Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon

Thursday Links

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* Call for Applications: The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* American SF and the Other. Ursula K. Le Guin, 1975.

This tendency has been remarkably strong in American SF. The only social change presented by most SF has been towards authoritarianism, the domination of ignorant masses by a powerful elite—sometimes presented as a warning, but often quite complacently. Socialism is never considered as an alternative, and democracy is quite forgotten. Military virtues are taken as ethical ones. Wealth is assumed to be a righteous goal and a personal virtue. Competitive free-enterprise capitalism is the economic destiny of the entire Galaxy. In general, American SF has assumed a permanent hierarchy of superiors and inferiors, with rich, ambitious, aggressive males at the top, then a great gap, and then at the bottom the poor, the uneducated, the faceless masses, and all the women. The whole picture is, if I may say so, curiously “un-American.” It is a perfect baboon patriarchy, with the Alpha Male on top, being respectfully groomed, from time to time, by his inferiors.

* Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Gee, you don’t say.

* Who rules America? The answer may surprise you!

* Abolishing the Broken US Juvenile Justice System.

Pentagon weaponry in St. Louis County. Those sound cannons were supposed to be for speeders. The Militarization of the Police. These Photos Prove Just How Chaotic The Situation In Ferguson Has Become. Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014. There’s a police coup going on right now in Ferguson, Mo. Even the liberal Matt Yglesias. Even CNN’s pro-police witness describes an execution. They even arrested an alderman. “The Obamas danced nearly every song. A good time was had by all.” In Defense of the Ferguson Riots“Hands up, don’t shoot” spreads beyond Missouri. The Death of Michael Brown and the Search for Justice in Black America. You have a right to record the police.

* Editorial: Governor must let Ferguson be where better begins.

Step One: St. Louis County Police To Be Withdrawn From Duty After Ferguson Protests.

* 4 Unarmed Black Men Have Been Killed By Police in the Last Month. LAPD shooting of mentally ill man stirs criticism, questions.

5 Issues (Among Many) on Which Libertarians Are On Your Side.

America Is Not For Black People.

* Climate change is here: Cataclysmic flooding in Detroit and Baltimore. Meanwhile: Democrats are attacking Mitch McConnell for not liking coal enough.

* How discounting tuition drives college admissions. Really eye-opening.

When Noel-Levitz takes on a client, it takes the school’s admissions and retention data, scrubs it clean and uses the results to tell the school who’s coming, who’s going and who might be enticed to stay with a few more aid dollars or certain enhancements to student life. Their formulas might show the benefits of giving four well-heeled applicants with high SAT scores a 10% discount from its $50,000 tuition–rather than give one high-achieving, lower-income applicant the $20,000 scholarship she needs. The award of an extra $5,000 to rich kids might provide an ego boost that moves the needle–and bring in four students sure to pay the remaining $45,000 each year. That same $20,000 generated an additional $150,000 in relatively stable net tuition revenue. “One of the things that’s a hallmark of this company is we don’t fly around and give our opinion,” Crockett notes. “We always will back that opinion with data points.”

* Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson. Nearly 300 Scholars Declare They Will Not Engage With the University of Illinois.

In fact, gender was one of the best predictors of whether an article would be cited or not. Walter writes that women authors received “0.7 cites for every 1 cite that a male author would receive.” Untenured women were the least likely to be cited.

* Classified as neither workers nor students, many graduate students have inadequate protections against sexual violence.

* IHE blog post argues that basically all academic hiring is illegal on age discrimination grounds. Talking about this on Twitter yesterday I was directed to this brief indicating such claims would be unlikely to prevail in court, though in each of the named cases the college settled rather than let it go that far.

* Another great post in Adam’s continuing exegesis of Star Trek: Why a Star Trek film would never work.

The deepest irony here, of course, is that the “messianic” blockbuster plot is ultimately a story about white privilege, a fantasy set up to present it as deserved. No matter how hard anyone else works, the white hero always has that “special something” everyone else lacks — and his close friendship with the meritocratic rival always turns crucially on that rival’s acknowledgment of the white messiah’s right to be in charge and save the day. In contrast to this overtly white-centered paradigm, the Star Trek franchise has always been marked by diversity in casting, and over the years, it showed a profound interest in imagining alien cultures, sometimes in great depth (Klingons above all, but also Ferengi, Vulcans, Trill, and even the Borg). To start the reboot by actually destroying the alien culture most important to Star Trek, and in the process making Spock more human, is a profound betrayal on this level.

