Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Philip Pullman

Return of the Son of Linkblogging: The Return!

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With some new responsibilities post-tenure, a new work-childcare schedule that I’m still getting used to, and some intense end-of-the-summer deadline crunches, I haven’t had the time to do a link post in a while. As most of you know, I use this blog primarily as a research aid for myself; it’s a big compendium of more or less everything I’ve found interesting or useful on the Internet in the last fifteen years, and for that reason I like to keep it as complete as possible (even if that sometimes means the link posts get very long). That said, I had about 400 tabs open among my devices — it might be more than that! — and there’s just no way I can put everything I’ve looked at since August on here. So today’s format constraint was supposed to be that I have to brutally limit myself to as many links as there were days since I last posted, and close every other tab; that didn’t really work in practice, but at least now all the tabs are closed and I can move on with my life. Here goes!

* CFP: Crafting the Long Tomorrow. CFP: Amodern 9: Techniques and Technologies. CFP: But now, we must eat! Food and Drink in Science Fiction. CFP: Terms of Service: Affective Labor and Alt-Ac Careers. CFP: Surreal Entanglements: The Fiction of Jeff Vandermeer. CFP: ICFA 2019. CFP: DePaul Pop Culture 2019, A Celebration of Disney. CFP: Star Wars TV. CFP: Fandom and Tourism.

Job Announcement: The Future of the Human Being.

* Cool syllabus: Science Fiction, Empire, Japan.

* Somewhere in there, SFRA #325 was released, the first from new editor Sean Guynes-Vishniac, with a lovely review of my Octavia Butler book!

* And somewhere in there the Hugos were awarded, including N.K. Jemisin’s historic threepeat.

Resisting and Persisting: An interview with the contributors to Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler.

Cixin Liu, China, and the Future of Science Fiction. This is the golden age of Chinese science fiction.

The secret science fiction inspiration behind Jimi Hendrix’s music.

David Foster Wallace in the #MeToo Era.

* Marquette Wire has a writeup of the Sable Elyse Smith show at the Haggerty right now. She was kind enough to speak to my Afrofuturism class last week, which was terrific (as is the show).

* I Am Part of the Resistance Inside Nyarlathotep’s Death Cult.

Minecraft Mod Adds Climate Change, Carbon Tax.

Five Principles of a Socialist Climate Politics.

“Higher elevation properties are essentially worth more now, and increasingly will be worth more in the future,” according to Harvard’s Jesse Keenan. Elsewhere in Miami news: Miami’s Other Water Problem.

Sea level rise already causing billions in home value to disappear.

6 Years Ago, North Carolina Chose To Ignore Rising Sea Levels. This Week It Braces For Disaster. What will happen when Hurricane Florence hits North Carolina’s massive pig manure lagoons?

* Puerto Rico after Maria: “Water Is Everything.”

Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence, study reveals. The Big Melt. Halfway to Boiling. How Much Hotter Is Your Hometown Than When You Were Born? Climate Change Is Becoming A Major Workplace Hazard. The Victims of Climate Change Are Already Here.

No Existing Policies Will Be Enough To Prevent A Future “Hothouse Earth.”

* Just another headline here in hell.

* Should Rivers Have Rights?

* The rule of law is a curious thing.

* Why Science Fiction Is The Most Important Genre.

* The story of Q. We analyzed every QAnon post on Reddit. Here’s who QAnon supporters actually are.

* Spaaaaaaace Fooooooooorce!

* Elon Musk and his space-baron brethren want our admiration. Their narcissistic exploits deserve nothing but our scorn.

An ICE attorney forged a document to deport an immigrant. ICE didn’t care until the immigrant sued. ICE Crashed a Van Full of Separated Mothers, Then Denied It Ever Happened. ICE Detains Man Driving Pregnant Wife To Hospital To Deliver Baby. A mother and her son turned up for a domestic-violence case. Then ICE arrested them. ICE Handcuffs Immigrant Kids on Their 18th Birthdays, Drags Them to Jail. Aurora parents fighting to stop legally adopted 4-year-old daughter from being deported. How many migrant children are still separated from their families? ICE is trying to deport a disabled man who has been in the U.S. for 35 years. A Toddler’s Death Adds To Concerns About Migrant Detention. Kansas woman told birth certificate wasn’t enough to prove citizenship for passport. The U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question. Citizenship service conspired with ICE to ‘trap’ immigrants at visa interviews, ACLU says. Bad Paperwork. “Yo me quiero morir,” the boy says. “I want to die.” 13,000 kids. Will anyone ever be held accountable?

