Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Player Piano

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

Monday Morning Links

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* CFP: SFRA 2015: The SF We Don’t (Usually) See: Suppressed Histories, Liminal Voices, Emerging Media.

* CFP: Paradoxa: The Futures Industry.

Concerned about the Eaton SF/F archive at UCR.

*Ferguson, Missouri Community Furious After Teen Shot Dead By Police. Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life. Michael Brown remembered as a ‘gentle giant.’ Now, riots.

* 1 Black Man Is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes: America Is Perpetually at War with Its Own People.

* Meanwhile the NYPD is free to lie with impunity after an illegal chokehold led to Eric Garner’s death.

An officer fired the electric shock device’s darts into the chest of the girl, who weighed 70 pounds, the lawsuit said.

* Black Life, Annotated. Further reading.

* Life as a victim of stalking.

* The Obligation to Know: From FAQ to Feminism 101.

Abstract: In addition to documenting and sharing information geek culture has a complementary norm obliging others to educate themselves on rudimentary topics. This obligation to know is expressed by way of jargon-laden exhortations such as ‘check the FAQ’ (frequently asked questions) and ‘RTFM’ (read the fucking manual). Additionally, the geek lexicon includes designations of the stature of the knower and the extent of what he or she knows (e.g., alpha geek and newbie). Online feminists, especially geek feminists, are similarly beset by naive or disruptive questions and demonstrate and further their geekiness through the deployment of the obligation to know. However, in this community the obligation reflects the increased likelihood of disruptive, or ‘derailing’, questions and a more complex and gendered relationship with stature, as seen in the notions of impostor syndrome, the Unicorn Law, and mansplaining.

* Ursula K. Le Guin talks to Michael Cunningham about genres, gender, and broadening fiction.

What Makes Nigel Richards The Best Scrabble Player On Earth.

* What It’s Like to be a Doctor in a Supermax Prison.

* Teaching The Merchant of Venice in Gaza.

* Inside online communities for non-offending pedophiles.

While emailing with a colleague yesterday, I realized that I had never really written about the so-called “spacecraft cemetery” of the South Pacific, a remote patch of ocean water used as a kind of burial plot for derelict satellites.

* Dispute Between Amazon and Hachette Takes an Orwellian Turn. Amazon Gets Increasingly Nervous. In which Amazon calls you to defend the realm.

* What happens when a female writer asks a question on Twitter about women’s health.

* BREAKING: The NCAA Still Doesn’t Care About Athletes. The lawsuit that could change everything. The NCAA in Turmoil. How the O’Bannon Ruling Could Change College Sports.

“The alternative to partition,” he said, “is a continued U.S.-led effort at nation-building that has not worked for the last four years and, in my view, has no prospect for success. That, Mr. Chairman, is a formula for war without an end.”

World War I, as Paul Fussell famously argued, discredited what Wilfred Owen in a classic poem called “the old lie”: that it is sweet and honorable to die for one’s country. But what it has meant to shift allegiances from nation to “humanity” has changed drastically over the 20th century among those flirting with wider and cosmopolitan sensibilities. Namely, the highest goal shifted from the abolition to the humanization of war.

* Nothing Says “Sorry Our Drones Hit Your Wedding Party” Like $800,000 And Some Guns.

Scenes From COCAL: A Conference for Contingent Faculty Looks to Seize Its Moment.

* Why Does the United States Have 17 Different Intelligence Agencies?

* Why not a three-day work week?

* What was it like to be on Supermarket Sweep?

I was told on numerous occasions that I was going to face a general court martial on six or seven charges. Then word came down from Washington to discharge me quietly. An honourable discharge. Maybe the thinking was that the peace movement didn’t need a martyr.

Yes, the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless.

* Elon Musk Reveals Open Source Design for 14,000 Mile-an-Hour Vacuum Tube Railroad.

* So much dBilown the memory hole: Reconsidering the Legacy of Bill Clinton.

Philip K. Dick’s only children’s book finally back in print – with many subtle nods to his most famous SF work. But not in the US!

* Where’s the Diversity, Hollywood? Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blockbusters Overwhelmingly White, Male.

* John Oliver’s Search for New Voices in Late Night.

* The New York Public Library’s hilarious archive of librarians’ harsh children’s book reviews.

* Peter Frase talks Vonnegut’s Player Piano on the Old Mole Variety Hour.

* The A.V. Club is celebrating Clone High.

* Party Like It’s 1999: Japanese Retrofuturism and Chrono Trigger.

* One of the weirdest episodes of Star Trek ever.

* Critical Theory after the Anthropocene.

Tennessee Drug Tests Welfare Applicants, Discovers Less Than One Percent Use Drugs.

Drilling Company Owner Gets 28 Months In Prison For Dumping Fracking Waste Into River. Sad that this would be so shocking.

* The Scott Walker Hypothesis. The Scott Walker Paradox.

* Giant urban sprawl could pave over thousands of acres of forest and agriculture, connecting Raleigh to Atlanta by 2060, if growth continues at its current pace, according to a newly released research paper from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Island In Upstate New York Taken Over By Cats.

* Dream to revolutionize ostrich industry crumbles.

* What could possibly go wrong? Armed Right-Wing Militias Amassing Along Texas Border With State Lawmaker’s Blessing.

* But it’s not all bad news: Yellowstone Is Not Erupting And Killing Us All.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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MOOCs, Progress, and Player Piano

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Most important, once the faculty converts its courses to courseware, their services are in the long run no longer required. They become redundant, and when they leave, their work remains behind. In Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Player Piano the ace machinist Rudy Hertz is flattered by the automation engineers who tell him his genius will be immortalized. They buy him a beer. They capture his skills on tape. Then they fire him. Today faculty are falling for the same tired line, that their brilliance will be broadcast online to millions. Perhaps, but without their further participation. Some skeptical faculty insist that what they do cannot possibly be automated, and they are right. But it will be automated anyway, whatever the loss in educational quality. Because education, again, is not what all this is about; it’s about making money.

David Noble’s “Digital Diploma Mills” (1998), via iterating toward openness.