Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Return of the Jedi

Tolkien, THE FORCE AWAKENS, and the Sadness of Expanded Universes

with 39 comments

(some spoilers near the end of the post, though I try to be vague)

Not long after completing The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien briefly began work on a sequel called The New Shadow, set 100 to 150 years later during the reign of Aragorn’s son Eldarion. (The main link between the two stories is the minor character Beregond, the noble but disgraced soldier of Gondor whose son, Borlas, would have been a major character in The New Shadow.) The New Shadow reveals that the eucatastrophic fairy-tale ending of The Return of the King was extremely short-lived; with the Elves and the Wizards gone from Middle-earth, the Dwarves moving underground, and the Hobbits now isolated in what amounts to an enclave in the Shire, Men are quickly falling back into their old bad habits. In fact the Men of Gondor already seem to have forgotten much of the details of the War of the Ring, even though it remains in living memory: they seem not to remember, or take seriously, the fact that they once strode with gods and angels in a war against pure evil, and were victorious. Instead, children play at being Orcs for fun; the death of Elessar has been an occasion for political striving and reactionary plots; and even something like a secret death cult of devil-worshipping rebels seems to be spreading through the elites of Gondor.

Tolkien wrote 13 pages of it.

He later wrote:

I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall, but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going around doing damage. I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow — but it would have been just that. Not worth doing.

Instead, Tolkien turned his attention back to the imaginative project that had more or less defined his life: The Silmarillion, begun between 1914 and 1917, which he tinkered with on and off until his death in 1973. The Silmarillion has always marked, I think, the grey line between being a casual Tolkien fan and becoming a Tolkien enthusiast — a path that then leads one even further into Christopher Tolkien’s twelve-volume History of Middle-Earth and the discovery of Tolkien’s own very elaborate (and somewhat fannish) self-commentary on his legendarium alongside many multiple alternate drafts of the narratives that form the barely glimpsed mythological background of The Lord of the Rings. 

The Silmarillion is nominally a prequel — ostensibly it is the Elvish legends that Bilbo translated and appended to the Red Book while he was retired in Rivendell — but the published version of the book includes a two-page summary of the War of the Ring that culminates in a brief, New-Shadow-style glimpse past Aragorn’s reign. We are reminded of the sapling of the White Tree that Aragorn and Gandalf find in the mountains near Gondor, which Aragorn plants in Minas Tirith as a symbol of his reign, and told that “while it still grew there the Elder Days were not wholly forgotten in the hearts of the Kings.” While it still grew there — which is to say, it doesn’t grow there anymore.

I don’t know that I would call this material “sinister,” but I taught The Silmarillion this semester after having tried and failed to read it as a child, and I think it would certainly be fair to call it “depressing.” What looks, in The Lord of the Rings, like a fairy-tale about how good and decent folk are able to do the impossible and defeat evil (with just a little bit of help from the divine, here and there) becomes in The Silmarillion and The New Shadow and Tolkien’s pseudo-theological commentary only the briefest, most temporary respite from a nightmare history in which things always turn out wrong, millennia after millennia after millennia. In fact Arda, the planet on which the continent of Middle-earth rests, is a cursed and fallen place, infused with evil and wickedness at its material core, and the only thing to do is raze the place and start over, as Eru Ilúvatar will at long last at the very end of time. To study Tolkien beyond Lord of the Rings is to come to a keen understanding of how tragic this history actually is, how Return of the King looks like a happy ending mostly because that’s where Tolkien (quite deliberately and self-consciously) decided to stop writing. But the Fourth Age was no better than the Third, and likely quite worse, and on and on through the degenerative millennia that bring us to the end of the Sixth Age and the beginning of the Seventh with the fall of the Third Reich and the development of the atom bomb.