How the Trump Administration Is Remaking the Courts. The Supreme Court Is Headed Back to the 19th Century. Impeach Brett Kavanaugh.

* The Church of Trump.

* Long read on the professor who destroyed his career by faking a job offer from another institution.

When Academics Defend Colleagues Accused of Harassment.

* Meltdown of the Nobel Prize committee.

* How a Famous Academic Job-Market Study Got It All Wrong — and Why It Still Matters.

* Fascism and the university.

Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned to Their College. They Were Told to Go Home.

* Tis the season: How the Jobs Crisis Has Transformed Faculty Hiring. The Way We Hire Now. The Rise of the Promotional Intellectual.

* Building a Better MFA.

Admitting Significant Mistakes, Maryland Accepts Responsibility for Football Player’s Death. The Tragedy of Maryland Football Is a Symptom of College Football’s Rotten Culture.

“Purdue University Global is a For-Profit Masquerading as a Public University.”

* Ken Starr keeps finding new ways to disgrace himself.

* When the facts don’t matter: UW System is major driver of the Wisconsin economy.

* Students are abandoning humanities majors, turning to degrees they think yield far better job prospects. But they’re wrong. A message from President Daniels to students on the humanities. Oh, the humanities!

U. of Akron Will Phase Out 80 Degree Programs and Open New Esports Facilities.

* Activists at UNC pull down Silent Sam.

* The tyranny of the majority isn’t a problem in America today. Tyranny of the minority is.

When did parenting become so fearful?

The US has a student debt problem. Generation Underwater. The Next Hot Millennial Trend: Never-Ending Labor in Dystopian Warehouses.

* Down with the Philosophy Factory.

The man who was fired by a machine.

* The Labour Movement in 2018.

How Milwaukee Teachers Beat Back Cuts and Busywork.

* Decolonizing Virtual Worlds. Abandoned college campuses of Second Life.

* Greenlit for a movie and two sequels: What Would Happen If a Hurricane Hit an Erupting Volcano?

* No, you’re not too old.

* Soul Murder. Ghosts of the Orphanage. Meanwhile, at Marquette.

* The most extreme bodily modification is pregnancy.

* Shock! White Americans support welfare programs — but only for themselves, says new research.

* Lead is useful; lead is poison.

* College admissions vs. the shy.

* “I don’t believe in aliens anymore.”

* What could possibly go wrong? US Navy wants to fire a slime cannon at boats to stop them escaping.

* “Mount Everest is a ‘fecal time bomb.’ Here’s one man’s idea for handling 14 tons of poop.”

I guess this is the coastal elitist in me, but I don’t think a small cabal of unaccountable rich guys should be running the VA in secret without legal authorization in exchange for their cash payments to the President. Shadow Rulers of the VA.

* The way we live now: DHS to train high schoolers in “proper bleeding control techniques” in preparation for “mass casualty events.”

* Why the middle class can’t afford life in America anymore. Real US wages are essentially back at 1974 levels, Pew reports.

* It’s immoral to be rich.

* Socialism in our lifetime.

Horrific deaths, brutal treatment: Mental illness in America’s jails.

‘Abolish Prisons’ Is the New ‘Abolish ICE.’

* John McCain, The Man Who Never Was. The political establishment needed a war-hero fetish object—and so it invented one.

* Startling jump in NFL player claims for Parkinson’s and ALS pushes payout projections past 65-year total in 18 months.

Dinosaurs: The Making of TV’s Saddest, Strangest Sitcom Finale. An Oral History of the Death and Return of Superman. An Oral History of BoJack Horseman. Vice interviews @dril.

* Interactive (non)fiction from the Los Angeles Times: You’ve been arrested by a dishonest cop. Can you win in a system set up to protect officers? I spent 136 days in jail, having lost my job, with Officer Smith still on the street — and that was a win.

* Want a long, healthy life? Don’t be poor.

* The man who owns the Moon.

* Fascinating: are cities making animals smarter?

Too Frail To Retire? Humans Ponder The Fate Of Research Chimps.

* Inside the Barbaric U.S. Industry of Dog Experimentation.

* PFT explains Louis C.K.

Philip Pullman: why we believe in magic.

* Wiffle Ball 2.0.

* Insulin should be free.

* Beating the odds: Study: Children of Divorce Less Likely to Earn Degree.

