Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Quentin Tarantino

In a Dark Time, The Blog Begins to Linkpost

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* My chances have never been better.

* One of the highlights of my trip to ICFA this year was my exposure to some truly bonkers viral digital horror texts, like Doki Doki Literature Club! and Normal Porn for Normal People.

Grooming Style: A conversation on how the Alt Lit scene’s documentation of sexual violence became a style of supposed sincerity. Infinite Jest isn’t mentioned but the critique seems potentially valid here as well.

How Chinese novelists are reimagining science fiction. How Imagination Will Save Our Cities. When Science Fiction Comes True. Stacey Abrams, Star Trek Nerd, Is Traveling at Warp Speed.

* Climate Fiction: A Special Issue of Guernica.

* Sci-fi literature university seeks degree granting authority.

* Terrific video essay from Dan Golding on Hollywood franchises, nostalgia, and climate change. I’ve already been using it in presentations!

* The Pattern Podcast, from the masters of the OEB Legacy Network, Ayana Jamieson and Moya Bailey.

In two new books, 45 AI experts grapple with a field on the verge of something big, and possibly scary.

Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox.

* Fantasy’s Widow: The Fight Over The Legacy Of Dungeons & Dragons.

* U.S. Army Assures Public That Robot Tank System Adheres to AI Murder Policy. Phew, that’s a relief.

* Why Self-Checkout Is and Has Always Been the Worst. Robot Workers Can’t Go on Strike But They Can Go Up in Flames.

* Twilight of the elites, college admissions edition. The College Admissions Ring Tells Us How Much Schoolwork Is Worth.

* How UT-Austin’s Innovation Boondoggle Went Belly Up.

* Seemingly deeply flawed study suggests trigger warnings have little effect.

* A bigger scandal at colleges — underpaid professors.

* Colleges gave their students’ work to TurnItIn and now it’s worth $1.75B. Why a Plagiarism-Detection Company Is Now a Billion-Dollar Business.

* Academic freedom clearly protects stealing student research and defrauding the university of millions.

* I can’t wait to explore all the exciting exceptions to this free-speech proclamation.

* The costs of academic publishing are absurd. The University of California is fighting back.

A new white paper suggests that the Tolstoy rule may not apply when it comes to at-risk small colleges: they’re all basically unhappy in the same way.

* Talk to your families about the academic job market, or they’ll just find out about it on the street.

The group described training exercises in which “four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles — resulting in injuries.”

The “terrified” teachers, ISTA added, were then instructed to not tell their colleagues what was in store for them. “Teachers waiting outside that heard the screaming were brought into the room four at a time and the shooting process was repeated.” We rehearse the coming trauma because we cannot stop it.

* Tonight, an appeal panel at Vanderbilt University found “no irregularities” in the reversal of #MeTooSTEM founder BethAnn McLaughlin’s tenure recommendations.

Rutgers faculty members authorize union to call a strike.

‘Change Is Closer Than We Think.’ Inside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Unlikely Rise.

* Let 16-year-olds vote.

* On Star Trek: Voyager and Trumpism.

The neo-Nazi plot against America is much bigger than we realize. There’s No Such Thing as Nationalism Without Ethnic Cleansing. The Making of the Fox News White House. It’s time — high time — to take Fox News’s destructive role in America seriously. 78% of GOP Fox News Viewers Say Trump Is Best President Ever. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes.

* How a black man says he ‘outsmarted’ a neo-Nazi group and became their new leader.

Why Donald Trump could win again, by Dave Eggers. I’ve gathered that some people don’t like this piece for various reasons but if you don’t think Donald Trump is a very strong threat for reelection I think you are very wrong. He has a floor of 40% and seems utterly immune to negative press, plus a ton of Republicans who sat it out or got squeamish will come home. He “looks like a president” now, and will be completely unprincipled in abusing his position. It’s not a gimme. How Trump is on track for a 2020 landslide. Or, if you prefer: Republicans resigned to Trump losing 2020 popular vote but confident about Electoral College.

* Not to mention that Democrats managed to completely break their own nomination process and no one seems to care.

* Meanwhile, he gets to poison all our water.

* In this, the best of all possible countries, in this, the best of all possible worlds.

* Among NYC Students, 1 In 8 Is Homeless Before 5th Grade: Study.

Leaked Documents Show the U.S. Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates Through a Secret Database. 4 women fined, sentenced to probation for leaving water for migrants crossing US-Mexico border. 12 detained babies have been released from ICE custody in Dilley, Texas. Immigrant Miscarriages in ICE Detention Have Nearly Doubled Under Trump. ICE Is Detaining 50,000 People, an All-Time High.Young US Citizen Detained at Border Gave ‘Inconsistent Info,’ CBP Says. US government uses several clandestine shelters to detain immigrant children. Supreme Court rules, 5-4, you can hold an immigrant indefinitely for jaywalking.

* The demobilization of the resistance is a dangerous mistake. If Trump is a national emergency, it’s time for Democrats to act like it. The Cowardice of the Cover-Your-Ass Memo. Understanding Ilhan Omar. The Obama Boys.

* Activists will never design good strategy on the basis of bad history. The reality is that the Good Sixties civil rights movement was most successful when it operated with a de facto diversity of tactics. Francis Fox Piven has noted that civil rights progress only really occurred when self-defense against white incursions escalated into black aggression against the symbols and agents of white domination—notably the white police, merchants, and landlords. 

* Activism and the Catholic tradition.

* Nihilist in chief: On Mitch McConnell.

