Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’
* A thoughtful, if ultimately mostly negative, review of The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction. I’m either too narcissistic or not narcissistic enough to argue with the reviewer point-by-point — and in any event it’s probably unprofessional to get too deep into how the sausage is made — but I will note that we definitely thought about all these issues as we were putting the volume together, and tried to address them in our introduction and general organization. I’ll also add that “for better or worse” we didn’t really see our book as operating independently from the James and Mendlesohn volume; we were trying to do something that extended that book rather than merely replicating it with identical chapters focused on the US. No book can be all things to all people, but hopefully other people find the balance we struck more pleasing than Cheney did…
* On Monday, however, a county attorney in Virginia gave defenders of the college new hope that they could stop the ticking clock and save the institution. The county attorney filed suit in Virginia court charging that the president and board of the college have violated several state laws and failed in their duties to keep the college running. And the suit seeks an injunction to stop activity to close the college and to replace the president and the board.
* A great Existential Comic on the transporter problem. You’d never get me in one of those things.
* Senate Bill 593 ties professors’ pay to teaching assignments, requiring a minimum of eight courses for the profs to earn their full salary. If academic research requires a lighter course load, universities could supplement professors’ salaries with money from their nonprofit foundations. Why only eight courses? We’re leaving money on the table!
* Hell, just let Maisie Williams play the Doctor next. Or Kiernan Shipka. But one of them definitely.
* “I retweet not in anger. But it’s an impressive rise for a dude who three years ago was replying to Uberfacts tweets with dick jokes.”
* Everything old is new again: Anglo Saxon remedy kills hospital superbug MRSA.
* The new issue of Extrapolation is out! This one was put together before I was an editor, but it’s still really great stuff.
* Dear English Major: A 7-Step Guide to Your Final Semester as an English Major.
* It’s syllabus prep week at universities all across America. Here’s a provocative one from Vanderbilt: PHIL 213: Police Violence and Mass Incarceration.
* Give me the child at 18 or so, and I will give you the man: Nine Percent of 114th U.S. Congress Are Alumni of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
* Why we can’t have nice things, 2015 edition: The Senate’s 46 Democrats got 20 million more votes than its 54 Republicans.
* I say teach the controversy: “Creationist: Aliens Will Go to Hell and Not Even Jesus Can Save Them.”
* Actual Supreme Court decisions: To remain silent, one must first speak.
* Dog bites man: 2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record Globally By Far.
* On the 60th anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” the Los Angeles Review of Books has assembled a group of female authors, artists and performers who, dedicated to examining the faces, bodies and voices of the young girl, consider the significance of Nabokov’s pubescent protagonist as both a literary conceit and an object of patriarchal fetish.
* As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ’em free.
* People diagnosed with serious mental illness — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression — die 20 years early, on average, because of a combination of lousy medical care, smoking, lack of exercise, complications of medication, suicide, and accidents. They are the most discriminated-against and neglected group in the U.S., which has become probably the worst place in the developed world to be mentally ill.
* “The little girl come to my door,” 71-year-old Larry Wilkins told NBC News. “She told me that her mom and her dad were dead, and she was in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down. She asked if she could stay here.”
* “I’m no longer watching television in which middle-aged men figure out how to be men. I’d rather watch shows about teenaged girls figuring out what it means to be a monster.”
* A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below 25 grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those earning more than 150 grand a year give away only 2.7 percent. A UCLA neuroscientist named Keely Muscatell has published an interesting paper showing that wealth quiets the nerves in the brain associated with empathy: If you show rich people and poor people pictures of kids with cancer, the poor people’s brains exhibit a great deal more activity than the rich people’s. (An inability to empathize with others has just got to be a disadvantage for any rich person seeking political office, at least outside of New York City.) “As you move up the class ladder,” says Keltner, “you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others. Straightforward economic analyses have trouble making sense of this pattern of results.”
* I can’t believe I’d never read this before: the original script to Back to the Future is wonderfully bananas, including the “nuke the fridge” scene from Crystal Skull thrown in as a sweetener.
* Peak neoliberalism: eventheliberal Kevin Drum says an AI revolution that will be “pretty brutal for the 90 percent of the population that occupies the middle classes and below” will be a “basically positive” development.
* PS: Drum might have been overestimating the timetable here. In 10 years, your job might not exist.
* The paper makes no claims about in-person classes or very large online courses, but says that the study’s findings provide “the first evidence that increasing class sizes in the online context may not degrade the quality of the class.” And the paper says that “these results could have important policy and financial implications.”
* Anti-terror plan to spy on toddlers ‘is heavy-handed.’ Well, that’s debatable.
* Police say at least 30 people are sleeping permanently in Madrid airport’s terminal 4 but the number goes up in winter.
* In 1997 the Swedish parliament wrote into law a “Vision Zero” plan, promising to eliminate road fatalities and injuries altogether. “We simply do not accept any deaths or injuries on our roads,” says Hans Berg of the national transport agency. Swedes believe—and are now proving—that they can have mobility and safety at the same time.
* Science fiction poetry: “Sci-Fi Violence.”
* It’s good to get ahead of things: Should Martians Pay U.S. Taxes?
* And the winner of the Worst Thing Written in 2015 has been announced. Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you again in 2016.
* Another good one from Charlie Stross: Let’s put the future behind us.
Anyway, this is the future, folks. It’s built from the bones of the past, it’s unevenly distributed, and it’s already here. And while it’s an interesting place to visit, I’m not sure I’d want to stay.
* Benghazi Is Over, But the Mainstream Media Just Yawns. Well, there’s an Ebola crisis to co– oh? really? Well, there’s Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration to cover!
Across town at Marquette University, three fraternities last spring received official warnings after reports of sexual misconduct. Complaints against fraternity members were handled through student misconduct channels, and the university ordered the fraternitiesto undergo training.
* UVA Suspends Fraternities Following Rolling Stone Campus Rape Investigation. As is usual with these sorts of things, what’s stunning is how clear it is they’re only doing this because they got caught. They knew everything Rolling Stone reported before RS reported it; the only difference is now everyone knows those things.
* The University of Virginia’s selection of an independent counsel to investigate rape allegations turned out to have been a member of the fraternity that is the subject of the accusations.
* I tell you, the ethical shambles that is today’s Young Person. Watching live college football — college football paid for by your tuition dollars, whether you like it or not — is not a right! It’s not even a privilege! It’s an obligation.
Right offhand, a number of notable trends pop out. First, this looks like a terrible job season so far. Over at the Smoker, Zombie has tallied only 110 tenure-track jobs [note: now, going back all the way to June, it doesn’t look quite so bad–though most AOS are still in the single digits). Second, the most in-demand AOS this year are ethics (37 listings), applied ethics (35) jobs, open (37), and social-political (20). So, value theory’s looking comparatively good. Third, it’s surprising (to me, at any rate) how few jobs are in the “core”, though Mind isn’t doing too bad (15 listings).
From what I can gather of the contemporary philosophy discipline a lion’s share of those ethics jobs (themselves now the supermajority of the field!) are in interdisciplinary attempts to make ethics “relevant” to science, medicine, business, etc. If you want a vision of the future of the humanities…