All the Ways It Doesn’t Matter… and the One Way That It Does. When You Discover, as an Adult, That You Might Have Autism.

* Serial again. Veronica Mars again.

* The Village Voice is officially dead.

* Even 98.6 turned out to be just another a lie.

* I know what the years that are coming are going to be like, and I am so sorry.

* God Mode. Ethics. Meat. Souls. Cryogenics.

* The robot cars don’t work, and of course it’s our fault.

* What happens when you let computers optimize floorplans. Bots that teach themselves to cheat.

* Can Wes Anderson redeem himself?

* On Wakandacon.

* And a pointed but respectful counterpoint: I don’t ever want to die.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thursday Links!

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Over the past decade numerous stories have come out about Soviet and American military personnel who were given orders to fire nuclear weapons between the 1960s and 1980s. Their conscience stopped them, only to learn later that it was a mistaken order. We now have another horrifying story to add to that growing list of possible post-apocalyptic futures.

Former Air Force airman John Bordne is now an elderly man. But in the early morning hours of October 28, 1962 he and his fellow airmen nearly launched their nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Air Force has only now given Bordne permission to tell his story of how America nearly started World War III.

* Time travel short film of the day: “Therefore I Am.”

Kurt Vonnegut’s Electric Literature.

* Stored grain can’t melt steel beams.

* NASA is taking astronaut applications.

* The BBC will adapt His Dark Materials.

* Bullets dodged: Aaron Sorkin once pitched a Pixar movie about talking office supplies.

How We Think About Technology (Without Thinking About Politics).

The rating game: How Uber and its peers turned us into horrible bosses.

* Another McKenzie Wark piece on the Anthropocene.

Don’t believe the Democratic Party is in crisis? Then read this tweet. How badly has the Obama era damaged the Democratic party?

The book includes diary entries about the tensions between Mrs. Bush and Nancy Reagan (“Nancy does not like Barbara”) and his private comments about Michael S. Dukakis, his 1988 opponent (“midget nerd”). It reports that as defense secretary for the elder Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney commissioned a study of how many tactical nuclear weapons would be needed to take out an Iraqi Republican Guard division, if necessary. (The answer: 17.)

* Meanwhile, back at the ranch: The Most Militarized Universities in America.

* These teams earned the most from “paid patriotism.”

Prose and poetry—all art, music, dance—rise from and move with the profound rhythms of our body, our being, and the body and being of the world. Physicists read the universe as a great range of vibrations, of rhythms. Art follows and expresses those rhythms. Once we get the beat, the right beat, our ideas and our words dance to it—the round dance that everybody can join. And then I am thou, and the barriers are down. For a while. Ursula K. Le Guin, y’all.

Students suspended or expelled over allegations of sexual assault rarely succeed in lawsuits against the institutions that punished them. That’s starting to change.

* Ada #8: Gender, Globalization, and the Digital.

* “What’s your secret?” ““Oh, we just kick out the bad ones.”

* Elmo looks into the Ark of the Covenant.

 

* And Meet Dakotaraptor: the feathered dinosaur that was ‘utterly lethal.’ Cutie!

dakotaraptor

More Sick Baby Day Links

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* Ladies and gentlemen, the very worst “Should I Go to Grad School” piece ever written.

Samuel Delany and Wonder Woman.

* Letter from a Chinese labor camp?

* Quentin Tarantino’s next?

I don’t know exactly when I’m going to do it, but there’s something about this that would suggest a trilogy.  [The next part would follow] a bunch of black troops, and they had been f–ked over by the American military and kind of go apeshit… [The] black troops… kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland.

* Philip Pullman will continue the His Dark Materials series.

* The headline reads, “Physicians in China treat addictions by destroying the brain’s pleasure center.”

* The cold hard facts of freezing to death.

Presenting the Royal Mail’s Doctor Who stamps.

* Why is Congress so terrible? Nate Silver says it was gerrymandering that done it.

* And just one piece from the latest JacobinThe Soul of Student Debt.

Tuesday Morning Links

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Tuesday morning links.

* If movie posters were honest. See also: if covers of marginal SF/fantasy series were honest.

* Who knew full moons had names? Via G-Lens.

* Is California the new Michigan?

* Tough times in the USA: people are eating racoon. This has nothing to do with the recession, apparently—some people are just choosing to eat it because they are gross.

* Potsdam University is offering a graduate how-to course on flirting for computer geeks.

