Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘overpopulation

Thursday Links!

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* Some seriously great news for my particular demographic: Kim Stanley Robinson’s acclaimed Mars Trilogy is colonizing TV.

* Flooding risk from climate change, country by country. Meanwhile: World’s Cities All Becoming Teeming Hellscapes.

* A brief history of mana: How an Austronesian Concept Became a Video Game Mechanic.

* A History of The Lord of the Rings in Video Games.

* LARoB considers the criminally underrated Chronicles of Pyrdain and the night genre was born.

* Age discrimination and adjuncts. I still think this is a seriously underreported story considering how dramatically it would change the landscape of hiring in higher education if it were to prevail.

While surely a simple economic determinism would be distorting, it should still be clear that the epistemic and cultural divide between the “hard” sciences and the humanities cannot be easily disentangled from a noticeable financial divide.

* How For-Profit Universities Make a Killing By Exploiting College Dreams.

* Udacity has moved on to a new scam: nanodegrees.

* Angry Letters to the One Member of Congress Who Voted Against the War on Terror.

* “Reluctant Warrior Bombs Yet Another Country.”

* FSU chooses a politician as its new president despite major opposition from faculty and students. From the archives: FSU to phase out academic operations.

* Head’s up, math geeks: big discovery about prime numbers.

* Chimpanzees Raised by Humans Have Social Difficulties With Other Chimps.

* Listen, it’s about yardage: FiveThirtyEight provides the cheat sheet necessary for me to interact with other Wisconsinites.

* ESPN suspends Bill Simmons for repeating ESPN’s own reporting about the NFL and drawing the only possible conclusion.

* 15.4% growth of Harvard’s endowment brings the total to a cool $36 billion, assuring Harvard’s continued existence for another year. And thank goodness.

* I think I’ve discovered a way to precrastinate my procrastination, which means I’m always so late I never bother to get off the couch.

* Science proves no one is allowed to have any fun: Researcher shows that black holes do not exist.

* Fraternities finally look in the mirror and confront the enemy within: drunk female guests. Should we ban frats?

* What it’s like to be struck by lightning. What it’s like to lose your memory at 22.

* Please don’t ever drive and text.

* And if you want a vision of the future, imagine Mitt Romney running for president, forever.

Friday Links!

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* Inauguration Day at Marquette.

* Chess! Catch the fever!

I am novelist David Mitchell, AMA.

* Retaliation against unionizing adjuncts at Mills College?

* UC regents award 20 percent pay raises to fix executive ‘injustices.’

Heralding what the University of California regents promise will be a new era of pay increases at the public university, the governing board gave 20 percent raises Thursday to their three lowest-paid chancellors – with some regents expressing regret that they could give so little.

* Who’s Paying the Pro-War Pundits?

The Promise of Socialist Feminism.

* Jersey represent: A New Jersey borough council candidate dropped out of the race on Wednesday after reports surfaced that he mooned patrons at a local diner while yelling racial slurs, according to NJ Advance Media.

* Thomas Frank remembers Occupy.

* Also at the BafflerU2, Apple, and the Strip-Mining of Punk Rebellion.

* 75 iconic photos from the 21st century, nearly all of them keyed to violence or war.

* The Earth could have 11 billion people by 2100. Looks like the good news on overpopulation was premature.

* 30 Photos of Wisconsin That Will Make You Want To Move There. Catch the fever!

* “That first scene, where he’s in the temple and he’s replacing that statue with a bag of sand – that’s what looters do,” Canuto says, grinning. “[The temple builders] are using these amazing mechanisms of engineering and all he wants to do is steal the stupid gold statue.”

* Teacher Who Learns More From Her Students Than She Teaches Them Fired.

* The New Way Insurers Are Shifting Costs To The Sick. You incorrigible scamps!

* Harvard is better at admitting low-income students than the University of Wisconsin.

Innocent People In New York Who Can’t Afford A Lawyer Are Pretty Much Doomed.

* Texas court throws out ‘paternalistic’ ban on ‘upskirt’ photos. Ludicrous outcome.

* Elsewhere in the rule of law: Judge: Hobby Lobby Decision Means Polygamous Sect Member Can Refuse To Testify In Child Labor Case.

* SMBC: Do You Ever Fear Death?

* I too have now played all of season two of The Walking Dead and I too can confirm it’s totally great. I’m going to use it in my video game course next semester for sure.

