Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘quantum mechanics

Friday Links!

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* My Octavia Butler book is free all this month from University of Illinois Press. Their new Kim Stanley Robinson book is also very good.

* Africanfuturism Defined.

* J.R.R. Tolkien crowds drive Paris staff to go on strike. Marquette helped make it happen.

Jeannette Ng Was Right: John W. Campbell Was a Fascist.

* Promissory futures.

* I’ve been deep in edits for SFFTV’s special issue on Blade Runner and its legacy, so of course I had to check out this oral history of its Los Angeles.

* Amy Rose grew up loving Star Trek in a way no one else did… she thought it was real.

* Not all heroes wear pantaloons: Usher Who Keeps Colossal ‘Hamilton’ Bathroom Line Moving Becomes Viral Star.

* My Friend, Mr. Rogers.

Halloween and Stranger Danger.

 

* Let’s transform the city with scooters! *five seconds later* oh right

* 😬😬😬😬😬.

* Hate crime horror in Milwaukee. Hate in the Trump era.

* We’re really just going to sit around and pretend they’re not going to do this in three states in November 2020, I guess?

Stivers said he thought Bevin’s speech declining to concede to Beshear was “appropriate.” He said believes most of the votes that went to Libertarian John Hicks, who received about 2% of the total vote, would have gone to Bevin and made him the clear winner.

This is sub-“illegal immigrants stole the vote in California” bullshit and there’s no guarantee it won’t work.

* Bernie finds religion on immigration.

* The metapolitics of Medicare-for-all.

* Having exhausted all other options for profit, a health insurance company tries actually giving people the care they need. How One Employer Stuck a New Mom With a $898,984 Bill for Her Premature Baby.

* “OK Boomer”: not okay?

* OK Adorno.

* Lean in, white supremacist ladies!

* First I’m hearing of it, but it sounds bad: Scientists Declare A Climate Emergency, Warn Of ‘Untold Human Suffering.’

Robust evidence of declines in insect abundance and biodiversity. Forged in Fire: California’s Lessons for a Green New Deal. California is experiencing an almost existential crisis. Has the climate crisis made California too dangerous to live in? What It Means to Evacuate. California Is Burning—Nationalize PG&E. Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest. The world is stuck with decades of new plastic it can’t recycle. How The Affair Turned to Climate Change and Science Fiction in Its Final Season.  Reflections on the Green New Deal. The Oregon Trail for a new — oh no. Lessons in survival.

“Really cheap powerful computing is great,” Goodman said, “but it also allows us to be racist faster and more efficiently than ever before.”

* Stanford still trying to murder Stanford University Press.

* Behind the scenes at Disney U.

* Harvard Just Discovered that PowerPoint is Worse Than Useless. I could have told you that!

* Of course they kept this one behind the paywall: Can You Get Students Interested in the Humanities Again? These Colleges May Have It Figured Out.

How Applying to Grad School Becomes a Display of Trauma for People of Color.

* Redlining the humanities.

* The Williams English Boycott.

* Key elements of the campus panic narrative are drawn not just from unrepresentative anecdotes but from stories that are basically fake.

* Just the pettiest shit. It’s incredible.

* Clinton! Bloomberg! All your favorites!

We Don’t Need Longer School Days, We Need a Shorter Work Week.

* The culture of policing is deeply sick.

Privacy experts say a warrant granted in Florida could set a precedent, opening up all consumer DNA sites to law enforcement agencies across the country.

* The only election result I need.

The U.S. Only Pretends to Have Free Markets. The Tyranny of Economists. Liberalism according to The Economist. Neoliberalism? Never Heard of It.

* Could it be that Amazon … is bad?

‘It’s Time To Break Up Disney,’ Says Author Of New Book On Monopoly Power In America.

* Martin Scorsese: I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain.

* All you people who are telling me this show is good are messing with me, right.

* Terminal whiteness.

* Funny, I have the exact opposite problem.

* With a Laser, Researchers Say They Can Hack Alexa, Google Home or Siri. New York Times writer is shocked to see how much a social trust scoring system knows about her. Grand Theft Auto maker hasn’t paid corporation tax in 10 years. I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb. In an often barren media landscape, Deadspin was an oasis of editorial independence and irreverence. So its ultra-rich owners killed it. Adam Neumann and the Art of Failing Up. Uber’s first homicide (that we know of). Screen time might be physically changing kids’ brains.

* Friends? I’ll give you friends!

* Scenes from the class struggle in America.

The Company That Branded Your Millennial Life Is Pivoting To Burnout.

* Ady Barkan Is Running Out of Time to Speak: As his ALS intensifies, the prominent single-payer activist is finding new ways to influence the politics of health care.

* My Year of Concussions.

* When the company that made your prosthetic feet won’t repair them.

* Don’t break up without reading this! A ton of people received text messages overnight that were originally sent on Valentine’s Day.

* When child abuse is a personal branding strategy.

McDonald’s apologises for ‘Sundae Bloody Sundae’ promotion.

* RIP, Hollywood Superman.

* I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a huge unforced error to try to replicate “Let It Go.”

* Animals and sports! Now I like sports.

If Birds Left Tracks in the Sky, They’d Look Like This.

* I can never resist brutalist ruins.

* Watch how the 11foot8 bridge is being raised by 8 inches.

* Hey Satan. Burying some fossils again?

Buckle up, motherpastas, because I’m gonna blow the lid off the tin of lies that is SpaghettiO’s.

* Some things are forbidden for a reason.

* And if we’re still alive then, we’ll be seeing Into the Spider-Verse 2 in April 2020.

Jul 24, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; A cat disrupts play in the second half between Tigres UANL and the Real Salt Lake during their Leagues Cup game at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – 13095176

Written by gerrycanavan

November 8, 2019 at 10:23 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Nothing Changes on New Year’s Day Links

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* Call for Papers: Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene.

* People that found their doppelgängers in art museums.

We are often told that we need to articulate the case for the humanities in order to survive the current budgetary and political landscape. Many of us stutter and stumble when confronted with such requests, mumbling some barely audible phrases involving “skills,” “relevance,” “a changing economy,” “engagement,” and “values.” The reason it does not come out as something coherent or articulate, much less compelling, is that the ideas behind the words are just as hollow, and we know it. Somewhere inside we all know that there is no case for the humanities.