* Also from Adam: Genocide vs. War.

* Atomic Tests Were a Tourist Draw in 1950s Las Vegas.

* 10 Of The Most Bizarre Books Ever Written.

* A woman has won the Fields medal for the first time. Meanwhile: “Local Mom Decides Important Sports Case.”

* BPA-Free Plastics are probably poison too.

First Nation Will Evict Mining Company After Massive Spill Contaminated Area Water.

* The Martian, but on Earth: Antarctic Halley Station lost power and heat at -32C.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Columbia University.

* Can the state legitimately force you to give your children food? Opinions differ!

* NYCABC has a list of Amazon wish lists for American political prisoners, which includes a name that might be familiar to you if you went to Randolph High School in the late 1990s.

The 1979 “Rockford Files” Episode that Inspired “The Sopranos.”

* Some people just see further and farther: Comcast put customer on hold until they closed.

* Dueling Aquamen.

* RNC Condemns AP Exam’s ‘Radically Revisionist View’ Of U.S. History.

“Instead of striving to build a ‘City upon a Hill,’ as generations of students have been taught, the colonists are portrayed as bigots who developed ‘a rigid racial hierarchy’ that was in turn derived from ‘a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority,'” the letter reads. “The new Framework continues its theme of oppression and conflict by reinterpreting Manifest Destiny from a belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technologies across the continent to something that ‘was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority.'”

* BREAKING: 2016 is going to be a real bummer. But don’t worry: there’s definitely no hope.

* Evolution proves there’s no such thing as ghosts. QED.

* Ice-T’s Dungeons & Dragons Audiobook is Out, and it’s Free!

* Are the kids all right? Are Millennials Compatible With U.S. Military Culture?

* Twitter vows to “improve our policies” after Robin Williams’ daughter is bullied off the network.

* Speaking my language: Multiversity Turns the DC Universe Into a Quantum-Theory Freakfest.

* And everything you want, in the worst way possible: Veronica Mars will return as an in-universe, Ryan-Hansen-scriped sequel for The-Comeback-style web series Play It Again, Dick.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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It’s Always Mischief Night Somewhere Links

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* You can now order the special Paradoxa issue on “Africa SF.” The testimonials indicate that Samuel Delany has at least heard of something I’ve written, so there’s that…

* Those who do not study history will have their wise decision ratified by bean-counting administrators: One of the 17 University of North Carolina campuses could stop offering degrees in physics, history and political science. If you read that sentence and thought to yourself, “gee, I bet that’s a historically black college,” give yourself a prize!

MLA Reports Modest Decline in Job Ads Posted in 2012-13. The State of the Academic Job Market, by Discipline.

‘I Wish I Were Black,’ and Other Tales of Privilege.

* The Logic of Stupid Poor People.

What The U.S. Would Look Like If It Mirrored The Main Characters On Prime-Time Network Television.

-Half the population would be white men.
-Five percent of the population would be black men.
-Just 1.9 percent of the world would be Asian or Latino men.
-Overall, 57 percent of the population would be men.
-34 percent of the world would be white women
-3.8 percent would be African-American women
-And 3.8 percent would be Latino or Asian women
-31.8 percent of the population would work for the police or some sort of federal law enforcement agency.
-9.7 percent of us would be doctors.
-2.6 percent of us would be criminals.
-1.9 percent would be supernatural creatures or robots.

What they are defending is a system in which wealth is passed off as merit, in which credentials are not earned but bought. Aptitude is a quality measured by how much money you can spend on its continual reassessment.

Students whose parents pay tens of thousands for SAT tutors to help their child take the test over and over compete against students who struggle to pay the fee to take the test once. Students who spend afternoons on “enrichment” activities compete against students working service jobs to pay bills – jobs which don’t “count” in the admissions process. Students who shell out for exotic volunteer trips abroad compete with students of what C Z Nnaemeka termed “the un-exotic underclass” – the poor who have “the misfortune of being insufficiently interesting”, the poor who make up most of the US today.

* …a recent Twitter thread started by a popular feminist blogger examines a dark side of that cliché in real-life academe, one in which professors’ advances – intellectual and otherwise – feed a need for validation and flattery, and at times cross the line into sexual harassment.

By the numbers: Sex crimes on campus.

Get Ready for Big Ed.

* The New York Times spends 36 hours in Milwaukee.

A collective narrative of trying to make it on $17,000 a year: bargaining testimony from a UCSC student-worker.

Colorado Counties Ban Sale of Marijuana, Want Share of Proposed State Sales Tax Anyway.

* Obama’s going to be super-mad when he finds out about the nonsensical security state procedures his administration has been using in lieu of actual oversight. And breaking into Yahoo! and Google? Why didn’t anyone tell him!

* Ripped from the pages of Philip K. Dick! Pentagon weighs future of its inscrutable nonagenarian futurist.

Pennsylvania law protects pregnant women from unwanted belly rubbing.

* The Chronicle follows up on last year’s PhD-on-food-stamps, who is now in a TT position at Martin Methodist College.

How Not To Take The GRE With a Non-Standard-English Name.

* The richest country in history: The Number Of Homeless Students In The United States Hits A Record.

“Riots always begin typically the same way”: Food stamp shutdown looms Friday.

* Perry Anderson accidentally writes a whole issue of New Left Review.

* 20th Century Headlines, Rewritten to Get More Clicks.

How the Koch Brothers laundered illegal campaign contributions.

* They’re marketing the Veronica Mars movie as a love triangle. This is my skeptical face.

* Sesame Street parodies Homeland.

* The chart that explains the world.

Change-in-real-income-between-1988-and-2008-at-various-percentiles-of-global-income-distribution-calculated-in-2005-international-dollars-Branko-Milanovic

* What’s W.R.O.N.G. with ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? A.L.M.O.S.T. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

* No accidents, comrade: The New Inquiry considers Cold War nostalgia and Twilight Struggle.

People Who Live Downwind Of Alberta’s Oil And Tar Sands Operations Are Getting Blood Cancer.

* BREAKING: Student Debt Is Making All Your Life Choices Worse.

Matt Zoller Seitz completes his series on video essays on Wes Anderson films. Bring on The Grand Budapest Hotel!

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 27: Princeton’s freshmen again have chosen Adolf Hitler as “the greatest living person” in the annual poll of their class conducted by The Daily Princetonian.

* Pope Francis, PR Wizard.

* The coming Terry McAuliffe landslide as proof the GOP brand is in serious disrepair.

* And it looks like they’ve finally (almost) proved that Darth Vader wasn’t always going to be Luke Skywalker’s father. Gotcha Lucas! You can run but you can’t hide.

Literally Every Weekend Link There Is

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* It’s official: J.J. Abrams will ruin Star Wars (more).

* More drone fiction, please. Tweets not bombs. Lip-syncing the poetry of empire.

Žižek vs. Zero Dark Thirty.

Imagine a documentary that depicted the Holocaust in a cool, disinterested way as a big industrial-logistic operation, focusing on the technical problems involved (transport, disposal of the bodies, preventing panic among the prisoners to be gassed). Such a film would either embody a deeply immoral fascination with its topic, or it would count on the obscene neutrality of its style to engender dismay and horror in spectators. Where is Bigelow here?

* Anti-war activism at the University of Wisconsin, c. 1940.

* Stunning read on living as a victim of child abuse from the New York TimesThe Price of a Stolen Childhood.

* David Foster Wallace and depression, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

* Steve Benen and Maddowblog has been all over the Republican vote-rigging scheme, even going so low as to cite one of my tweets. What The 2012 Election Would Look Like Under The Republicans’ Vote-Rigging Plan. Scott Walker, of course, is rigging-curious. And a delicious little bit of schadenfreude.

It is a sin against the new world of mediocrity to be distinct or distinguished.  We are in the chain-store, neon-lighted era.  Almost every city looks the same.  The same people all dress the same – kids as Hopalong Cassidy, men with loud sportshirts and Truman suits, women in slacks.  Sometimes you can tell whether a trousered individual is a man or a woman only by the width of the buttocks.  Only a few cities have individuality.  They are the seaports, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.  Boston reeks of decay, and is not genteel.  The rest are all Cleveland.

* Today in legal hyperformalism.

Would you believe me if I told you that President Obama is in constitutional trouble—with hundreds of decisions of the National Labor Relations Board from the last year now potentially invalid—over the meaning of the word the?

* When The Shining had an optimistic ending.

* So we’re going to destroy the world: Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada’s oilsands.

* The trouble with English.

None of these past challenges compares with the one under way now. While other humanities disciplines—philosophy, linguistics, and modern languages, for example—have relied upon a range of foundational practices at the modern mass university, many English professors have depended on literature (narrowly defined), written discourse, and the printed book as the primary elements in teaching and scholarship. But hidebound faculty members who continue to assign and study only pre-computer-based media will quickly be on their way toward becoming themselves a “historical” presence at the university.

That’s why I specialized in iPad-2-era Twitter-based fan-fiction, and frankly I’ve never looked back.

* Mainstreaming MOOCs.

* Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational: Ian Bogost vs. “The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.”

* New research indicates tuition has little correlation with educational outcomes.

If markets are efficient and if markets make things better, then there is no explanation for why we have the worst media in the world rather than the best. The problem is that markets don’t really make things better or more efficient. They make things cheaper and they’re responsive. That’s why we get the news we want rather than the news we need.

Child labour uncovered in Apple’s supply chain.

* n+1 visits MLA.

* Defending freedom: A St. Paul man who recently purchased an assault rifle out of fear of an impending gun ban threatened his teenage daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

For The Sixth Time In One Week, Man Shot At Gun Show.

* Adam Mansbach: My fake college college syllabus.

* Copy Of The Scarlet Letter Can’t Believe The Notes High Schooler Writing In Margins.

* Debunkng the “the Soviets used a pencil” gag. The more you know!

* Occam’s Razor suggests it must be Cory Booker who is putting these people and animals in danger in the first place.

* More on the Arizona “loyalty oaths” issue, with a religious freedom focus.

* New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence.’ Republicans, honestly, we have to talk.

* Seriously, though, I could fix the whole damn system if they’d listen to me.

* Even the Pentagon doesn’t know what the the point of the draft is supposed to be.

* Xavier and Magneto Heading to Broadway for Waiting For Godot.

* And a little something just for the Harmenians: “I wanted a memorable Harmontown show in Kansas City, and for my sins they gave me one.” Dan Harmon predicts pain.

Lots of Wednesday Links

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* It’s damn cold in Chicago: water is freezing to the sides of burning buildings.

* The reality of being an adjunct. MOOCs for Credit. Why We Should Talk About the Football Coach’s Salary When Faculty are Let Go. Please consider not doing a PhD.

  • According to this link (which has information I cannot independently verify), the athletic budget for 2011 was $16 million, a 9.2% increase over the previous year. $9 million of that budget came from student fees.
  • The reduction in faculty is expected to save $5.2 million.

* Lynda Barry’s course at the University of Wisconsin. I should be taking this.

Liberal pundits and Republican congressmen agree: Barack Obama’s second inaugural was the most liberal speech of his presidency. They may be right. But just what kind of liberalism is this?

Obama’s speech was a far cry from the message of the modern Republican Party. But much of it would fit snugly in a handbook from Human Relations: Discrimination will not be tolerated. Active citizenship is everyone’s responsibility. Work harder.

Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team – comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion – standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. Would he, though? Would he really?

* Cheat to win: Virginia wants to rig the Electoral College too.

In addition to disenfranchising voters in dense areas, this would end the principle of “one person, one vote.” If Ohio operated under this scheme, for example, Obama would have received just 22 percent of the electoral votes, despite winning 52 percent of the popular vote in the state…

It’s also worth noting, again, that this constitutes a massive disenfranchisement of African American and other nonwhite voters, who tend to cluster near urban areas. When you couple this with the move on Monday to redraw the state’s electoral maps — eliminating one state senate district and packing black voters into another, diluting their strength — it’s as if Virginia Republicans are responding to Obama’s repeat victory in the state by building an electoral facsimile of Jim Crow.

Brain scans performed on five former NFL players revealed images of the protein that causes football-related brain damage — the first time researchers have identified signs of the crippling disease in living players. The impending death of pro football. See also: Junior Seau’s Family Is Suing The NFL.

There’s a gold rush going on right now. Man is breaking the earth, looking for natural gas — just as we always have. It’s a mad scene, with hucksters on every side of the issue. And that’s just on the surface. You won’t believe what’s happening underground. Thank You for Fracking.

U.S. scientists will retire most research chimps.

