Posts Tagged ‘pornography’
* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.
* Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.
* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.
* From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.
* The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.
* Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.
* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.
* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.
* A major new report suggests serious underemployment among liberal arts majors, affecting as many as 50% of recent graduates in some majors.
* Liu Cixin has an essay on Death’s End up at Tor: Chinese Literature and Apocalyptic SF: Some Notes on Death’s End (and has a review up already as well). My review probably won’t be published for another few weeks, so I’ll just say again: just buy it!
* Once more, with feeling: Student evaluations are useless.
* David Fahrenthold’s reporting on Trump’s foundation has yielded a major scoop, evidence of self-dealing in public documents that would appear to be trivially against the law. Even wilder: this is their defense.
* America: taste the rainbow.
* Instapundit has been suspended from Twitter for a tweet about the Charlotte protests. The tweet in question seems pretty indefensible to me, though Reynolds tries at the link, and regardless of its defensibility suspending him for it seems likely to have very bad consequences both for Twitter and for left academics on a pragmatic level. 9:04 AM UPDATE: He’s already back on.
* “Actuaries shamelessly, although often in good faith, understate pension obligations by as much as 50 percent,” said Jeremy Gold, an actuary and economist, in a speech last year at the M.I.T. Center for Finance and Policy. “Their clients want them to.”
* From Back to the Future II to Stephen King’s saving-JFK novel 11/23/63, the lesson one learns again and again is that trying to improve the world through time travel is a fool’s game, creating far worse problems than whatever you’d hoped to fix. Most of time travel fiction these days is one way or another designed to help us swallow the bitter pill that this life is the one we’re stuck with, that trying to make things better will only backfire.
* Going to go ahead and greenlight this one too: Family flee home after finding spiders which can cause four-hour erection followed by death in ASDA bananas.
* In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups, the police and the police.
* Teaching the controversy: “Should police officers be required to provide medical aid to people they’ve shot?”
* Take that, every authority figure in my personal history! A new study finds that fidgeting — the toe-tapping, foot-wagging and other body movements that annoy your co-workers — is in fact good for your health.
* And now, truly, more than ever: “Tonight the Character of Death Will Be Played by Brad Pitt.”
* Since, in fact, we lack the ability to realise even a single one of these demands in the foreseeable future, and since all other apparent solutions are unavailing, the unwelcome thought begins to insinuate itself — we are going to live in a world with Daesh and its massacres no matter what we do.
* Presenting The Bee. Exciting new “Beyond Criticism” project from Lili Loofbourow.
* Along the way to a world of driverless cars there are many potential roadblocks: infrastructure issues, different technical standards, restrictive state licensing policies, and more. But something more problematic might be the one most likely to derail this important technology: excessive lawsuits. To avoid the chilling effect that excessive litigation might have on this life-saving innovation, Congress may need to provide a certain amount of legal immunity for creators of driverless car technologies, or at least create an alternative legal compensation system for when things go wrong.
* There are no ifs, maybes or caveats allowed in American sports and now in American culture—you’re either a champion or you’re a loser: a nothing.
* Sad! These three campaign gurus for Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have had some time to reflect on their loss to The Donald. And do they ever have stories to tell.
* Not all heroes wear capes: Traveler sues TSA for missed flight.
* Mongolia will become a global pioneer next month, when its national post office starts referring to locations by a series of three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names.
Why, it couldn’t be simpler!
* And the future just isn’t very stable: Carbon nanotubes have been pegged as the wonder material that could finally allow us to build a space elevator. A discouraging new study suggests these microscopic strands aren’t as resilient as we thought—and all it could take is a single misplaced atom to bring the whole thing crashing down.
* “Once upon a time, there was an angry guy, who hated the story he was in. All right?” Charles Yu in the New Yorker.
* Huge congratulations to my recent (last week!) student Michael Welch (ENGW ’16), winner of the 2016 Florence Kahn Memorial Award from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and the author of the poetry chapbook But Sometimes I Remember, now at Amazon!
* “Marquette reports surge in student demand for incoming class.” Well, that’s good news!
* So what can we do? The solution is very simple! Don’t date your students. Don’t stalk, harass, or overshare your feels with your students. Don’t expect them to perform emotional or sexual labor for you. Treat them like professionals, so that they can become the professionals they want to be without being humiliated or having their or your intellectual enthusiasm questioned or second-guessed.