I’ve been thinking about The New Shadow since it became clear that The Force Awakens would be borrowing from the Expanded Universe the notion that the Battle of Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi did not mark a full or permanent victory for the Rebel Alliance. The Force Awakens is The New Shadow, sinister and depressing, except they decided to go ahead and do it anyway. I joked in the link post earlier this morning that you can tell who read the EU novels and who didn’t based on whether your reaction to The Force Awakens is sadness — but the events of The Force Awakens, as sad as they are, are really only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how horribly Luke, Leia, and Han are punished in the EU novels, over and over, as everything they attempt to build turns to ash and the galaxy repeatedly falls into chaos, war, and catastrophe. In the farthest reaches of the EU universe, the Star Wars Legacy comics, set around 140 years or so after the Battle of Yavin, Luke’s descendent Cade Skywalker wanders a Galaxy that is again in war, as it always is, with a resurgent Empire again ruled by Sith masters — and when one casts oneself into the mists of time in the other direction (in material like the Knights of the Old Republic games, set thousands of years before A New Hope) one finds more or less the same basic story of genocidal total war playing out there too. Star Wars has always been, in the EU at least, a universe more or less without hope, that only looked hopeful to casual fans because they were looking too closely at just a very slender part of it.

This is why, while I can certainly understand the impulse to complain about The Force Awakens as derivative, I really think this is more repetition with a difference than mere or base or stupid repetition. One Death Star is a horror; two Death Stars and one Starkiller Base and whatever horrific murder innovation the First Order will come up with for Episode 9 is something more like the inexorable logic of history, grinding us all to dust. Likewise, it’s true that The Force Awakens hits many of the same story beats as the Original Trilogy, but almost always in ways that are worse: the death of Obi-Wan was sad but mysterious, suggestive of a world beyond death which the Jedi could access, while the death of The Force Awakens‘s version of Obi-Wan is not only brutally material but visceral, and permanent, as far as we have any reason to believe right now. The loss of Alderaan is sad, but the loss of what appears to be the entire institutional apparatus of the resurgent Republic is unthinkably devastating; aside from the loss of life it would take decades for the Galaxy to recover from such an event, even if they weren’t having to fight off the First Order while doing it. The film is extremely vague about the relationship between the Republic and “the Resistance,” but it appears to be a proxy guerrilla war against the First Order fought inside their own territory, secretly funded by the Republic — and prosecuted by Leia, Akbar, Nien Nunb, and all our heroes from the first movies, whose lives are now revealed as permanently deformed by a forever war they can never put down or escape. (If you want to ask me where Lando is, I think he said “good enough” after Endor and walked away, and that sort of makes me hope they never find him, never drag him back into it.) It’s horrible to lose a parent to addiction, or to mental illness, or to ordinary everyday cruelty, however you want to allegorize Vader’s betrayal of his children — but how much worse would it be to lose a child to it, how much worse would such a thing taint every aspect of your life and poison all your joy.

That Star Wars implies a world of sorrow belied by the spectacle of Jedi‘s happy ending isn’t a surprise to me — I told you, I read the EU books — but I can see why it’s a surprise to someone whose last memory of these people is smiles, a fireworks display, hugs, and a picnic. Return of the Jedi never asked us what we thought would happen when those people woke up the next morning and the Empire still had 90% of its guns, ships, territory, generals, and soldiers, ready to descend into vicious, scorched-earth fanaticism as they slid into defeat; it just wasn’t that kind of story. The Force Awakens is that kind of story, and I find that interesting enough to be excited about 8 and 9, to see where they try to take this story now that it turns out fairy-tales aren’t real and that deeply entrenched totalitarian systems don’t have exhaust ports, trench runs, or single points of failure. So I think the emerging critical consensus that The Force Awakens infantilizes its audience by re-presenting us with the same images we all saw as children is actually deeply wrong: The Force Awakens condemns Luke, Leia, and Han to actually live inside history, rather than transcend it, and it condemns us too.