* George Ciccariello-Maher Resigns: “We are all a single outrage campaign away from having no rights at all.” Iowa senator proposes bill decried as ‘political litmus test’ for universities. A note to tenured faculty.

Meet the black architect who designed Duke University 37 years before he could have attended it.

* J.R.R. Tolkien, Beyond Good and Evil.

* “The midichlorians are an example of my overarching argument about The Prequels: that they contain a very nuanced story told very, very incompetently.”

* What was Leia supposed to do in Episode 9?

* Teach the controversy: the legend of Mark Hamill’s face.

* Another profile of the worst job on the Internet.

* NANO issue 12, a special issue on The Force Awakens.

* Ada 12, radical speculation and Ursula K. Le Guin.

* What if Parents Loved Strangers’ Children As Much As Their Own?

* Anomie. Quantum Mechanics. Love. Stotting. Zeno. Choice paralysis. Frosty. Melville. Poetry. Keep scrolling!

Unearthing the Capitalocene: Towards a Reparations Ecology.

* There is just no bottom.

* Killed by swatting.

* Why Is a Small Montana Town a Hotbed of Far-Right Activity? Emboldened white nationalists? Look no further than this liberal Oregon college town.

Price of 40-year-old cancer drug hiked 1,400% by new owners.

US nuclear tests killed far more civilians than we knew.

New research suggests that the hidden cost of developing nuclear weapons were far larger than previous estimates, with radioactive fallout responsible for 340,000 to 690,000 American deaths from 1951 to 1973.

* The robots are coming.

Obamacare and the survival test.

How to crush Trump.

How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America. Extreme poverty in America. World’s richest 500 see their wealth increase by $1tn this year. The U.S. without pensions. No ‘Easy Answer’ To Growing Number Of Stray Dogs In The U.S., Advocate Says. Long after Trump is gone, we’ll still be fighting him. As Wildfires Raged, Insurers Sent in Private Firefighters to Protect Homes of the Wealthy. Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong. Death in an Amazon dumpster. The homeless and the coming cashless economy.

* Addiction, Inc.

Why Has Science Only Cured One Person of HIV?

* Same: Young American Men Are Choosing Video Games Over Work in Staggering Numbers. WHO to recognize gaming disorder as mental health condition in 2018.

* I’m starting to take this stuff personally: Poor social skills may be harmful to health.

* I mean really. Why Are Smart People Usually Ugly?

* Academics ‘face higher mental health risk’ than other professions.

* Atheism is caused by poor breath control.

The Rise and Fall of the Racist Right.

* Every Black Mirror. Against SNL. Against Star Wars. Disney Apparently Expects ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ To Bomb. How Star Wars Was Saved in the Edit.

When Michael Jackson Almost Bought Marvel.

Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme. How We Know It Was Climate Change. And just because there can never be a single moment’s peace from toxic masculinity: Men Resist Green Behavior as Unmanly.

Can humanity make peace with its death?

* Seinfeld: The Point and Click Adventure.

The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth.

* A world without prisons.

Private Prison Companies Are About to Cash In on Trump’s Deportation Regime.

* Marquette in the ne — oh no, this again?

Sunday Morning Links!

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* Good year for children’s studies academic jobs: Bryn Mawr and York.

But some researchers want to dig deeper. They want to know why quantum mechanics has the form it does, and they are engaged in an ambitious program to find out. It is called quantum reconstruction, and it amounts to trying to rebuild the theory from scratch based on a few simple principles. The simulation crashes at very large speeds and very small scales. We solved this years ago!

* Toxic masculinity.

These Women Entrepreneurs Created A Fake Male Cofounder To Dodge Startup Sexism.

* Study: a universal basic income would grow the economy.

College football gives conservatives their own safe space on campus.

Well-off “helicopter” parents are super annoying, but they didn’t create economic inequality.

Jim Bridenstine will be the first elected official, and the first person without scientific experience, to helm NASA.

Evidence of Russian Election-Data Tampering Mounts as Urgency to Investigate It Does Not.

Trump Looks Likely to End Protections for Dreamers. Here’s What Would Happen Next. Trump’s next big play on immigration could be much worse than you think.

How a Possible Case of Mistaken Identity Led to a Family Watching Their Loved One Die in ICE Detention.

‘Willful blindness’: Deportees becoming easy prey for gangs along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hurricane Harvey Floods Toxic Waste Sites, With The EPA Missing In Action. Houston officials were warned they had a problem — they didn’t listen.

* Evacuations ordered in ‘largest ever’ Los Angeles wildfire. 185,000 acre Battle Complex fire burning across Eastern Montana, Northern Wyoming.

The Incarcerated Women Who Fight California’s Wildfires.

Donald Trump Jr. to be paid $100,000 for UNT Kuehne Series speech. Bail money?

* Months later, DOJ confirms Trump was lying when he said Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

* Quick, someone option this Twitter feed. I see at least three films.

* “Virtual Reality Settlers of Catan” seems like a joke, and yet.

* Kirby at 100.

* And Texas goes Full Dark Tower.

Open-carrying swords and machetes
Blades more than 5.5 inches in length are being permitted for open-carry in public places. The law, though, prohibits swords and machetes in most bars, schools, colleges, sporting events, polling places, race parks, correctional facilities, hospitals, amusement parks and places of worship.

Christmas and/or Fascism Megapost Forever and Ever Links – Part Two!

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(here’s part one)

* The story behind the Christmas Truce of 1914, simultaneously the most and least utopian thing that’s ever happened.

* Now that’s running it like a sandwich: College Can’t Prove It Taught 16,000 Online Students.

* Shockwave: A Syllabus for the End Times.

* Addressing the myths of academic job market.

* Arrival and the end of the academy.

* This was not called execution. It was called retirement.

* Colleges should invest in career services.

The Oakland Fire Tragedy and Higher Education.

* Inside the Bob Dylan Archive.

* Afrofuturism: The Next Generation.

* Rewriting Rogue One. And more.

* Rogue One: An Engineering Ethics Story. The Death Star and poor design.

* Rogue One: The Jacobin seal of approval.

* High praise: The Man in the High Castle season 2 is the worst TV show of the year.