* How to Hide an Empire.

Children of the Industrocene. Students share motivations ahead of Youth Climate Strike. The Hip New Teen Trend Is Leading the Climate Movement to Save the World. Climate Change Is This Generation’s Vietnam War. Study shows IPCC is underselling climate change. The Climate Change Paper So Depressing It’s Sending People to Therapy. The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change. Sharp rise in Arctic temperatures now inevitable. Non-survivable humid heatwaves for over 500 million people. It’s raining on Greenland’s ice sheet. That’s a big problem. Scientists aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer watch a 25-mile-wide section of ice crumble into the sea. The Arctic’s ticking ‘carbon bomb’ could blow up the Paris Agreement. Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature.’ The Other Kind of Climate Denial. Climate Change Is Here—and It Looks Like Starvation. California’s Wildfires Burn Through America’s Climate Illusions. Nebraska floods have broken records in 17 places across the state. A Light Installation in a Scottish Coastal Town Vividly Shows Future Sea Level Rise. Coastal Flooding Is Erasing Billions in Property Value as Sea Level Rises. That’s Bad News for Cities. Climate change scientists look to Māori and other indigenous people for answers. Indigenous knowledge has been warning us about climate change for centuries. Rethink Activism in the Face of Catastrophic Biological Collapse. Here’s How Much Climate Change Could Cost the U.S. Bill To Keep Coal Plants Open Nears Finish Line.

Far-Right Climate Denial Is Scary. Far-Right Climate Acceptance Might Be Scarier.

* The WWF’s secret war: The World Wide Fund for Nature funds vicious paramilitary forces to fight poaching.

* The End of Recycling.

* Chimpanzees Are Going Through a Tragic Loss: By fragmenting forests and killing off individuals, humans are stopping the flow of ideas among our closest relatives.

What We Owe a Rabbit.

We Know How to Cut Child Poverty in Half. Will We Do It? Oh, honey.

* Against Garrett Hardin.

* Nice work if you can get it.

Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Weed.

* The rich are different! Massive study finds strong correlation between “early affluence” and “faster cognitive drop” in old age.

* Only 7 Black Students Got Into Stuyvesant, N.Y.’s Most Selective High School, Out of 895 Spots.

* Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner. The video traveled far, but it wouldn’t get justice for his dead friend. Instead, the NYPD would exact their revenge through targeted harassment and eventually imprisonment — Orta’s punishment for daring to show the world police brutality.

Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit.

* Roughly 60 years after the abolition of slavery, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston made an incredible connection: She located the last surviving captive of the last slave ship to bring Africans to the United States.

* Understanding privilege: a thread.

In 1998, I helped convict two men of murder. I’ve regretted it ever since.

* On Disability and on Facebook? Uncle Sam Wants to Watch What You Post.

* A new study finds a potential risk with self-driving cars: failure to detect dark-skinned pedestrians.

* A room of one’s own white colleagues.

* The Max-8 chronicles: The world pulls the Andon cord on the 737 Max. Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras. Pilot Who Hitched a Ride Saved Lion Air 737 Day Before Deadly Crash. Essentially, this plane could try to crash itself because of a single faulty sensor. Aviation Experts Have Predicted Automation Will Lead to Disasters Like the Boeing Max Crashes for 15 Years.

US citizens will need to register to visit parts of Europe starting in 2021.

* How The Very Hungry Caterpillar Became a Classic.

* Suicide contagion and the MPAA.

* More from the Michael Jackson revision beat: Is Pedophilia a Crime or an Illness?

* Netflix’s Bright Future Looks A Lot Like Television’s Dim Past.

As a professional television critic, I am living there already. Netflix is now effectively my whole field of coverage. It’s increasingly difficult for me to place coverage of non-Netflix shows; all but the biggest “event” shows on other networks are passed over for regular reviews, and those on rival streaming services are afterthoughts at best. This is true even of Amazon Prime, the TV and film branch of the mind-bogglingly lucrative corporation after which New York Governor Amazon Cuomo was named. (Don’t feel too bad for Amazon, though: “Netflix Delivers Billions of Content Globally by Running on Amazon Web Services.”)

If you write about television the way I mostly do, which is through reviews—recaps, if you insist—of individual episodes, even Netflix is difficult to write about. Netflix’s own business model ensures this. Weekly shotgun blasts of full seasons of half a dozen different shows are just how it operates, but it makes deciding what will hit and how and when to cover it absolutely maddening for every TV editor I’ve talked to. By design, Netflix shows are consumed in one or two sittings, within 72 hours of their small-hours Friday release. They are to be discussed intensely on Monday and Tuesday, and then swept aside by the next torrent of programming to come down the Netflix Original Sluice by the end of the week.

Meet the bald Norwegians and other unknowns who actually create the songs that top the charts.

White Settlers Buried the Truth About the Midwest’s Mysterious Mound Cities.

* Marvel corner! Who’s the Baddie? Captain Marvel in the Age of American Empire. You’re blowing my mind, dude. Like so many characters in the MCU, Fury’s coolness only makes sense if you limit your perspective. And the arc of history is long, but.

As a result, the movie poses questions it can’t answer. When we see her show up in the present — played by the same actor who is the same age — do we ask what Captain Marvel has been doing for the last twenty-four years? What she has done and learned? How she has grown and changed? If she approves of Nick Fury’s “Avengers Initiative,” and of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Did she watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier where an American super-soldier with the name “Captain” discovered that the good guys had been secretly infiltrated by the bad guys since the beginning? There are obvious and inescapable political allegories here, but what is her position on the two-state solution, the right of return, and does she have any thoughts on Ilhan Omar? Who, precisely, are the Skrulls and the Kree meant to be?