* In effect, we have two American economies. One is made up of expensive coastal zip codes where the pundits proclaiming “recovery” are surrounded by prosperity. The other is composed of heartland regions where ordinary Americans struggle without jobs. Over 50 million Americans live in what the Economic Innovation Group calls “distressed communities”—zip codes where over 55% of the population is unemployed. Of those distressed communities, over half are in the South, defined generously by the census as the region stretching from Maryland and Delaware to Oklahoma and Texas. The rest tend to live in Midwest rust belt cities that have long suffered from economic decline, like Gary, Indiana and Cleveland, Ohio. It is nearly impossible for Americans of the latter group to move to the cities of the former group—or to work in the industries that shape public perception of how the economy is going.
* “The apocalypse is never that single cataclysmic event,” remarks a resistance leader of an imaginary nation to her psychiatrist in a conversation at the heart of “In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain” (2015), the most recent film of Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour and the central piece in her solo exhibition at Sabrina Amrani Gallery. In the film, a resistance group is on a mission to produce a future history for a made-up civilization: by making underground deposits of elaborate porcelain, the group supports its claims to the existence of a people before their obliteration by a colonial power. In line with the classical sci-fi format, the digital film is set in a dystopian territory without a future, or at the very end of historical time. The master narrative of the end-of-times is not an event but a condition: Disaster becomes not sheer bad luck, but a fixed lens through which history is narrated.
* “Possible Conflict at Heart of Clinton Foundation.” Well I suppose anything’s possible.
* February national polls are the best you get until August. But let’s all panic just the same.
* #welcometonightvale: For all the advances in transplant surgery in the 62 years since doctors first moved a kidney from Ronald Herrick to his identical twin, Richard, the method of transporting organs remains remarkably primitive. A harvested heart, lung, liver or kidney is iced in a plastic cooler, the kind you might take to the beach, then raced to an operating room where a critically ill patient and his surgical team are waiting. The new approach flips that idea — emphasizing warmth instead of cold and maintaining an organ’s natural processes rather than slowing them down. That may speed an individual heart or liver’s return to service, and it offers the eventual possibility of more: the potential to reduce the chronic shortage of organs for transplant by expanding the pool of usable ones.
* Nothing gold can stay: Lego sets have become more violent to keep up with the times, new study shows.
* #Holdthedoor (from 2014!).
* “Dad wrote pirate porn, ghost porn, science-fiction porn, vampire porn, historical porn, time-travel porn, secret-agent porn, thriller porn, zombie porn, and Atlantis porn.” LARoB reviews Chris Offutt’s My Father, The Pornographer.
* No more water, the fire next time: xkcd explores the weirdly specific promise of the rainbow.
* The planet would warm by searing 10C if all fossil fuels are burned, according to a new study, leaving some regions uninhabitable and wreaking profound damage on human health, food supplies and the global economy. ^when
* A new page at Marquette: a $96 million residence hall development.
* There’s more than one way to brand a college. Like at least three or four.
For the television series, it’s more complicated. The crucial question is this: How do you take a story that’s written as a deliberate repudiation of 1990s fantasy norms and make it work, twenty years later, with an audience that didn’t necessarily grow up with Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan novels? The story is generally strong enough that it’s managed to survive and thrive; the failures of the Starks are not just reversals of fantasy convention but overall storytelling convention. But the longer the series goes, the less able it is to draw upon such clear subversions.
* Hamilton, the musical you may be tired of hearing about because it is literally impossible to get tickets to see it until 2047, made Tony history Tuesday morning, scoring a record-breaking 16 nominations.
* Jessica Jones season two is doomed watch: Trouble On The Set Of Jessica Jones Season One Was Calmed By David Tennant.
* You just can’t win: After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight.
* “Poet & Vagabond”: Roberto Bolaño’s business card.
* Like the lady said: the goal should be a society without classes! Fights on planes 400% more likely when there’s a first class section.
* Famous last words watch: Republicans have a massive electoral map problem that has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
* And if you want a vision of the future, imagine increasingly disappointing Star Trek (2009) sequels every three years, forever.