* Student evaluations: still terrible.

* I can’t wait to find out if we’re going to send ground troops back to Iraq or if we’re very reluctantly, with all due caution and great care, going to send ground troops back to Iraq.

* What could possibly go wrong watch: arming Syrian rebels to fight ISIS, who are also Syrian rebels, but listen, this is all going to turn out great.

* I only pray we can construct the border wall across the Great Lakes in time.

* They say we don’t believe in the future enough to embark on generational projects anymore, but they’re going to try to clean the bathrooms at the Port Authority.

* The kids are a little bit frightening: A Milwaukee teen charged in a string of armed robberies last week told police he was trying to do as many crimes as he could before he turned 18 on Sept. 11.

* Scotland will stay.

What Europe Would Look Like If All the Separatist Movements Got Their Way.

* And Slate covers the exciting return of Vermont secessionism.

None Dare Call It Sunday Reading

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* How is copyright ruining your fun today? Well, for one thing, it’s keeping you from reading The Last Ringbearer. Via an Atlantic piece on technology in Tolkien, via MetaFilter.

* In the L.A. Times: The human race at 7,000,000,000.

* This won’t go well: science perfects the 3D-printed gun.

* Esquire goes to Altamount, 1970.

* The New York Times interviews the great Alison Bechdel.

* Bombshell: Koch-Funded Study Finds ‘Global Warming Is Real’, ‘On The High End’ And ‘Essentially All’ Due To Carbon Pollution.

* Documentarians who later wished they’d intervened.

* Perry Anderson on democracy in India.

* Meanwhile, in American democracy:

Probably the first post I ever wrote that got actual attention was this one, figuring out just how badly you could lose the popular vote and still win the presidency. (I made a couple minor mistakes, so for the sake of correctness the actual answer is that up to 78.05% of the population can vote for the losing candidate.)

I’d note in particular two things: 1) during the last two months of the 2008 election, just four states got more than half of the time and money from the candidates, at the expense of the rest of the country, and thirty-two states got no visits at all! And 2) the electoral college has failed for more than 5 percent of presidential elections! That’s preposterous. A great nation shouldn’t pick its leader by some goofy hairbrained scheme that breaks down one time in twenty.

That said, the proposed solution (the National Popular Vote compact) is also a goofy, hairbrained scheme that would collapse into crisis the second it ever made a difference. Perhaps a “great nation” shouldn’t be hopelessly bound by two-hundred-year-old political compromises whose terms are effectively impossible to alter or amend.

* Also at Washington Monthly: inflation is really not our problem right now.

We find that electorates punish presidents and governors for severe weather damage. However, we find that these effects are dwarfed by the response of attentive electorates to the actions of their officials.

* The headline reads, “There will be no more professional writers in the future.”

* And just for fun: Miniature People Living in a World of Giant Food by Christopher Boffoli.

Six for Monday Morning

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* The United Nations has completed the first-ever global assessment of the state of the planet’s land resources, finding in a report Monday that a quarter of all land is highly degraded and warning the trend must be reversed if the world’s growing population is to be fed.

*  A Few Unexpected Subjects of Class Struggle – Notes on Recent University Strikes.

* Greg Packer, “All the Angry People.”

* Elena Kagan profile (and bonus ACA-pregaming) from Dahlia Lithwick.

* Flight of the Conchords movie could happen. No spoilers for the uninitiated, but there’s at least one song in The Muppets that’s pretty much already big-screen Conchords.

* And Alex Callinicos on life after capitalism.

Sunday Night Links

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* Officers in pepper spray incident placed on (paid) leave.

* Greenwald on UC Davis: It’s easy to be outraged by this incident as though it’s some sort of shocking aberration, but that is exactly what it is not.

* How pepper spray works.

Pepper spray use has been suspected of contributing to a number of deaths that occurred in police custody. In mid-1990s, the U.S. Department of Justice cited nearly 70 fatalities linked to pepper-spray use, following on a 1995 report compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union of California. The ACLU report cited 26 suspicious deaths; it’s important to note that most involved pre-existing conditions such as asthma. But it’s also important to note a troubling pattern.

In fact, in 1999, the ACLU asked the California appeals court to declare the use of pepper spray to be dangerous and cruel. That request followed an action by northern California police officers against environmental protestors – the police were accused of dipping Q-tips into OC spray and applying them directly to the eyes of men and women engaged in an anti-logging protest.