House Republican Leader Blames Gun Violence On ‘Welfare Moms.’

* Searching for Star Wars artifacts in the California desert.

* Rejected movie ideas: Age-Reversed Home Alone Reboot.

* Internet argument perfect storm: The woman who hired a hitman to murder her abusive husband.

* Happy Objectify A Man in Tech Day.

* Supreme Court upholds radical notion that the Environmental Protection Agency has the right to protect the environment.

* Loyalty oaths in Arizona high schools.

How it feels to be stalked.

* War machine decides blood is blood: Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat.

* The LA that never was.

* And from the too-good-to-check file: The Fascinating Business Cards of 20 Famous People.

martin2

Still OoT But With Unexpected Hotel Wifi Links

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* Ripped from the pages of Infinite Jest, a playable version of Eschaton. (via)

* Via Pete Lit, federal government to use its immense buying power to benefit society.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

This looks to me like perhaps a first case of the end-runs Obama will have to make around our broken legislative institutions if he hopes to avoid a failed presidency. Another good sign: the final embrace of sidecar reconciliation to finish the job on health care.

* Of course, that headline in the New York Times gets it wrong, as Steve Benen has been desperately trying to explain to anyone who will listen: Democrats don’t need to pass health care via reconciliation because health care already passed through the regular order. Regardless, the Republicans are promising a full-on freakout if reconciliation is used; what might they do?

* “Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages’ worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood.” Hey, thanks for admitting it! Of course we won’t prosecute you; you were just protecting the homeland!

* Eliza Dushku to ruin another Joss Whedon production.

* The pornography of infinity: China Miéville on J.G. Ballard.

* J.D. Salinger v. Raiders of the Lost Ark.

* Wikipedia’s list of landings on other planets. Did the Soviets think there was life on Venus? They certainly seem to have thought there was something there. Via Boing Boing.

* Secret origins of the cellar door line from Donnie Darko.

* FantasySCOTUS.

* Really good reading of the U.K. version of The Office that focuses on Gervais’s critique of celebrity culture to explain, among other things, how David Brent could possibly have won a promotion on a 5-2 vote of the company board or been hired by a consulting firm—as well as why the U.S. version, in dropping this thematic angle, will always be intrinsically inferior.

* If I were a Brigham Young student, here’s the process I would have to undertake to grow my beloved beard.

* Students at the University of Mississippi want Admiral Akbar as their new mascot. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort.

* Also Via MeFi: Personal pop-culture rules. “No Robin Williams” and “anything involving dinosaurs” are two I think I follow.

* And Matt Yglesias selfishly takes a stand against one of our most-beloved cultural institutions. No special rights for late-in-the-alphabet people!

America Loves Tuesdays (And So Do I)

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* The Obama method: One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that’s not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists—it’s a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict. It’s how you deal with people with intractable demands—put ‘em on a committee. More on the summit idea from Benen. I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I must say that I am deeply skeptical that this method, however effective on the local scale, can work on the national stage. In fact I have come to think that Obama’s (frankly naïve) belief that bipartisanship is possible, much less good or necessary, will stand as the first cause of most of his presidency’s eventual failures. After 2009, he still thinks this. When the mortal enemy who has proven himself beyond redemption time and time again is finally on the ground, don’t help him up! Finish the job.

* The headline reads, ‘Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal “Synthetic Organisms,” Molecular Kill-Switch Included.’ What could possibly go wrong?

* You really can’t please everyone: ‘Is Barack Obama killing too many bad guys before the U.S. can interrogate them?’ As Matt explains, the problem here seems to be that the Foreign Policy author believes torture is not only a regrettable necessity but is, in fact, an affirmative moral good.

* Can the EPA actually regulate carbon effectively? It’s looking more and more like they’ll have to, so hopefully the answer turns out to be yes. Related: all about cap-and-dividend, the carbon-control system no one talks about.

* DC giving Superman to Chris Nolan? If they won’t give him to me, I guess that makes as much sense as anything else. Nolan, take note: The Death of Superman, Red Son, All-Star Superman, and any number of other perfectly good stories are just sitting there waiting to be adapted for the screen. Please, don’t use the Lex Luthor, Evil Real Estate Agent thing again.

* GOP extremism from A to Z.

* Today in horror clichés: the mirror scare.

* And our long national nightmare is finally over: Shelby has called off the shakedown.