* Buck Up, Democrats, and Fight Like Republicans. Team Bernie: Hillary ‘F*cking Ignored’ Us in Swing States. Building a Mass Socialist Party.

* Cabinet of Deplorables: Rex Tillerson. Rick Perry. An Intellectual History. Trump and the Late Deciders. Yes, Pence is preferable to Trump. The supermanagerial reich. The Age of Anger. Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it. What do you do when your reporter is personally attacked by the President of the United States? Twitter, Trump’s Ring of Power. This is fine.

* tfw your research collapses and it’s too late to rewrite the book

Politics got weird because neoliberalism failed to deliver.

* Their fake news, and ours.

The trail of painkillers leads to West Virginia’s southern coalfields, to places like Kermit, population 392. There, out-of-state drug companies shipped nearly 9 million highly addictive — and potentially lethal — hydrocodone pills over two years to a single pharmacy in the Mingo County town.

* Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump.

A sense of ennui and overdetermination binds the audience of NPR podcasts together in a bloc of obnoxious explainerism.

* The End Is Always Near: The New Inquiry reviews Peter Frase’s Four Futures.

* The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

What Was James Comey Thinking? James Comey never should have been FBI director in the first place.

* Horrors in Aleppo. What Is Aleppo?

* The Business of Institutionalization.

* Michigan search for welfare fraud has a mere 93% failure rate.

* Cover Letter to the Search Committee from My Shadow Self. Eight Excuses I Have Told My Son to Use for His Failure to Hand in English Homework, Excuses I Have Learned Are Acceptable During a Thirty-Year Career in Journalism, Books, and Film.

* Climate change, meet your apocalyptic twin: oceans poisoned by plastic. Real-time interactive map shows the pollution engulfing Earth. The Greater New York City Region Must Plan for “Permanent Flooding.”

* Google and the death of knowledge.

* There’s no safe space for kids anywhere: 368 gymnasts allege sexual exploitation.

* Hey, let’s all fight about Shakespeare again.

Living with Exploding Head Syndrome: This is what it feels like to hear gunshots in your mind.

* United Nations to Wonder Woman: Drop Dead.

We Want To See All the Scifi Movies on the 2016 Black List.

* Sold in the room: New Star Trek Comic Imagines a World Where the Romulans Made First Contact With Earth.

* Norm Macdonald: A Raw and Uncensored Interview.

* Anne Frank may not have been betrayed to Nazis, study finds: Raid that led to her arrest could have been part of investigation into illegal labor or falsified ration coupons.

* Talk to your kids about quantum mechanics — before someone else does.

* By the numbers: the technosphere now weights 30 trillion tons.

The CIA Is Celebrating Its Cartography Division’s 75th Anniversary by Sharing Declassified Maps.

Mr. Thompson confronted the officer in command of the rampaging platoon, Lt. William L. Calley, but was rebuffed. He then positioned the helicopter between the troops and the surviving villagers and faced off against another lieutenant. Mr. Thompson ordered Mr. Colburn to fire his M-60 machine gun at any soldiers who tried to inflict further harm. RIP.

My Life With the Thrill-Clit Cult.

* Billy Joel is really leaving money on the table.

* And dystopian film is never going to be able to keep up with the present.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links!

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The Paradox of New Buildings on Campus: Even as long-neglected maintenance threatens to further escalate the price of higher education, universities continue to borrow and spend record amounts on new buildings.

The “terminal” sabbatical eases the aging academic into “retirement,” the meat grinder admins use to nourish new administrators.

Visual Proof That America’s Weather Has Gone Completely Insane.

* Our friend Nina Riggs writes of her family’s history of cancer.

* The New York Times reviews Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Game Theory Is Really Counterintuitive. And from Cracked: 20 Paradoxes Most Human Minds Can’t Wrap Themselves Around.

* Jessa “Bookslut” Crispin has a book! Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto.

Just in time for another convention, Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.”

* It’s not enough to just turn over your lunch money; you have to enjoy it.

A final response to the “Tell me why Trump is a fascist”.

* Weird science: MIT Experiment Proves Quantum Mechanics Still in Effect at Over 400-Miles.

* Twilight of the VCR. A nation remembers.

* Disability in Abramsverse Star Trek.

* UnREAL probably is going to be bad from here on out.

* Trying to understand the data on desistance in transgender kids.

* What I’ve Learned From Having A Trans Partner.

* Brain metaphors in the Age of Trump: Is Your Nervous System a Democracy or a Dictatorship?

* Elsewhere on science corner: What high heels say about the massive gap between the rich and the poor. Ancient Campfires May Have Unleashed Humanity’s Top Bacterial Killer. Proton Gradients and the Origin of Life. This map shows how many people are getting high near you. Watch language evolve as little sims wander around a grid of islands. Personality Change May Be Early Sign of Dementia, Experts Say.

* #TheWisdomofMarkets: Nintendo shares plummet after investors realize it doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go.

* Details emerge about the new Nintendo system that I will almost certainly be buying my child sight unseen.

* Interesting details about the accident that hurt Harrison Ford on the set of The Force Awakens.

* Your policy, not mine: Pokémon Go players urged not to venture into Fukushima disaster zone.

* “You are surprisingly likely to have a living doppelgänger.”

* “Mysterious green slimy foam emerges from Utah sewer.”

* And I suppose you do have to admire it.

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Spriiiiiiiing Breaaaaaaaaak! Links

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* Don’t miss the CFP for my upcoming Paradoxa special issue on “Global Weirding”!

* Of course you haven’t read Canavan until you’ve read him in the original French.

Black Study, Black Struggle.

* Today in the end of our lives’ work. Delaware State cuts more than a quarter of its majors. But don’t worry, we’ve finally got the solution.

Chairing a humanities department at the end of the world.

* Trying to put a number on adjunct justice.

* In the chit-chat of the checkup, as I lay back in the chair with the suction tube in my mouth, he asked: “What are you majoring in at college?” When I replied that I was majoring in philosophy, he said: “What are you going to do with that?” “Think,” I replied.

* Course evaluation forms ‘not read properly by students’: Undergraduates endorsed patently false statements in US experiment.

* Can a Marxist Read Tolkien?

Cli-Fi Comes to YA.

* I think you’ll find every possible jaundiced, post-academic riff on this story has already been made: French woman aged 91 gets PhD after 30 years.

* Cuomo bares fangs at CUNY.

A new United Nations report on racism as a human rights issue speaks to challenges people are facing right here in Milwaukee.

* All about the SF sensation of SXSW, Dead Slow Ahead. And more!

* Great moments in unenforceable contracts.

* Ten Years after the Duke Lacrosse Scandal. A prison interview with the accuser.

* A previously unnoticed property of prime numbers seems to violate a longstanding assumption about how they behave.

Reminder: NCAA Amateurism Is a Corrupt Sham, We Are All Complicit. March Madness means money – it’s time to talk about who’s getting paid. And here’s how to gamble on it.

* The trouble with people who lived in the past.

Inside the Protest That Stopped the Trump Rally.

* How to steal a nomination from Donald Trump. The Pre-Convention. There is no point in even having a party apparatus, no point in all those chairmen and state conventions and delegate rosters, if they cannot be mobilized to prevent 35 percent of the Republican primary electorate from imposing a Trump nomination on the party. I can’t be contrarian about Donald Trump anymore: he’s terrifying.

* Inside a Trump rally.

Meet the Academics Who Want Donald Trump to Be President.

* I do agree that presidential term limits make little sense, though my solution would be to abolish the office entirely.

The oldest man in the world survived Auschwitz.

* What if Daylight Saving Time never ended?

* Twilight of the Metro.

* Twilight of Sea World.

* Teach the controversy: Richard Simmons May or May Not Be Currently Held Hostage by His Maid.

As temperatures soar, new doubts arise about holding warming to 2 degrees C.

* The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go. Game Two. Game Three. Game Five. But we got one!

How The TV Show of Octavia Butler’s Dawn Will Stay True to Her Incredible Vision.

Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism.

* Take your Baby-Sitters’ Club cosplay / fanfic blog to the next level.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 8.55.03 PM* Photoshopping men out of political photos.

* Scenes from Iconic Films Hastily Rewritten So They Pass the Bechdel Test.

* Another ultimate TedX talk.

Identical twins Bridgette and Paula Powers think of themselves as a single person.

Paul Nungesser has lost his Title IX lawsuit against Columbia.

* The Really Last Crusade.

* Chris Claremont visits Jay and Miles X-plain the X-Men.

* Despair fatigue.

* Paging Lt. Barclay: Science proves the transporter is a suicide box.

The Untold Tragedy of Camden, NJ.

* At least he denied it!

J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America Was a Travesty From Start to Finish.

Scientists discover ‘genderfluid’ lioness who looks, acts and roars like a male.

* Always a good sign: Star Trek Beyond Is Reshooting and Adding an Entirely New Cast Member. Meanwhile: Paramount lawyers call Star Trek fan film’s bluff in nerdiest lawsuit ever.

* Jacobin reviews Michael’s Moore Where to Invade Next. Jacob Brogan reviews Daniel Clowes’s Patience.

* From our family to yours, happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Bonobos Just Want Everyone to Get Along.

* And because you demanded it: What if James Bond Was a Chimpanzee?

Written by gerrycanavan

March 17, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Good Morning, It’s the Weekend

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3055253-inline-batmansoundsa-z* Teach the controversy: are students cuddly little bunnies to be drowned, or shot with Glocks? This story is actually worse than even the original reporting indicated.

I’ve argued here before (I think) that probably the greatest thing for-profit colleges could do to scrub the designation “for-profit” of its negative connotation is to win a few sportsball championships. That’s how traditional not-for-profit colleges did it. There was a time when the idea of a residential college for wealthy young men was considered very strange (and also very effeminate). College sports “butched” up college and it also gave the millions who would never in a million years qualify for admission a fictive relationship with a system that is, by design, unequal. Sportsball and For-Profit Legitimacy.

The Grand Jury in the Tamir Rice Case May Not Have Taken a Vote on Charges.

* Salary cuts, layoffs at ISIS. Meanwhile, incredible if true accusations from the FBI against a Kent State professor.

* Planet Nine.

* David Bowie and the Anthropocene.

Making a Murderer’s creators have finally responded to criticisms of missing evidence.

A French Communist Utopia in Texas.

* Jesuit adjunctivitis.

* Saying “no” at Oberlin.

* Medieval robots.

* Liberalism and eugenics.

Swedish TV Accidentally Runs Kids’ Show Subtitles On A Political Debate.

The Big Search to Find Out Where Dogs Come From.

* Coates v. Sanders. Killer Mike vs. Coates. Guthrie v. Trump (Sr.). Meanwhile: Democrats in disarray!

Bloomberg wants to save everyone from Trump. But a lot of people don’t know who he is.

* Four tendencies in liberalism.

How One Man Tried to Write Women Out of CRISPR, the Biggest Biotech Innovation in Decades.

* Counterpoint: Harley Quinn is an insanely flawed character almost impossible to reconcile with feminist norms.

Forget Schrödinger’s Cat: The Latest Quantum Puzzle Is About Three Pigeons in Two Holes.

Alexander Litvinenko: the man who solved his own murder.

Chess forbidden in Islam, rules Saudi mufti, but issue not black and white. This part of the history of games I always find fascinating.

* It’s called anthroponuclear multiple worlds theory, and it’s basically my actual cosmology.

* The singular “they” is your word of the year. A chronology of early nonbinary pronouns. A little more. Bring back he’er, him’er, his’er.

* When DoD paid Duke U $335K to investigate ESP in dogs. But more research is required.

* Virtual reality porn, the god that failed.

* Concept art for Episode 8 (not really). At least it might help tide you over.

* What if not having a beard is nonhygenic? Checkmate.

Plastic to outweigh fish in oceans by 2050, study warns. Meanwhile, the same headline they run every January, just with all the numbers incremented by one.

* Twilight of De Niro. AND BEYOND.

* The end of parking.

* Sold in the room: Orphan Black Writer Making Time-Travel Movie For Netflix.

* A Brief History of Jumbo.

* Good luck, East Coast!