Christmas Eve Eve Links

with 2 comments

* I was on On Point on NPR last week to talk about Star Wars. How to tell if someone read the EU novels. What We Talk About When We Talk about Star Wars. Medieval Star Wars. Smash the Force. Humorless Marxist Reviews: The Force Awakens. Starkiller Base: The Contractor Memos. Star Wars as Pastiche. “We now have something like proof that life for the average citizen in the Star Wars universe would have been better off if the rebellion had failed.” The Force Awakens as Jedi rewrite. Star Wars and the monomyth of Silicon Valley. George Lucas’s Secret Weapon. The only element that actually got me excited about what another galaxy might look and feel like was Rey’s instant bread. We Need to Make Room For This Gingerbread Darth Vader in the Smithsonian. This Lifesize BB-8 Cake Is Almost Too Beautiful To Eat. ‘Star Wars,’ if it were directed by Ken Burns. #WheresRey. An inversion of stakes so monstrous that it makes the film actually despicable. Please Stop Spreading This Nonsense that Rey From Star Wars Is a “Mary Sue.” Anyway, it did okay. And from the archives: “Hobbits in Space,” 1977.

* Another classic 1980s property gets a dark, gritty reboot.

* MLA Watch: 10 Years Gone But Change Goes On: Octavia E. Butler’s Public Legacy.

* A nine-month, non-tenure position teaching “What Is The Good Life?” to up to six hundred students. I’m not sure I know what the good life is but I think I can rule out at least one thing.

Here’s Why the SpaceX Rocket Landing Is Such a Big Deal.

What It’s Like to Be Noam Chomsky’s Assistant.

The case for determinism has two basic parts, material affordances and ideological construction (also called social construction).

In short, Orcs aren’t monsters. We are.

Better Management Through Belles Lettres.

* Pete Seeger’s FBI File.

Simon Pegg ‘Didn’t Love’ the ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Trailer, Asks Fans to ‘Hang in There.’

The Environmental Toll of a Netflix Binge: The data centers that support the Internet use a huge amount of energy.

* “yes Virginia, there is a left-wing reform movement.”

* World’s largest Star Wars cosplay association says new Star Wars villains are not evil enough.

* Marquette falls behind its peer institutions.

As part of their early schooling, Indonesians in the Soeharto era were deliberately traumatized by the state.

That’s right. The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to—while at the same time obscuring—the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.

* Against The Hateful Eight.

Would you support or oppose bombing Agrabah?

* Racebending Hermione, now canon.

Historians often undermine the hopes that activists live on.

* SNL: Meet Your Second Wife.

The Star Wars Holiday Special Was The Worst Thing on Television Ever. Look for it on How Did This Get Made? this week.

* Immediately greenlit: Quentin Tarantino Almost Made A Luke Cage Movie And Wants To Create His Own Superhero.

* And I say teach the controversy: ‘Bleeding’ Communion Wafer Caused By Mold, Not A Miracle.

12345577_10153766014772930_36582066997991376_n

Star Wars Day! Yay! Episode III Procrastination of the Procrastination

leave a comment »

(episode one, the procrastination menace) (episode two, attack of the procrastination)

* Secrets of a lonely childhood revealed!

* A Brief Visual History of People Waiting in Line for Star Wars.

* The Tides of Lust: Samuel Delany reviews the first Star Wars movie, 1977. In the Butler archives there’s a ton of her thoughts on the Star Wars franchise, including her class notes for the Clarion classes where she discussed it. Really interesting stuff.

* And speaking of which: a CFP for a Butler essay collection.

* Evacuate? In my moment of triumph? J.J. Abrams also apologizes for Star Trek Into Darkness.

* Apropos of this New Yorker cartoon, this profile of Ahmed Best is one of the best things I’ve read about Phantom Menace.

12360359_10153376574063869_4285188336294404539_n* People are still arguing in the mentions of this Tumblr post on jury nullification, over two years later.

There’s No College P.C. Crisis: In Defense of Student Protesters.

* Rewind: How the U.S. Military Turned Santa Claus Into a Cold War Icon.

* Out today: Adam Roberts’s The Thing Itself.

* Low Pay, Long Commutes: The Plight Of The Adjunct Professor.