If these are ridiculous questions, it’s because this is a Marvel movie, whose episodes always gesture at resolutions that the big team-up movies will cannibalize. Thor: Ragnarak ended with the population of Asgard become a rootless diaspora searching for a new home — an extremely resonant image — but when Avengers: Infinity War began, five minutes later, Thanos had already killed half of them, offscreen, and the MCU seemed to have completely lost interest in that story, as comprehensively as it does when Black Panther’s triumphantly concluding Afrocentrism becomes Infinity War’s “sure, we’ll sacrifice Wakanda, why not.” The ending of Captain Marvel gives us the same feeling of closure — she has stopped being a soldier who kills civilians and become the kind of soldier who saves them — but the MCU’s narrative engine will never sustain this transition; the real amnesia of this franchise is how single-character episodes discover things about their protagonists that have to be forgotten.

* What happens once Uber and Lyft kill off public transit.

The product sheet is clear: Any claim against a dysfunctional nuclear event detector must be made within 90 days.

Hundreds of motel guests were secretly filmed and live-streamed online.

* Well, when you’re right, you’re right: “If someone is the enemy, it’s okay to kill endless numbers of them,” he continued. “Lord of the Rings is like that. If it’s the enemy, there’s killing without separation between civilians and soldiers. That falls within collateral damage. How many people are being killed in attacks in Afghanistan? The Lord of the Ringsis a movie that has no problem doing that [not separating civilians from enemies, apparently]. If you read the original work, you’ll understand, but in reality, the ones who were being killed are Asians and Africans. Those who don’t know that, yet say they love fantasy are idiots.” Hayao Miyazaki Seems To Hate Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones And Hollywood Movies.

* Counterpoint: I love playing pretend with my kids and the knowledge that someday they won’t want to do it anymore breaks my soul.

* Toxic parenting myths make life harder for people with autism. That must change.

The real “Momo Challenge” is the terror of parenting in the age of YouTube. Here’s the truth of what we know.

* Gut-wrenching story about parents using Nebraska’s short-lived safe-haven law to institutionalize their children.

* When r/DaystromInstitute just nails it.

* What we call a win-win: People in states where marijuana is legal are eating more cookies and ice cream.

* Automated reception kiosks are a security dumpster fire.

* Here are the data brokers quietly buying and selling your personal information.

Amazon and YouTube Are Making Money From the Dangerous QAnon Conspiracy Theory.

Wisconsin’s nightmare roads cost drivers $6.8 billion each year, study says.

* An oral history of the greatest episode in television comedy history.

* Duke’s gonna Duke.

J.K. Rowling was always this terrible.

* Lolita, My Love, the Musical Too Dark to Live.

* Minnesota couple Michael and Jack McConnell are now thought to be the longest-married, same-sex couple in the U.S.

* Finally, a job worth applying for.

Could Walmart Be a Model for a Socialist Future?

* Singularity watch: Harvard University uncovers DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration.

* H.I.V. Is Reported Cured in a Second Patient, a Milestone in the Global AIDS Epidemic.

Scientists Say They Can Recreate Living Dinosaurs Within the Next 5 Years. Can’t see any harm there.

* Even catching up on lost sleep is bad for you!

* On the value of education. On heartbreak. On friendship. On the value of never clicking.

* Just in time for my fall class: Netflix has acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will adapt it into a series.

* The Suffering Game (for 3+ players).

* Race, Asia, and Dungeons and Dragons.

* And Lord, make me outgrow Quentin Tarantino, but not yet.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Night Links!

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Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Star Trek’ Will Be R-Rated: ‘The Revenant’s Mark L. Smith Frontrunner Scribe. Patrick Stewart would play Picard again, but only for Tarantino. Still pretty firmly on board.

* Pretty strong contender for the moment the Singularity happened: an AI teaches itself chess in four hours and beats the strongest human-designed AI that exists, which itself can beat any human. AI is now so complex its creators can’t trust why it makes decisions.

It is significant that it is women of colour, a doubly marginalised group, who are at the forefront of finding new ways to figure uneven development during this, our time, of successive systemic crises. Imbalances between cores and (internal and external) peripheries appear in the novels of Nalo Hopkinson and Nnedi Okorafor that also brought Caribbean, Yoruba, and Igbo folk culture into the core of genre sf at the same time as working to explode it. More recently, N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth novels (2015-2017) feature a fantasy world repeatedly wracked by cataclysmic geological upheavals that can easily be read as a metaphor for anthropogenic climate change. But as their coded commentary on #BlackLivesMatter, hardened borders, and refugee-panics indicate, these profound shocks are also those to which capitalist cores expose their internal and external peripheries. From world sf (via, if we must, World Sf) to world-sf.

* The short story phenomenon that’s sweeping the world: Men React to “Cat Person.” Based on the original short story by 

* Dragon debris.

* When an algorithm writes science fiction.

André 3000 lands big role in sci-fi film, ‘High Life’ — about convicts sent on a mission to a black hole, penned by Zadie Smith.

* One of my graduate students, Brian Kenna, has a terrific review of the new Tolkien publication Beren and Lúthien in the Los Angeles Review of Books, focusing both on Tolkien and gender as well as the weird inaccessibility of Christopher Tolkien’s editorial decisions. Check it out!