And it’s possible that there is a “mirror universe” where time moves backwards, say scientists. Of course the poets always knew.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 22, 2016 at 8:30 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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What Day Is It? Links

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* Jaimee’s book was reviewed in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last week. We spent the weekend in DC for her book launch and reading at the Folger, which was amazing. She just absolutely killed it. Buy her book! And come to her reading in Milwaukee next week…

Part of the issue is an image problem around the impact of humanities research on the wider world. The public should know about Priscilla Wald, an English professor at Duke University, whose explanation of the “outbreak narrative” of contagion is changing the way scientists think about the spread of infectious diseases. Yeah they should! Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored.

* “The Time Traveller,” a story in tweets by Alberto Chimal.

* “Nuclear War” Turns 50: A Fun Game about Human Extinction.

Slave labor either physically built the modern American university or was the wealth vehicle that conditioned its making.

* Professorial anger, then and now. A bit more here.

Every NYT Higher-Ed Thinkpiece Ever Written. How to write an essay about teaching that will not be published in the NYTChronicle, IHE, or anywhere else.

* Bousquet against alt-ac.

* The semipublic intellectual.

* What happens when you fiddle with just one knob on the infernal machine: rich people get richer.

* Billionaires and superstorms.

* Nice work if you can get it.

* Meanwhile.

Are Public Universities Going to Disappear?

* The care work of the (mostly female) academic: “I estimate that someone cries in my office at least once every three weeks.”

* Playboy‘s science fiction.

* An incredibly rare Tolkien-annotated map of Middle-Earth was just discovered in a used bookstore.

* Highly irregular: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be considered the eighth book in the Harry Potter series.

In a final speech to the synod, Pope Francis endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President of the United States, while taking some clear swipes at conservatives who hold up church doctrine above all else, and use it to cast judgment on others.

What Happens if a Former CEO Actually Goes to Prison?

Cop Attacks High School Student In Her Classroom.

The Hoverboard Scene In Back To The Future 2 Nearly Killed A Stuntwoman. Amazing story.

* Look, I’m not made of stone.

* A Google Tour Through The Underground: How to Read a Russian Novel Set in the Moscow Metro.

* NLRB Returns to Grad Student Unions.

* Bring on the climate trials: ICN has demonstrated that as early as the late 1970s, Exxon scientists were briefing top executives that climate change was real, dangerous, and caused by their product. By the early 1980s, their own climate models were predicting—with great accuracy—the track the global temperature has taken ever since. Meanwhile.

* David Mitchell on A Wizard of Earthsea.

* College sports: still the worst.

A statue of Vladimir Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Odessa has been given a sci-fi twist – by being transformed into Darth Vader.

* Portugal has apparently smartly baked the potential for coups in its official constitutional order.

Emolument took data from both the US and UK and found that while science grads get a bit of a headstart straight out of university in terms of pay, in later life it’s people with humanities degrees who tend to get bigger pay cheques.

* How to Make a Virtuoso Violinist: One mother’s devastating study of 100 musical prodigies.

A DEA Agent Who Helped Take Down Silk Road Is Going to Prison for Unbelievable Corruption.

The Ecological Uncanny: On the “Southern Reach” Trilogy.

* Boondoggle watch: The City of Milwaukee has been awarded a $14.2 million federal grant for construction of a spur connecting the streetcar with the lakefront.

* “Many Colleges’ New Emergency Plan: Try to Account for Every Possibility.” Well, that’ll work.

Should a Cal State Fullerton math professor be forced to have his students use $180 textbook, written by his boss? Why is Cal State letting the math department chair require his own book?

The Man Behind the Dragon Tattoo: Former Internationalen editor Håkan Blomqvist on the socialist politics of his colleague Stieg Larsson.

“They didn’t hire me, they hired me minus 35 pounds,” Fisher recently quipped.

* The arc of history is long, but Subway will finally pay for calling an eleven-inch sandwich a “footlong.” Next up: they shouldn’t be allowed to call that bread.

* Miracles and wonders: Landmark Huntington’s trial starts.

* Star Wars but with philosophers.

* “Blood alcohol concentration predicts utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas.”

* Sesame Street will introduce an autistic muppet.

* I hate it when Yglesias is right, but sometimes he’s right: Democrats are in denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble. Down-ballot the Obama years have been a complete disaster in ways no one in the party seems ready or able to face.

Wesleyan University’s student assembly is considering substantial cuts to the student newspaper’s budget, in a move that is surely *completely unrelated* to a truly stupid recent uproar when the paper published an unpopular op-ed. The paper is soliciting donations to stay alive.

* My brilliant colleague C.J. Hribal on his old house.

* The secret linguistic life of girls.

* Talkin’ Trash with Brian Thill and Pinar Yoldas.

Police “disappeared” more than 7,000 people at an off-the-books interrogation warehouse in Chicago, nearly twice as many detentions as previously disclosed, the Guardian can now reveal.

* A literary history of whales.

The Deadly Legacy of HIV Truthers.

Things Men In Literature Have Died From.

Exploring ‘Cartozia Tales,’ The Crowdfunded Fantasy Anthology for Readers of All Ages.

* Nabokov v. Kafka on drawing the monster.

* “Gentlemen, I just don’t belong here”: throwing shade the Le Guin way.

* Guys, we are definitely living inside a simulation. And possibly just a few years away from either crashing it or figuring out how to hack it.

* And teach the controversy: Luke Skywalker, Sith Lord. I really think this is just an effective viral marketing ploy, but I’ll concede I’m starting to have my doubts.

1280px-Matham_Jacob_-_Der_am_3._Februar_1598_bei_Katwijk_gestrandete_Potwal_-_1598-1240x857

Written by gerrycanavan

October 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Wednesday Links! Seriously a Lot!

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Like C.P. Snow’s two cultures of the humanities and the sciences, a new bimodal view of higher education is becoming increasingly important at the start of the twenty-first century: one that sees the goal of universities as developing “the whole person” and another that sees it as largely or even exclusively in terms of job training. The Two Cultures of Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century and Their Impact on Academic Freedom.

* Academic search season watch: How To Tailor a Job Letter (Without Flattering, Pandering, or Begging).

* Episode 21 of Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men (with Kurt Busiek) is a great look at how Marvel’s sausage is made. Give it a listen if you’re a fan of the comics…

* Communism for Children.

* Time for the Libya mea culpas.