I expected to find at least a couple prisons within a mile of a toxic site — after all 89 percent of all New Jersey residents live within a mile of a toxic site. What I didn’t expect is that over half of New Jersey’s state prisons would be toxic sites. The WNYC map, using information from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection website, identifies seven out of the 13 New Jersey state prisons as toxic sites. Plus, these toxic prison sites are often surrounded by more contaminated sites.

In US, poverty dampens genetic influence on IQ.

The Silent Collapse Of The Death Penalty In The United States.

The Convoluted Profits of Academic Publishing.

The Disaster Most Likely to Cause Global Famine Is Not an Earthquake, Storm, Tsunami, or Flood. I knew it, it’s capitali–oh, no, drought, it’s drought.

And Streaming TV Isn’t Just a New Way to Watch. It’s a New Genre.

Star Wars Day Links! Yay! Episode II Attack of the Procrastination

leave a comment »

(episode one, the procrastination menace)

* Apropos of what I was saying before about Return of the Jedi: When Luke confronts the idea that his father is his enemy and that he is doomed to become him unless he can somehow accept him, it’s a thunderbolt as true and clear as any Jungian/Freudian missive can be clear. It’s not complicated, but Luke’s refusal at the end to murder his own shadow is underestimated as a watermark in the panoply of generally vengeful, bellicose popular entertainments. What Disney movie, for instance, ends with the embrace of the villain at something other than the tip of a righteous sword? No matter the degree that Lucas’s blinkered populism cripples Return of the Jedi, what remains is this guide to better living. Hard work is good. Courage in the face of entropy is good. Loyalty to your friends is good. Fear is bad. So is self-interest. This basic codification of rules resonating as it does is, after all, only what good cults do: provide a template, easy to follow, of commandments. May the Force be with you.

sw_final.0Every Star Wars movie, according to its colors.

Star Wars medical merch from Scarfolk, the horror-town stuck in the 1970s.

Beloved media property from my childhood coming back, what could go wrong?

* China Miéville, “On Social Sadism.”

How austerity destroyed Europe’s economy, in one graph.

* A case study in the notion that academic freedom is not a blanket excuse for any and all antisocial behavior: College Moves To Fire Sandy Hook Truther For Allegedly Harassing Victim’s Family.

The rich-poor divide on America’s college campuses is getting wider, fast.

The question is why humanists have not been able or willing to recognise their own sustained success.

* “Speechbros” vs. The left should support speech rights because the left is weak. In my old age I’m really becoming more and more of an absolutist on this, alas, despite disliking absolutism and also liars, fools, and knaves.

* “Harvard placemat serves up social justice for Christmas.” Sorry for the Campus Reform link, I couldn’t find anything better.

* And another article on its contemporary reception for the next time I teach Lolita: Men Explain Lolita To Me.

Thursday Night Links!

leave a comment »

* Did you know Jaimee Hills’s incredible How to Avoid Speaking has started to ship? Buy it today! Hear her on Lake Effect!

* Presenting the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction.

The Founders misread history and established a dysfunctional system of government. A case for a little less reverence. Will “decoherence” be the doom of American democracy?

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Race Is Always the Issue.

The False Science of Cryonics: What the nervous system of the roundworm tells us about freezing brains and reanimating human minds. A Dying Young Woman’s Hope.

* The Caine Prize after “emergence.”

* The Nine Dumbest Things in the Rutgers Report on Kyle Flood.

* The Internet after Ad Blocking. Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web.

Inside the Brains of Happily Married Couples.

* Friends don’t let friends write clickbait confessionals.

The feminist think piece industrial complex.

* Twilight of the Elites and the rise of a global left. Even Yglesias is on board!

We enter into something of a contract as a faculty member: we trade income for autonomy and security. If we do not use the latter, we enter a fool’s bargain. This is why I stay, and why being ready to quit is an important part of staying.

Inside the Battle for Cooper Union.

* Doing the Lord’s work at GOG.com.

Every Single Movie That Jimmy Carter Watched at the White House.

* 30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How Was Your Day?”

These 25 schools are responsible for the greatest advances in science. Go Spartans! #11.

If you like Return Of The Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism.

* Tased at the Harris Teeter. After an often torturous tenure at the helm of the Durham Police Department—including, most recently, last week’s controversial Tasering of an unarmed black man at a Durham Harris Teeter—Chief Jose Lopez Sr. is out.

* How Languages Die.

* Fraternities are pretty bad.

* The Opposite of Hoarding.

“I don’t expect them to understand everything I do,” Dr. Xi, 57, said in a telephone interview. “But the fact that they don’t consult with experts and then charge me? Put my family through all this? Damage my reputation? They shouldn’t do this. This is not a joke. This is not a game.”

The NFL and the military: a love affair as strange and cynical as ever.

* God save Title IX from its champions.

Memo to Clinton-world: It might be time to start panicking.

Ahmed Mohamed and the “Freedom to Tinker.”

* How to screw up the Muppets in one easy step.

A spoiler-free example: The Miss Piggy-Kermit relationship has always worked because of how unfathomable it is, both in terms of species and temperament. These people don’t belong together, but somehow they’ve formed a decadeslong pairing, one that always felt buoyed by Miss Piggy’s stronger affections and a submissive aspect to Kermit. But discovering that Kermit is dating another pig now, perhaps a slightly more docile pig, inverts the whole dynamic of the relationship. Now Kermit just has a fetish, so has he always been playing hard-to-get with Piggy as part of some role-playing that we haven’t previously established? Once you open the window a crack, you’re gonna have to throw open the doors eventually. And within the same dynamic, Miss Piggy’s affections for Kermit, even affections tempered by occasional abuse, have always been a key softening factor for Miss Piggy. We tolerate her awfulness because of her love for Kermit and the love we believe Kermit has for her. Without that core, the risk of Miss Piggy spiraling into an untenable sty of callus words and consistent mistreatment of subordinates is all too real.

* What’s it like to take Jim Henson’s place?

Don’t Have Sex With Robots, Say Ethicists.

* Nemo iudex in causa sua, but, you know, the opposite.

* How to D&D.

* Against Lolita.

* Utilitarianism, y’all. Also: the Singularity.

What Happens When A Parent’s Grief Goes Viral?

At WeWork, an Idealistic Start-Up Clashes With Its Cleaners.

Banksy and the Problem With Sarcastic Art.

“The Long Emancipation” offers a useful reminder that abolition was not the charitable work of respectable white people, or not mainly that. Instead, the demise of slavery was made possible by the constant discomfort inflicted on middle-class white society by black activists.

Students’ Requests for Trigger Warnings Grow More Varied. Higher Education’s Internet Outrage Machine. How Salaita Was Fired: One Year Later. Gaps in Earnings Stand Out in Release of College Data. Enrollment in Humanities Ph.D. Programs Declines as More Graduate Schools Slim Down. Colleges Flush With Cash Saddle Poorest Students With Debt. No Child Left Behind Goes to College. Is College Tuition Really Too High? The Uberification of the University. The Rise and Coming Demise of the Corporate University. Tacit knowledge and graduate education. Can’t afford to eat at a college sitting on over $9 billion? There’s an app for that. The Whistleblower Effect. The entire Japanese public university system attempts a massive queen sacrifice. There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts. Are College Lectures Unfair? Microaggressions and good manners. The coming human capital contract nightmare.

In 1997, the ETS announced that the SAT could not properly be labeled a scholastic assessment test, either; the initials now stand for nothing.

* Maybe the best description of what it is I think I’m doing I’ve ever seen: He said that his best professors “took texts that seemed complicated, made them look simple, and then made them complex again.”

“We couldn’t imagine Oregonians’ turning their backs on higher education, but they did.”