Every English major joke is a small concession to the same logic that leads administrators to trim humanities programs, or leads lawmakers to strike the NEA and NEH from the budget as wasteful, though these offices claim at best fractions of fractions of our larger national expenses. Humorless Man Yells at English Major Jokes. Facing My Own Extinction.

* How to Teach a Cyborg.

* Stony Brook Professor Detained in Cameroon.

8 Grad Students Are Arrested Protesting the GOP Tax Bill on Capitol Hill. College and the End of Upward Mobility. How Harvard’s Hypocrisy Could Hurt Your Union. Private Colleges Had 58 Millionaire Presidents in 2015. Charles Koch Gave $50 Million To Higher Ed In 2016. What Did He Buy?

* In the richest country in human history. How Big Medicine Can Ruin Medicare for All. Girl has blunt message for Aetna after her brain surgery request was denied.

Drug trial shows promising results to fight Huntington’s disease. This is a very promising finding: whether or not this particular treatment becomes “the cure” or not, the fact that you can shut off huntingtin production without negatively impacting the adult brain suggests some version of this treatment could diminish or entirely prevent the emergence of the disease. “I really think this is, potentially, the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative disease in the past 50 years.”

* Here’s what happens when noble, determined people win — and find themselves in an unwinnable situation.

After Trent Franks, men worry if asking subordinates to bear their child is still okay. For Female Lobbyists, Harassment Often Accompanies Access. Al Franken’s selfish, damaging resignation speech. Time POTY more or less gets it right for once. The Unsexy Truth about Harassment. Weinstein as Crime Boss. As More College Students Say “Me Too,” Accused Men Are Suing For Defamation. Dirty Old Men on the Faculty. Over two thousand entries on a Google doc detailing sexual harassment in the academy. Our Professors Raped Us.

“You can have my vote if you have sex with me,” Ms. Alarid recalled the lawmaker saying, although he used cruder language for sexual intercourse. He told Ms. Alarid she had the same first name as his wife, so he would not get confused if he called out in bed. Then he kissed Ms. Alarid on the lips, she said.

Shocked, Ms. Alarid, who was 32 at the time, pushed him away. Only after he was gone did she let the tears flow.

When her bill came up on the floor of the New Mexico House of Representatives the next day, March 20, 2009, it failed by a single vote, including a “No” by the lawmaker, Representative Thomas A. Garcia.

As Ms. Alarid watched from the House gallery, she said, Mr. Garcia blew her a kiss and shrugged his shoulders with arms spread.

Official Toll in Puerto Rico: 64. Actual Deaths May Be 1,052. Just one story of thousands: Lives at Risk Inside a Senior Complex in Puerto Rico With No Power.

‘Holy crap’: Experts find tax plan riddled with glitches. The Republican tax bill: four takeaways. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lets corporations loose to do what they will—and then imposes pain to make the numbers work. And inevitably.

The first wintertime megafire in California history is here. California’s wildfires are not “natural” — humans made them worse at every step. Incarcerated women risk their lives fighting California fires. It’s part of a long history of prison labor. California Is Running Out of Inmates to Fight Its Fires.

* The ‘poisoned landscapes’ we leave behind. As the climate changes and seas swell, coastal colleges struggle to prepare. Fracking Is a Huge American Money Pit.

Don’t blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media.

* thisisfine.jpg

* “Here are the keys, Don, gas is in the tank.”

Pilots stop 222 asylum seekers being deported from Germany by refusing to fly. Deportation under Trump.

Millennials now biggest voting group in U.S., 2-1 Democratic.

Dem lawmaker calls for extra protections to ‘safeguard’ Senate pages if Moore is elected. That’s MILWAUKEE’S OWN Dem lawmaker Gwen Moore.

* “Lest I be misinterpreted, I emphatically affirm that education confers some marketable skills, namely literacy and numeracy.” Don’t give an inch, brother!

How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult.

* “‘Ambiance and atmosphere models’ contractually obligated to pretend they’re party guests are in record demand from local agencies.”

*An exclusive analysis of data from the 50 largest local police departments in the United States shows that police shoot Americans more than twice as often as previously known.

Bodycam footage of the incident, released after the verdict, showed Mr Shaver on his knees asking officers not to shoot him just before he was killed.

Subsequently, The Intercept, working with the ACLU of Texas, obtained several DPS dashcam videos that show immigrants being detained on the road for trivial violations and then carted away by the Border Patrol.

Mark Hamill Made Up an Absurdly Grim Backstory for Luke Skywalker Ahead of The Last Jedi. The “True Nature of the Force” is More Complicated Than You Think. I made the “the Force is the villain” prediction way back in 2015, too, and still think some version of it is going to land. Star Wars vs. the Nazis. The First Impressions for Star Wars: The Last Jedi Are Overwhelmingly GoodAnd the only review I needed from the only voice I trust.

An extremely petty breakdown of everything dumb in the Jurassic World 2 trailer.

The Hollywood Drama Around Annihilation Shows Why We Can’t Have Smart Things.

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met.

* Very 2017 Headlines: Why are America’s farmers killing themselves in record numbers?

* Modern politics.

* LEGO politics.

* No one makes a living on Patreon.

* Dial B for Blog is back! Again!

* Podcasts have truly arrived: they’re being turned into superhero movies.

* Tis the season: reference-writing guidelines for avoiding gender bias.

* The fascinating history of the first commercial jetliner.

A classified government document opens with “an odd sequence of events relating to parapsychology has occurred within the last month” and concluded with an alarming question about psychics nuking cities so that they became lost in time and space. If this sounds like a plot out of science fiction, it is – but it’s also a NSA memo from 1977.

A New Optical Illusion Was Just Discovered, And It’s Breaking Our Brains.

* A female translator reckons with The Odyssey.

* When a DNA test tells who your daddy isn’t.

* Stalk your friends the Wired way.

* From Zoey’s eyeballs to megabucks: This 6-year-old made $11 million on YouTube in one year.

* And Slaughterhouse-Five is coming to TV. Can’t wait to see what they cook up for season two…

Written by gerrycanavan

December 11, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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A Desperate Last-Ditch Mission to Close All My Tabs

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* My Hamilton seminar got some nice national press last week, in both print and video flavors. Check it out!

* Call for Papers: Worlding SF! I’m scheduled to give my first conference keynote at this one.

* Electric Athenaeum: Call for Submissions! Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene!

* BookScrolling’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Written by Women. A solid list! Octavia’s Daughters: Meet the New Queens of Spec Fic. Behold, the mega thread you created with over 200 recs of books by POCs.

* I’m confident this will be the most interesting Star Trek movie of all time, whether it’s the best or worst Star Trek movie of all time.

* Race and high fantasy.

The Revolutionary Optimism of Iain M. Banks’ Culture Novels. When Obama met Liu Cixin.

* Why You Left Social Media: A Guesswork.

* Still trying not to obsess over every twist and turn of the Trump administration, but this is truly something, even by Republican standards. Proposed rule would protect employers who steal workers’ hard-earned tips. The tax cut that ate America. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lets corporations loose to do what they will—and then imposes pain to make the numbers work. ‘Death to Democrats’: How the GOP Tax Bill Whacks Liberal Tenets. 15,000 people a year. Oops. Not even CHIP can survive these people. FBI Pretty On-Brand. The rot goes all the way down. Gaming out the risk of nuclear war with North Korea. Opening the floodgates. The case for normalizing impeachment.

The Uncounted: Jobs and Graduates. I think colleges have ignored just how much goodwill has been burned up by the rise in college costs. Graduate Students Mobilize ‘to Stop Something That Can Ruin Us.’ Universities are also to blame for the GOP’s ‘grad student tax.’ The fire next time. The case for federal universities. Student debt: something has to give. The odd case of Hillsdale College. Meanwhile, in Nebraska, a chilling vision of things to come.

* Isn’t this just a pitch for S.P.E.C.T.R.E?

Moody’s Warns Cities to Address Climate Risks or Face Downgrades. The Texas Town That’s Been Without Clean Water for Thirty Years.

* More than 20,000 Children Have Been Homeless Since Hurricane Harvey. We don’t talk at all about Puerto Rico anymore.

* O’Keefe, again.

* How did we survive the Cold War?

When we think about the environmental conditions under which young Americans are developing, a lack of trust makes sense as a survival adaptation. A market that doles out success on an increasingly individual basis is not a strong foundation for high levels of social interdependence. With all youth activities centered on the production of human capital, even team sports become sole pursuits. Add this to the intensive risk aversion that characterizes contemporary parenting and the zero-tolerance risk-elimination policies that dominate the schools and the streets, and it’s a wonder Millennials can muster enough trust to walk outside their own doors. 

These Doomsday Preppers Are Starting to Switch From Gold to Bitcoin. The longer BTC persists, the worse the eventual blowout—and the more angry people there are going to be. Angry people who are currently being recruited and radicalized by neo-Nazis. Bitcoin Mining Now Consuming More Electricity Than 159 Countries Including Ireland & Most Countries In Africa.

* No thanks. Hard pass.

* Domestic terror: ICE tracks down immigrant who spoke to media in SW Washington: ‘You are the one from the newspaper.’

* Escalating in Afghanistan, again, without even the pretense of a strategic goal.

* Zoning laws and resistance. It’s too late for Robert Mueller to save us. All of our institutions will abet, not arrest, this disaster.

* How the Republicans broke Congress. Trump and the failure of incrementalism.

* Daniel Shaver begged officers not to shoot him. What role will his death play in the push for law-enforcement reforms?

* At this, the girl adopted a stern expression. “You’re not supposed to play!” she said, commandingly. She seemed pleased that the game afforded her an opportunity to reprimand her teacher—a chance to express a different facet of her imagination. “You are not supposed to play in preschool,” she said, with conviction. “You are supposed to work.” The girl had absorbed both the explicit and the implicit lessons of the schoolroom in which she spent her days. So far, it seemed, her education was a success. Against Success Academy.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated, an Associated Press analysis finds — an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools.

To the extent that Jackie was aware that what she told Sabrina Erdely was not true, it was destructive and wrong, cruel and stupid. If she really was not in command of reality, that would mitigate her culpability, but it wouldn’t change the nature of what she did. It was violence. And to me, it was a betrayalor that’s what it felt like. I knew it was irrational to feel that way, but that’s how I felt. I want to condemn it, and I do condemn it, but I also think I can guess what she was saying, or would have said, which can’t be said reasonably. It must be said melodramatically. Something like: Look at this. Don’t you fucking dare not look. I’m going to make you look. I’m going to make you know. You’re going to know what we’ve decided is worth sacrificing, what price we’ve decided we’re willing to pay to maintain this league of men, and this time, you’re going to remember.

A Timeline of Everything We Know Happened After Return of the Jedi, Up to The Last Jedi.

American Airlines Glitch Could Strand Thousands Of Holiday Flights. Good on the pilots for signing up before anyone told management.

* What’s on the ground in The Jetsons?

* Facebook is studying your self-censorship.

* Solidarity to our brothers in arms.

* And on the pedestal these words appear:

Tuesday Morning Links!

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A Nearby Earth-Size Planet May Have Conditions for Life. Launch the S.S. Donald Trump for a Space Race Victory!

When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work.

* A spectre is haunting grad students.

* Why are we still doing alumni interviews? They’re so transparently bad that I’d forgotten they even existed, and I did some! Among other things they seem like such an obvious discrimination and harassment vector legal counsel would have shut them down years ago.

* For several years Durazo’s union has advocated for housekeepers to be given handheld, wireless panic buttons that can alert hotel security when a worker feels threatened ― a sign of how dire it views the problem of sexual predation in the hotel industry. After working to negotiate the use of panic buttons in their employer contracts, the union is now lobbying city councils to mandate them through legislation so that all workers have access to them, union and non-union alike.

* The university in ruins, English department edition.

This Is Just How Badly Scott Walker Has Decimated Public Schools in Wisconsin.

“Schools are segregated because white people want them that way.”

* “No one can prevent Trump from using nuclear weapons, experts say.”

How Politics and Bad Decisions Starved New York’s Subways.

* Set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969, Tarantino’s upcoming movie, according to a source who read the script, focuses on a male TV actor who’s had one hit series and his looking for a way to get into the film business. His sidekick—who’s also his stunt double—is looking for the same thing. The horrific murder of Sharon Tate and four of her friends by Charles Manson’s cult of followers serves as a backdrop to the main story.

Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin.

* We Have Come to a Bad Moment, and We Must Change: An Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson. And some bonus KSR content: a podcast!

* The end of net neutrality, again, and this time for real.

Little Man, Little Man is the only children’s book by acclaimed writer James Baldwin. Published in 1976 by Dial Press, the book quickly went out of print. Now, at a time when Baldwin is more popular than ever, and readers, librarians, and booksellers are clamoring for more diverse children’s books, Duke University Press is proud to bring the book back into print. It will be available in August 2018.

It’s wild that The Simpsons is the longest running comedy of all time and also basically Amos and Andy.

* Making the film versions of every kid in America’s childhood should be a license to print money. And yet.

* For the love of God, someone please complete this crossword puzzle!

Make Nepotism Great Again: 20 Families Got Jobs in Trump Administration.

* Al Franken should have resigned last week like I said. He should resign today.

* How Congress hides its sexual harassment settlements.

* Normal country doing normal country things.

* Meet One of New York’s Best Professional Dungeon Masters.

In a remote region of Antarctica known as Pine Island Bay, 2,500 miles from the tip of South America, two glaciers hold human civilization hostage.

* Black Mirror literally did this one.

* Abolish the Bushes.

* And just for fun: The coming coup.

Tuesday Links!

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* I should have realized the Nevada Medicaid for All bill was just a ratfuck. Let my guard down.

On television, in journals, in the halls of Congress, none of the old methods by which American liberals enforced their claim to superior expertise are working anymore. For all their “resistance,” the greatest impediment to Donald Trump remains his own stupidity. Despite every evil and crime of his administration, the most ambitious Democratic victory on the horizon is making Mike Pence president. Our liberals are right: none of this is normal. This isn’t how it used to be. Everywhere, our best and brightest blink. Are they still in the desert? Is all this an hallucination, a bad dream? The Blathering Superego at the End of History.

New Study Shows What Really Happened in the 2016 Election.

* Wisconsin and climate denial. As water quality worries grow, Wisconsin plots strategy on phosphorus.

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Potentially Monumental Political Gerrymandering Case.

GOP Data Firm Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million American Voters. The RNC Files: Inside the Largest US Voter Data Leak.

* Constitutional crisis may be Trump’s only hope.

The DCEU has a problem — everybody likes Wonder Woman.

* itshappening.gif: Yes, The Dark Tower Movie Is a Sequel to the Books.

* thisisfine.jpg: It’s so hot in Phoenix, they can’t fly planes.

* The Official Reason for Star Trek: Discovery’s Many Delays Is ‘World Building Is Hard’.

* 8°C.

* Sad.

* A brief history of Zzyzx.

* An Oral History of Quentin Tarantino as Told to Me by Men I’ve Dated.

* Zadie Smith reviews Get Out.

The Cars universe continues to suggest the existence of a Car Hitler.

* And some personal news: I’m a Republican now.

New Fall Syllabus #1: Alternate History!

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I’m teaching three classes this semester, ENGLISH 4615/5615 (“Infinite Jest”), ENGLISH 2010 (“Alternate History”), and HOPR 1953 (“Video Game Culture”) (one-credit, pass/fail, now with Pokémon Go!). I’m very excited about all three. The Infinite Jest course is one I’ve wanted to do for a very long time — I came up with the whole idea of adding the new 4615/5615 course number to the Marquette English just so I could do this course — and the alternate-history course has been puttering around in my brain as a pedagogical opportunity for just about as long.

I got a lot of help from folks on Twitter and Facebook with the alternate history novel course, both at the level of generating texts but also at the level of conceptualizing the course a little different so it could be more inclusive, and I’m really grateful for that. I was finally sold by Alexis Lothian on the idea that I was being silly by being resistant to stories like The Lathe of Heaven and “The Book of Martha,” for instance, and that the practical effect of that resistance was to make the class much whiter and much maler than it really needed to be. Now, the course is still pretty white and very male, but the genre itself is, and somehow or another that’s something I want to start to talk about as the semester progresses. The excellent suggestion of Karen Joy Fowler’s story “Game Night at the Fox and Goose” will really help me make that pivot, I think, as will In the United States of Africa (a great novel I couldn’t believe I forgot to include until it was pointed out to me I’d forgotten to include it, I think by Aaron Bady).

A few other things I was very sad to lose:

  • I was originally going to do “an alternate history of an alternate history” thing to end the semester, Superman: Red Son, but it just didn’t make sense the way the course took shape. I held on to the idea way too long, and only cut the book two days ago. Sorry, bookstore!
  • The whole original point of all this was to use the course as an excuse to teach The Years of Rice and Salt, a book I love which seems just too long too teach in any other context. And it still seems too long to teach (at least at the sophomore level). I had to give it up, and wasn’t able to include even any excerpts because I crammed in too much other stuff. Someday!
  • Another thing that fell out of the course was a group presentation structure in which individual groups researched the actual history of the hinge point of each divergence and reported on it. I realized that with the newer, more expansive idea of the course this wasn’t going to work very well for at least half the books, and probably would have been reductive and overdetermined our conversations in practice, so it had to be abandoned as well.
  • I really, really wanted to include a Ted Chiang what-if-religion-were-empirically-verifiable story like “Hell Is The Absence of God,” but, again, it seemed just a bit far too off the mark this time.
  • I am, indeed, doing literally just one page from The Plot Against America, fulfilling my perverse desire to do so.
  • There were many other great suggestions for books that I wasn’t able to use. A few that I really struggled over:
    • Life After Life: a Replay-style reincarnation novel about World War I;
    • Replay itself, which is just too time-travel-ish for this (though I’ve always really liked it);
    • I likewise ruled out some other really good alternate-timeline stories because they were really time travel stories, from my puritanical perspective;
    • Something longer from Butler, perhaps Wild Seed (again, just too far afield generically for what I’m hoping to do);
    • Something truly (“merely”) generic, like Turtledove or Bring the Jubilee;
    • Lion’s Blood, Atomik Aztex, The Indians Won, The Bird Is Gone, The Heirs of Columbus, etc. I was so hung up on the idea of doing The Years of Rice and Salt that it crowded out this space for me (and then I added In the United States of Africa instead, to take on this question from a different direction). Next time.
    • Swastika Night, 1984, Handmaid’s Tale, Battle Royale: all good suggestions but didn’t hit the sense of “pastness” required by my conception of alternate history as a genre, as they were all future histories in their original moment of production;
    • District 9: only (re-)occurred to me at the last second because I was talking about it to somebody in another context, and didn’t have time to do it because the syllabus was (again) too crammed with too much other stuff. Someone had suggested Born in Flames to me as well, which also would have been great.
    • I also really wanted to play some board games like Twilight Struggle, Risk, Axis and Allies, and Chrononauts, but it seemed like it would be unwieldy and pointless with 35 students in the room. I think Civilization could scratch the same itch, though…

All right, with all those caveats, apologies, and thanks, here’s the week by week schedule (and full syllabus with all course procedures)! Three papers, the first two “traditionally scholarly,” the third one with a creative option, as well as a few creative micro-assignments here and there. If there’s anything more I should explain or you have any questions about the decisions I made, feel free to ask in the comments!

M Aug. 29 FIRST DAY OF CLASS

in-class writing exercise: “What If…”

W Aug. 31 class discussion: “What If…”
UNIT ONE: ALTERNATE WORLD WAR IIs
F Sep. 2 Kim Stanley Robinson, “The Lucky Strike”
M Sep. 5 LABOR DAY—NO CLASS
W Sep. 7 Kim Stanley Robinson, “A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions”
F Sep. 9 FIRST PAPER GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED

Star Trek: “The City on the Edge of Forever” (discussion only; watch it on your own!)

criticism: H. Bruce Franklin, “Star Trek in the Vietnam Era” [D2L]

M Sep. 12 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 1-3
W Sep. 14 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 4-6
F Sep. 16 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 7-9
M Sep. 19 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, chapters 10-13
W Sep. 21 Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (whole book)
F Sep. 23 The Man in the High Castle (2015 Amazon pilot) (discussion only; watch it on your own!)
M Sep. 26 Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds (discussion only; optional screening date and time TBA)
W Sep. 28 Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds (discussion continues)

·      review: Ben Waters, “Debating Inglourious Basterds” [Web]

·      review: Michael Atkinson, “The Anti-Blockbuster” [Web]

·      review: Lee Siegel, “Tarantino’s Hollow Violence” [Web]

·      review: Jeffrey Goldberg, “Hollywood’s Jewish Avenger” [Web]

F Sep. 30 Lauren Davis, “Quentin Tarantino’s Spin Through Alternate History” [io9.com]

 

creative writing: Draft a short flash fiction [500-1000 words] or create an artifact, document, or image set in the 2016 of the world of Inglourious Basterds

 

Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (excerpt) [D2L]

UNIT TWO: OTHER HISTORIES
M Oct. 3 FIRST PAPER WORKSHOP

Bring in at least your introductory paragraphs, main claim, and an outline of your paper.

W Oct. 5 Sid Meier’s Civilization

videos: Civilization V timelapse gameplay videos [YouTube]

post: Trevor Owens, “Sid Meier’s Colonization: Is It Offensive Enough?” [Web]

thread: Lycerius, “I’ve Been Playing the Same Game of Civilization for Almost Ten Years. This Is the Result” [Reddit]

F Oct. 7 Sid Meier’s Civilization

criticism: Kacper Pobłocki, “Becoming-State: The Bio-Cultural Imperialism of Sid Meier’s Civilization”

 
M Oct. 10 FIRST PAPER DUE

SECOND PAPER GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED

Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” [D2L]

W Oct. 12 Karen Joy Fowler, “Game Night at the Fox and Goose” [D2L]
F Oct. 14 criticism: L. Timmel Duchamp, “Playing with the Big Boys: (Alternate) History in Karen Joy Fowler’s ‘Game Night at the Fox and Goose’” [Web]
M Oct. 17 Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
W Oct. 19 Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

thinkpiece: Jennifer Schuessler, “Hamilton and History: Are They in Sync?” [Web]

interview: Rebecca Onion and Lyra D. Monteiro, “A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn’t As Revolutionary As It Seems” [Web]

F Oct. 21 FALL BREAK—NO CLASS
M Oct. 24 Terry Bisson, Fire on the Mountain, pgs. 1-66
W Oct. 26 Terry Bisson, Fire on the Mountain, pgs. 67-119
F Oct. 28 Terry Bisson, Fire on the Mountain (whole book)
M Oct. 31 Abdourahman A. Waberi, In the United States of Africa (part one)
W Nov. 2 Abdourahman A. Waberi, In the United States of Africa (whole book)

criticism: Justin Izzo, “Historical Reversibility as Ethnographic Afrofuturism: Abdourahman Waberi’s Alternative Africa”

F Nov. 4 CONFERENCES—CLASS CANCELLED
UNIT THREE: DREAMING OF DIFFERENCE
M Nov. 7 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 1-4)
W Nov. 9 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 5-6)
F Nov. 11 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 7-9)
M Nov. 14 SECOND PAPER DUE

FINAL PROJECT GUIDELINES DISTRIBUTED

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 10-13)

W Nov. 16 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 14-16)
F Nov. 18 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (chapters 17-19)
M Nov. 21 Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (whole book)

Martin Puchner, “When We Were Clones” [D2L]

W Nov. 23 THANKSGIVING BREAK—NO CLASS
F Nov. 25 THANKSGIVING BREAK—NO CLASS
M Nov. 28 Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (chapters 1-4)
W Nov. 30 Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (chapters 5-8)
F Dec. 2 Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (whole book)
M Dec. 5 Octavia E. Butler, “The Book of Martha”

creative writing: Imagine God comes to you with the same offer he/she/it brings to Martha. What one change would you make to the world, and why?

W Dec. 7 Octavia E. Butler, “The Book of Martha” (discussion continues)

creative writing: Draft a flash fiction [500-1000 words] or create an artifact, document, or image set in the world that exists sometime after the end of “The Book of Martha.”

 

Octavia E. Butler, “Afterword to ‘The Book of Martha’”

Gerry Canavan, Octavia E. Butler (excerpt) [D2L]

F Dec. 9 FINAL PROJECT WORKSHOP

LAST DAY OF CLASS

F Dec. 16 FINAL ASSIGNMENT DUE BY 12:30 PM
     

 

 

Thursday Links

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* America, I just want you to know there’s still time to stop this.

* Really got our number here: All Possible Humanities Dissertations, Considered as Single Tweets.

RT @gerrycanavan: This short text, seen rightly, reveals the contradictions of a whole culture.

Scholarly Associations Defend Tenure and Academic Freedom in Wisconsin.

* Now Cooper Union’s president is out, too.

Since starting to write this story about Champion, so many people have warned me away, expressed concern and shock, or (helpful but alarming) encouraged me to call the police if ever I felt threatened. I sort of knew what I was getting into when I began, and I believe I have as good an understanding now as I can have now that I’ve finished, but this fear is palpable. I know Champion will read this and I cannot imagine how it will feel for him. I would not want such a piece to be written about me, but I also hope never do to the kinds of things Champion has done. And I think that if I ever do them, I will deserve a story like this. Fascinating, frightening read.

* Unhappy career advice from the Chronicle: “You might not be ready for promotion.”

* UNC gets put on one-year probation for its recent student-athlete scandals. In other news, accreditation is a joke.

11-Year-Old Boy Played in His Yard. CPS Took Him, Felony Charge for Parents.

The Post-Ownership Society: How the “sharing economy” allows Millennials to cope with downward mobility, and also makes them poorer.

* History is a nightmare from which we are trying to wake George R.R. Martin.

This Artist Is Taking The Condemned Homes Of Detroit And Turning Them Into Gorgeous Fuddruckers Franchises.

* Clever girl: Reviewer From The Guardian Says Jurassic World Passes Bechdel Test Because of Female Dinosaurs. See also.

* Teach all girls self-defense.

* Bold new horizons in student debt moralism.

* The history of America, as seen through the Census.

* Twilight of “you guys.”

Quentin Tarantino is ‘retrofitting 50 theaters in the world’ with special projectors so they can show his new film properly.

* John Roberts, liberal hero?

* Being Kumail Nanjiani.

Doogie Howser, M.D. gets the gritty reboot you never knew it needed.

* Harriet Potter and the Very Dedicated Parent. There really should be an app for this.

* Male film critics are apparently unable to understand the explicit, surface text of Goodfellas.

* Alanis Morissette, before Jagged Little Pill.

* The arc of history is long, but.

* This is close, but I for one believe the hottest take is still out there.

* And I guess some people just see farther.

census_black_race_v3.0