* TNI Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism.

* Tainted by its misogyny and embrace of consumption as a way of life, gamer culture isn’t worth saving.

What Happened To Jennifer Lawrence Was Sexual Assault.

* The Police Tool That Pervs Use to Steal Nude Pics From Apple’s iCloud.

* Steve Shaviro: Twenty-Two Theses on Nature.

* Even the Department of Education thinks their rating system will be a mess.

* How the University Drinks.

* Yale’s tax exempt New Haven property worth $2.5 billion.

Thirty-two teens escaped from a Nashville youth detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence late Monday, and nine of them were still on the run Tuesday, a spokesman said.

* Change Of Habit: How Seattle Cops Fought An Addiction To Locking Up Drug Users.

* Three Myths About Police Body Cams.

* Jeff Mizanskey Is Serving Life in Prison for Marijuana.

Scientists Find ‘Alarming’ Amount Of Arsenic In Groundwater Near Texas Fracking Sites.

* Can journalistic ethics include nonhuman perspectives?

* Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female.

All The Game Of Thrones Fan Theories You Absolutely Need To Know.

* NIH finally makes good with Henrietta Lacks’ family.

Twenty Days of Harassment and Racism as an American Apparel Employee.

Durham Public Schools dumps Teach for America.

* The Four-Year-Old’s Workday.

Texas School Won’t Let Native American Attend His First Day Of Kindergarten Because Of His Long Hair.

* Rape culture and Title IX at the University of Kansas.

“Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better — perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background — we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke.”

Students at the Barricades.

* Twitter has an algorithm that assigns gender to its users.

* Why top tech CEOs want employees with liberal arts degrees.

* In Virginia, thousands of day-care providers receive no oversight. After a child’s death, parents grapple with second guesses.

Unlike most other states, Wisconsin does not recognize prisoners’ good behavior with credits toward accelerated release.  Wisconsin had such a “good time” program for well over a century, but eliminated it as part of the policy changes in the 1980s and 1990s that collectively left the state unusually — perhaps even uniquely — inflexible in its terms of imprisonment. Why No “Good Time” in Wisconsin?

* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Meet The Guy Who Spent Seven Months Killing Everyone In Fallout 3.

* When Disney forbade Stan Lee’s original cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy. When they cut Hawkeye’s bit from Captain America 2.

* Rule of law watch: The Dumb Line In New York’s Constitution That Could Elect A Governor Most Of The State Doesn’t Want.

* For the geeks: How Randall “xkcd” Munroe wrote What If?

* Time Travel Simulation Resolves “Grandfather Paradox.” Bah! We need to go back in time and prevent this simulation from ever being devised!

* The arc of history is long, but: HBO has commissioned some sort of new Flight Of The Conchords show.

The Most Compelling Athlete In America Right Now Is Here To Play Chess.

* And just because it’s gerrycanavan.wordpress.com: Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

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All the July 4th Links You Wanted — And More!

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* The Declaration of Independence has a typo; America is abolished. Happy Fourth of July.

* America at 238, by the numbers.

* Hobby Lobby as Pandora’s Box. The icing on the cake.

* Like the Founders intended, an investigation into Blackwater was squashed after a top manager threatened to murder a State department official. Checks and balances. The system works.

Remarks of Thurgood Marshall at the Annual Seminar of the San Francisco Patent and Trademark Law Association in Maui, Hawaii, May 6, 1987.

I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.

As a Canadian I rather like the idea of the American Revolution being aborted and our Yankee cousins staying within the Empire. Among other things it would have meant that slavery would have ended in America a generation earlier and without violence (the British outlawed the slave trade in 1807 and abolished slavery in 1834).

* Meanwhile, a great moment in American democracy.

* Great new web comic from Jason Shiga, whose Fleep and Meanwhile I’ve praised here before.

* Some Dawn of the Planet of the Apes prequels.

* A new China Miéville short story.

* Zoo Animals Are Depressed.

* Gynofuturism: Zoe Saldana says the best roles for women are in space.

* Here’s a List of What Junot Díaz Wants You to Read.

* Judy Clarke defends the indefensible.

* Maria Bamford’s new web series wants to put you in The Program.

* Philosophy Job Placement 2011-2014: Departments with Relatively High Placement Rates.

* “Neuroeconomics.”

* “The Princess Effect: How women’s magazines demean powerful women—even when they’re trying to celebrate them.”

Lionel Messi Is Impossible. More.

* How Belgium built one of the top contenders for the 2014 World Cup, and what the team means to this fractious nation. How Tourette’s-afflicted Tim Howard went from international ridicule to World Cup history. Really, All Hail Tim Howard. How Spain Succumbed to the Innovator’s Dilemma. Why the last group stage game is played simultaneously. Who Won the World Cup of Arm-Folding?

* Zwarte Piets were once openly characterized as Santa’s slaves. Man, Santa’s legacy is complicated.

Cop Keeps Job After Violently Shoving Paraplegic Man From Wheelchair. The search continues for something a cop can do that will actually cost them their job.

* At time of austerity, 8 universities spent top dollar on Hillary Rodham Clinton speeches.

* The European Court of Human Rights has upheld the basic human right we all know about to see other people’s faces in public.

* A radical reply to Hobby Lobby: Take Away the Entire Welfare State From Employers. And another: Hobby Lobby, Student Loans, and Sincere Belief.

* The rules underpinning Porky Pig’s stutter.

* Shirley Jackson reads “The Lottery.”

Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

* Lies Your Doctor Told You.

* Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of the country, thanks to tracking.

* Membership has its privileges: African leaders vote to give themselves immunity from war crimes.

* A Brief History of the Smithsonian.

* A People’s History of the Peeing Calvin Decal.

* In 1990 this nation faced a horrifying outbreak of Richard Nixon rap parodies. This is that story. (via @sarahkendzior)

Facebook Could Decide an Election Without Anyone Ever Finding Out.

* The arc of history is long &c: Oakland Raiders Will Pay Cheerleaders Minimum Wage This Season.

* American Gods is alive! It’s on Starz, but it’s alive!

* “Exclamation points have played a distinguished role in the history of Marxism.” Why We’re Marxists.

* SMBC on fire: If God is omniscient and omnipotent, how could he let this happen? Telepathy machines were created. Check Your Bat-Privilege. I’m the superfluous female protagonist.

* Scenes from the next Paolo Bacigalupi novel: An abandoned mall in Bangkok has been overtaken by fish.

* The UNC fake-classes scandal has gotten so outrageous even the NCAA has been forced to pay attention.

* Should “free college” be framed as a right or a privilege?

When two good guys with guns confront one another.

* The Hard Data on UFO Sightings: It’s Mostly Drunk People in the West.

* Let’s colonize ourselves by 3D printing ourselves on other planets.

* Catfish and American Loneliness.

* The Hooded Utilitarian has been running an Octavia Butler Roundtable.

* Another Pixar conspiracy theory: the truth about Andy’s Dad.

* All about the miraculous Community revival. And more. Yay!

* Introducing the Critical Inquiry Review of Books.

* And some more good news! Bear rescued after head gets stuck in cookie jar. Happy Fourth of July!

Written by gerrycanavan

July 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Saturday Night Links

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* Breaking: Right-wing Supreme Court Justices don’t take their jobs seriously. Supreme Court May Be Most Conservative in Modern History. Antonin Scalia, semi-retired crank.

* Jonathan Cohn, Scott Lemieux, and Richard Hansen and ponder the legitimacy of a Supreme Court that has actually gone the full monty and overturned the ACA.

* Of course they say the same thing about us. Judge Strikes Down Key Parts Of Walker’s Anti-Public Employee Union Law.

* Don’t check the date, just believe it: Google Maps QuestView for the NES.

* This collection of more-accurate Dr. Seuss titles is one of my favorite things on the entire Internet.

* James Cameron teases the Avatar sequels.

“The best inspiration I got for ‘Avatar’ 2 and 3 was dealing with the master navigator culture in Micronesia,” Cameron said by phone from Tokyo on Friday, where he attended the Japanese premiere of “Titanic 3D.”

The Micronesians, a seafaring culture who navigated the Pacific for centuries without the aid of compasses or charts, already have a lot in common with the blue Na’vi residents of Pandora — they’re an indigenous, matrilineal culture, colonized by outsiders. And the cerulean and aquamarine tones of “Avatar” and its inhabitants seem drawn from postcards from the watery Micronesian region.

* The New York Times has some fun with towards a quantum theory of Mitt Romney.

* 21st Century as Intergenerational War. More here and here.

* Why are colleges acting as volunteer loan collection agents for the banks?

In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.

* The lottery lie: The educational “bonus” appears to be nonexistent. Miller and Pierce (1997) studied the short- and long-term effect of education lotteries. They found that lottery states did indeed increase per-capita spending on education during the lottery’s early years. However, after some time these states actually decreased their overall spending on education. In contrast, states without lotteries increased education spending over time. In fact, nonlottery states spend, on average, 10 percent more of their budgets on education than lottery states (Gearey 1997).

* The education reform lie: it’s impossible to talk about primary and secondary education in America in any meaningful way if you won’t allow yourself to discuss class.

* Hunger Games commentary watch: Understanding Katniss.

If you and your board are now determined to show that you in fact have wisdom and maturity when you exercise your powers over the eduction of your young, then you should acknowledge that it was a rotten lesson you taught young people in a free society when you denounced and then burned books–books you hadn’t even read. You should also resolve to expose your children to all sorts of opinions and information, in order that they will be better equipped to make decisions and to survive. Yours sincerely, Kurt Vonnegut.

* Too Smart to Fail: Notes on an Age of Folly.

But the problem goes far beyond politics. We have become a society that can’t self-correct, that can’t address its obvious problems, that can’t pull out of its nosedive. And so to our list of disasters let us add this fourth entry: we have entered an age of folly that—for all our Facebooking and the twittling tweedle-dee-tweets of the twitterati—we can’t wake up from.

* Slate continues to pioneer bold new horizons in fantasy capitalism.

* 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide. No one could have predicted the widespread implementation of insecticides would kill so many insects!

The government has put the chances of a magnitude 7.3 quake centered in the north of Tokyo Bay at 70 percent over the next three decades, and has estimated there would be about 11,000 casualties and 850,000 buildings destroyed.

* Cancer research: it’s worse than you think.

* “Military surplus a bonanza for law enforcement.”

* Orwell and March Madness.

* And Canada will stop issuing pennies. Honestly, they’re decades ahead of us. Could be centuries.

Behold, the Mother of All Saturday Linkdumps!

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* Polish President Lech Kaczynski has apparently been killed in a plane crash in western Russia, alongside much of the leadership of the country. Updates at MeFi.

* Yesterday Stevens made it official. The timeline. A shortlist. The politics of shortlists. An offbeat shortlist. How about Cory Booker? Why Obama shouldn’t shy away from a confirmation fight. Why Glenn Greenwald is lukewarm on frontrunner Elena Kagan. Why the GOP may use the SCOTUS hearings as another excuse to freak out about health care. Or maybe just another excuse to flip out period. Still more at MeFi.

* Totally independent of anything anyone anywhere has said or done, threats against members of Congress have increased threefold in recent months. It’s a funny coincidence that means absolutely nothing.

* George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

* Everything old is new again: Gingrich says Republicans will shut down the government if they take over.

* Tony Judt on crisis, neoliberalism, greed, the end of history, and the need for a new New Left.

For thirty years students have been complaining to me that “it was easy for you”: your generation had ideals and ideas, you believed in something, you were able to change things. “We” (the children of the Eighties, the Nineties, the “Aughts”) have nothing. In many respects my students are right. It was easy for us—just as it was easy, at least in this sense, for the generations who came before us. The last time a cohort of young people expressed comparable frustration at the emptiness of their lives and the dispiriting purposelessness of their world was in the 1920s: it is not by chance that historians speak of a “lost generation.”

If young people today are at a loss, it is not for want of targets. Any conversation with students or schoolchildren will produce a startling checklist of anxieties. Indeed, the rising generation is acutely worried about the world it is to inherit. But accompanying these fears there is a general sentiment of frustration: “we” know something is wrong and there are many things we don’t like. But what can we believe in? What should we do?

* Full with polls: The IRS is more popular than the tea partiers.