“The ACLU believes that the use of pepper spray as a kind of chemical cattle prod on nonviolent demonstrators resisting arrest constitutes excessive force and violates the Constitution,” wrote association attorneys some 13 years ago.

* Five Theses on Privatization and the UC Struggle.

1. Tuition increases are the problem, not the solution.
2. Police brutality is an administrative tool to enforce tuition increases.
3. What we are struggling against is not the California legislature, but the upper administration of the UC system.
4. The university is the real world.
5. We are winning.

* Another UC Davis Manifesto: No Cops, No Bosses.

Open Letter to Chancellors and Presidents of American Universities and Colleges.

* The 1% and ecology: “Pollution begins not in the family bedroom, but in the corporate boardroom.”

* Freezing Free Speech: Winter Tents Are ‘Contraband’ For Occupy Boston.

In the last few days, Boston police have blocked the occupiers from bringing in a winterized tent intended as a safe space for women, and have searched a truck for “contraband” tents and insulation materials. In an exchange that resembles a vaudeville comedy routine, a Boston police officer explains to activist Clark Stoekley why he searched the truck for “items we don’t want in the camp”:

I came to the truck because uh, we were afraid you had contraband that we don’t want in the camp . . . items we don’t want in the camp . . . Winter tents and, um, any type of insulation materials for tents that are already presently there.

* “The fundamental issue is that law schools are producing people who are not capable of being counselors,” says Jeffrey W. Carr, the general counsel of FMC Technologies, a Houston company that makes oil drilling equipment. “They are lawyers in the sense that they have law degrees, but they aren’t ready to be a provider of services.” Another take on how to fix law schools from Slate. Via Pandagon and LGM.

* Pleasure in sex ed was a major topic last November at one of the largest sex-education conferences in the country, sponsored by the education arm of Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey. “Porn is the model for today’s middle-school and high-school students,” Paul Joannides said in the keynote speech. “And none of us is offering an alternative that’s even remotely appealing.”

* And when it smells like it, feels like it, and looks like it you call it what it is: Perry Promises To End Civilian-Controlled Military.

Wednesday Links

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* …American University professor Allan Lichtman, “whose election formula has correctly called every president since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election,” says Obama is a shoo-in. My two-pronged election formula [(1) Is everything terrible? (2) Is one of the parties visibly insane?] put Obama’s chances at 50-50. I guess we’ll see.

* Yes please: DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is planning on disbursing a $500,000 grant in November for interstellar starship research.

* Crimes against the future: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change.”

* ‘Overhyped’ Hurricane Irene Likely To Be One Of The 10 Costliest Disasters Ever.

* 25 Corporations Paid More To Their CEO Last Year Than They Paid In Taxes.

* Stephen King’s Under the Dome will come to Showtime.

* Shaviro on post-continuity.

In my book Post-Cinematic Affect (2010), I argue that American commercial filmmaking has, in the last decade or so, been increasingly characterized by what I call the stylistics of post-continuity. This is a filmmaking practice in which a preoccupation with moment-to-moment excitement, and with delivering continual shocks to the audience, trumps any concern with traditional continuity, either on a shot-by-shot level or in terms of larger narrative structures.

* Play around with this and make some art with fractals.

* And a very happy birthday to #7,000,000,000.

The Rise and Fall of Mouse Utopia

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In 1972, John B. Calhoun detailed the specifications of his Mortality-Inhibiting Environment for Mice: a practical utopia built in the laboratory. Every aspect of Universe 25—as this particular model was called—was pitched to cater for the well-being of its rodent residents and increase their lifespan. The Universe took the form of a tank, 101 inches square, enclosed by walls 54 inches high. The first 37 inches of wall was structured so the mice could climb up, but they were prevented from escaping by 17 inches of bare wall above. Each wall had sixteen vertical mesh tunnels—call them stairwells—soldered to it. Four horizontal corridors opened off each stairwell, each leading to four nesting boxes. That means 256 boxes in total, each capable of housing fifteen mice. There was abundant clean food, water, and nesting material. The Universe was cleaned every four to eight weeks. There were no predators, the temperature was kept at a steady 68°F, and the mice were a disease-free elite selected from the National Institutes of Health’s breeding colony. Heaven… Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm