraising by N.Y. attorney general’s office. I want to believe! This seems legitimate. If Donald Trump Published an Academic Article. If you want a vision of the future.
* All told, however, Xiberras feels Louise could have done better. “We hoped for more followers to take notice of Louise’s behavior,” he says. “There were a few people who sensed the trap—a journalist among others, of course—but in the end, the majority just saw a pretty young girl of her time and not at all a kind of lonely girl, who is actually not at all that happy and with a serious alcohol problem.”
* Here’s a piece we can all get mad about, regardless of our pedagogical inclinations: Are We Teaching Composition All Wrong?
* Teaching the controversy: The Identity of a Famous Person Is News. The outing of Elena Ferrante and the power of naming. Ars longa, vita brevis.
* Harvard loses a mere $2 billion from its endowment. My favorite part of these stories is always the comparison to passive management by an index fund.
* More running it like a sandwich: More than ever, college football programs are finding it difficult to draw and retain the young fans who grow up to be lifelong season-ticket holders. In many athletic departments, the reasons can practically be cited as catechism: high-definition televisions, DVRs, diffuse fan bases and higher ticket and parking costs.
* No one knew then that Springsteen, like Smith, would provide a through-line for his fans as things got worse, shifted in unimaginable ways, shifted again. Springsteen has himself changed with the times, becoming more sensitive to the issues his most-adored music still raises. Born To Rundemonstrates that. The decency at the heart of his memoir is a balm. He’s not only survived a life in rock and roll; he shows how a true believer doesn’t have to get stuck within its illusions, no matter how much they also attract him. After all, to Springsteen, a worthwhile dream isn’t an illusion; it’s a form of work.
* Unusually Murderous Mammals, Typically Murderous Primates: You know, humans.
* One of the most important lessons of Ghosh’s book is that the politics of climate change must not tiptoe around the questions posed by colonial encounters. Issues of climate justice cannot be solved without first addressing questions of equitable distribution of power, historically rooted in imperialism. And therein lies Ghosh’s disagreement with those who find the source of the problem in capitalism itself (Naomi Klein, for example). For him, even if “capitalism were to be magically transformed tomorrow, the imperatives of political and military dominance would remain a significant obstacle to progress on mitigatory action.”
* Wealth of people in their 30s has ‘halved in a decade.’ Probably definitely totally unrelated: Federal student loans facilitate a pernicious profit motive in higher education.