* “Kind of a Glenn Beck approach”: On male studies. More at Salon.

* Another great segment from the Daily Show about blatant Fox News dishonesty, this one on the lies they’re telling about the START treaty. But the quote of the day on this comes from who else but Michele Bachmann, who calls for the U.S. to commit to nuclear retaliation in the event of a devastating cyber attack.

* Matt Yglesias on Treme‘s battle between realism and sentimentality.

* Comic book cartography. Their link to the principles of Kirbytech from my friends at Satisfactory Comics is pretty great too.

* Could our universe be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe? I’m surprised there’s even debate about something that is so trivially true.

Negative Twenty Questions, John Wheeler’s analogy for quantum mechanics.

* Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. Welcome to the elderly age.

* Multicellular life found that can live entirely without oxygen.

* xkcd’s version of hell is now fully playable.

* Chris Christie working overtime to destroy public universities in New Jersey.

Outsourcing TAs?

* In Washington, D.C., you’re not a rape victim unless police say so. Via Feministe.

* HIV-positive Michigan man to be tried as bioweapon.

* Are we still waiting for the other shoe to drop on Greece?

* The Texas miracle? Wind power in an oil state.

* Two from Krugman: Building a Green Economy and Al Gore Derangement Syndrome.

* Somewhat related: Tim Morton on hyperobjects.

Hyperobjects are phenomena such as radioactive materials and global warming. Hyperobjects stretch our ideas of time and space, since they far outlast most human time scales, or they’re massively distributed in terrestrial space and so are unavailable to immediate experience. In this sense, hyperobjects are like those tubes of toothpaste that say they contain 10% extra: there’s more to hyperobjects than ordinary objects.

* The Illinois Poison Control Center has a blog. MetaFilter has highlights.

* And Gizmodo has your periodic table of imaginary elements.

Must Be Tuesday

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A little busy today, but here are a few links I’ve saved up.

* Watchmen link of the day: The Fate of Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis. Via the comments at the Candleblog review.

* Grant Morrison on the superhero genre.

I’m not even sure if there is a superhero genre or if the idea of the superhero is a special chilli pepper-like ingredient designed to energize other genres. The costumed superhero has survived since 1938, constantly shifting in tone from decade to decade to reflect the fears and the needs of the audience. The current mainstream popularity of the superhero has, I think, a lot to do with the fact that the Terror-stricken, environmentally-handicapped, overpopulated, paedophile-haunted world that’s being peddled by our news media is crying out for utopian role models and for any hopeful images of humankind’s future potential!

* Don’t Look Back—a flash game based on the Orpheus myth.

* Top 10 myths about sustainability.

* Bad news for solipsists: the universe exists independently of our observation. Via Kottke.

* Also from Kottke: famous directors take on famous comedy bits. A little amateurish, but it made me smile.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Realism and Quantum Mechanics

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Seed has a long article on recent experiments in quantum mechanics that seem to disprove realism, at least on the quantum level:

Leggett doesn’t believe quantum mechanics is correct, and there are few places for a person of such disbelief to now turn. But Leggett decided to find out what believing in quantum mechanics might require. He worked out what would happen if one took the idea of nonlocality in quantum mechanics seriously, by allowing for just about any possible outside influences on a detector set to register polarizations of light. Any unknown event might change what is measured. The only assumption Leggett made was that a natural form of realism hold true; photons should have measurable polarizations that exist before they are measured. With this he laboriously derived a new set of hidden variables theorems and inequalities as Bell once had. But whereas Bell’s work could not distinguish between realism and locality, Leggett’s did. The two could be tested.

When Aspelmeyer returned to Vienna, he grabbed the nearest theorist he could find, Tomasz Paterek, whom everyone calls “Tomek.” Tomek was at the IQOQI on fellowship from his native Poland and together, they enlisted Simon Gröblacher, Aspelmeyer’s student. With Leggett’s assistance, the three spent six months painfully checking his calculations. They even found a small error. Then they set about recasting the idea, with a few of the other resident theorists, into a form they could test. When they were done, they went to visit Anton Zeilinger. The experiment wouldn’t be too difficult, but understanding it would. It took them months to reach their tentative conclusion: If quantum mechanics described the data, then the lights’ polarizations didn’t exist before being measured. Realism in quantum mechanics would be untenable.

This is a very good, really thought-provoking article on a subject that fascinates me but which I simply do not have the training to properly understand. Whenever I read about quantum mechanics I feel as though I can almost, but not quite, grasp it.

Especially thought-provoking is this:

Last year Brukner and his student Johannes Kofler decided to figure out why we do not perceive the quantum phenomena around us. If quantum mechanics holds universally for atoms, why do we not see directly its effects in bulk?

Most physicists believe that quantum effects get washed out when there are a large number of particles around. The particles are in constant interaction and their environment serves to “decohere” the quantum world—eliminate superpositions—to create the classical one we observe. Quantum mechanics has within it its own demise, and the process is too rapid to ever see. Zeilinger’s group, which has tested decoherence, does not believe there is a fundamental limit on the size of an object to observe superposition. Superpositions should exist even for objects we see, similar to the infamous example of Schrödinger’s cat. In fact, Gröblacher now spends his nights testing larger-scale quantum mechanics in which a small mirror is humanely substituted for a cat.

Brukner and Kofler had a simple idea. They wanted to find out what would happen if they assumed that a reality similar to the one we experience is true–every large object has only one value for each measurable property that does not change. In other words, you know your couch is blue, and you don’t expect to be able to alter it just by looking. This form of realism, “macrorealism,” was first posited by Leggett in the 1980s.

Late last year Brukner and Kofler showed that it does not matter how many particles are around, or how large an object is, quantum mechanics always holds true. The reason we see our world as we do is because of what we use to observe it. The human body is a just barely adequate measuring device. Quantum mechanics does not always wash itself out, but to observe its effects for larger and larger objects we would need more and more accurate measurement devices. We just do not have the sensitivity to observe the quantum effects around us. In essence we do create the classical world we perceive, and as Brukner said, “There could be other classical worlds completely different from ours.”

Written by gerrycanavan

June 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Could quantum mechanics be wrong?

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Could quantum mechanics be wrong?

Written by gerrycanavan

May 17, 2008 at 4:22 am

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