* Arm-Chair Logic has your elementary logic test for the day.

* Solar apocalypse: NASA warns of ‘Space Katrina.’ My production company has already optioned the rights to this headline, don’t even think about it.

* Harper’s Index: Bush retrospective mega-edition.

* A task force created by 49 state attorneys general to look into the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem. That’s right: online sexual predators have infiltrated top-level attorneys general offices in 49 states. We must redouble our efforts.

* And Whedonesque asks, appropriately forlorn: Has it really been five years since Angel ended? That is a little hard to believe. The Armchair Critic ranks the twenty-five best episodes, and the five worst, of one of the best (and surely the most underappreciated) SF series of all time.

His Dark Materials and the Negation of the Negation

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moreintelligentlife.com has a mildly slavish interview with fantasist-of-the-moment (and notorious atheist!) Philip Pullman that’s worth reading if you’re interested in either children’s literature or religious controversy. Here’s a bit where he rags on Lewis and Tolkien:

Several times Pullman reminds me that a work of fiction is not an argument. Perhaps it’s safest to say that in “His Dark Materials” he has constructed his own imaginative world so as not to submit to anyone else’s. He likes to quote William Blake’s line: “I must create a system, or be enslav’d by another man’s.” His story is a rival to the narratives put forward by two earlier Oxford writers, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Pullman loathes the way the children in Narnia are killed in a car-crash. “I dislike his Narnia books because of the solution he offers to the great questions of human life: is there a God, what is the purpose, all that stuff, which he really does engage with pretty deeply, unlike Tolkien who doesn’t touch it at all. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is essentially trivial. Narnia is essentially serious, though I don’t like the answer Lewis comes up with. If I was doing it at all, I was arguing with Narnia. Tolkien is not worth arguing with.”

1) It’s a train wreck, not a car crash, though this was probably the interviewer’s error and not Pullman’s. (The Problem of Susan is worth footnoting here as well.)

2) This is a strange thing that seems to happen to a lot of atheists and agnostics, and I say that certainly having recognized the impulse in myself at times as well. Rather than exiling religious and metaphysical questions to the margins, as you might expect, the recognition of the non-existence of God has the exact opposite effect: the question of God becomes the only one worth asking and the only thing worth talking about. Hence the ludicrous claim that Tolkien is “essentially trivial” because Lord of the Rings is neither a theistic nor atheistic polemic.

I don’t quite know what to make of this, but it’s very interesting. Clearly, Pullmanistic atheism has mastered the negation, but just as clearly it needs to find some way to move forward into the negation of the negation. I think that’s what actually existing atheism would have to be, rather than the cancerous anti-theism that so thoroughly dominates the category today.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 8, 2007 at 7:45 pm

Vacation Day

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Sleeping in today and doing nothing so far has been pretty great. Can these trends continue? Let’s find out.

* Delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, at AskMe.

* Parents suddenly begin to realize that Philip Pullman is a big fat atheist, and panic accordingly. A little more commentary and a different link over at blucarbnpinwheel.

* A legislative compromise has finally been reached on Iraq: Proposed Bill Would Bring 4,000 Troops Back To Life.

* The stem cell controversy is over, too: scientists have finally had some success in getting adult stem cells to do what embyronic stem cells can do. So medical science has been set back only six years; a drop in the bucket, really. (Please note that bucket also contains some chronically and terminally ill people who have suffered and will continue to suffer needlessly as a direct result of the absurd superstition and ignorance at the highest levels of our government.) More at MeFi and Washington Monthly, where they address the ludicrous claim that Bush deserves any credit whatsoever for these breakthroughs.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 21, 2007 at 5:02 pm

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Philip Pullman, whose Dark Materials trilogy I started once a few years ago but never got around to finishing, is working on a sequel that will elaborate on his conception of atheism:

“This is a big subject and I’m writing a big, big book in order to deal precisely with that question,” he tells the magazine. “I don’t want to anticipate it too much by switching a light on the answer now. The interesting – the curious – question is, if people can be helped by something that is palpably not true, is this better than denying the thing that is not true and not being helped?”

As you can see, Pullman has developed more than a little bit of Dawkinsesque condescension when he speaks now about religion, and the question he thinks is interesting and curious is actually neither interesting nor curious—but whatever else you’ve got to say about Pullman you’ve got to give the guy credit for writing a children’s series that ends with God being unmasked as a monstrous, immoral fraud. That’s guts.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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