Some have called Harvard a Hedge Fund with a school attached, because it has over $36 billion in its endowment, but the UC holds over $100 billion in its retirement funds, endowments, and working capital funds.  This large amount of money can be used for good, or it can be used for darker purposes, but one thing for sure, it makes the university an important global finance player.  Of course, we should all ask what it means when a public university enters global finance.

Jerry Brown’s University of California Perma-Temp Problem.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 22: Collaboration (part 2 of 2).

* The rise of the woman comic book buyer.

* Studies in Cruel Optimism, Bernie Sanders campaign edition.

* Yes. Yes. Embrace your hate.

* This week, the site enabled hosts of events to determine who has actually seen the Facebook invites they’ve sent out but not replied, making the simple act of viewing of your notifications a horrifying social contract you can’t escape.

* Nice work if you can get it: How I Felt After 70 Days of Lying in Bed for Science.

If We Burn All the World’s Fossil Fuels, We’ll Melt Antarctica & Flood the Earth. Right, that’s the plan. Climate Apocalypse and/or Democracy. PS: Almost Half of the World’s Ocean Life Has Died Off Since 1970.

* Markets in everything! Refugees bring in big business in Europe.

* The arc of history is long, but.

* And some news you can use: The IRS Will Refuse Checks Greater Than $100 Million Beginning In 2016.

216a

Written by gerrycanavan

September 17, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ain’t No Sunday Like an MLA Sunday Links

leave a comment »

* In case you missed them: the syllabi for my spring classes, which start tomorrow.

* Meanwhile MLA saves its best panel for last: 759. Guilty Pleasures: Late Capitalism and Mere Genre. Today at 1:45!

On March 11-12, 2015, the Humanities Division at Essex County College will host its Spring 2015 Conference, “Speculative Humanities: Steampunk to Afrofuturism.” This two-day conference offers space for writers, musicians, artists, and academicians to explore, expand upon, and rethink the implications of speculative humanities. This year’s conference will feature a special emphasis on the life, work, and influence of Octavia E. Butler.

* #MLA: An Economist’s Critique of Job Market for English Ph.D.s.

* The MLA should give Jonathan Goodwin a Lifetime Achievement Award for this post about midcentury MLA job ads. Check out his Twitter feed for more.

* Really, though, huge shoutout to all the literary critics heading home today.

impostor

* #FreeCommunityCollege. Did Obama Just Introduce a ‘Public Option’ for Higher Education? Angus is happy. Who Has a Stake in Obama’s Free Community-College Plan? Of course, it’s a Republican plan. And there’s a catch. Or two.

Contingent Faculty and #FreeCommunityCollege.

$18 billion in job training = lots of trained unemployed people.

* The logic of the increment.

Sometimes you don’t get a sales pitch. It’s none of your business, it’s reactionary to even ask the question, it’s an assertion of privilege, something’s got to be done and what have you been doing that’s better? Sometimes you get a sales pitch and it’s all about will and not about intellect: everybody has to believe in fairies or Tinkerbell will die. The increments sometimes make no sense. This leads to that leads to what? And what? And then? Why? Or perhaps most frustrating of all, each increment features its own underlying and incommensurable theories about why things happen in the world: in this step, people are motivated by self-interest; in the next step, people are motivated by basic decency; in the next step, people are motivated by fear of punishment. Every increment can’t have its own social theory. That’s when you know that the only purpose is the action itself, not the thing it’s trying to accomplish.

Securitization, risk management, and the new university.

Administrators, Authority, and Accountability.

Militancy, Antagonism, and Power: Rethinking Intellectual Labor, Relocating the University.

As leverage, Silvia Federici outlines the two-part process of demanding a wage for previously uncompensated labor. The first step is recognition, but the ultimate goal is refusal. “To say that we want money for housework” she says, “is the first step towards refusing to do it, because the demand for a wage makes our work visible, which is the most indispensable condition to begin to struggle against it, both in its immediate aspect as housework and its more insidious character as femininity” (Wages Against Housework). Another way to say this is: it is only with the option of refusal that not-publishing is meaningful.

It is clear that “publish or perish” is undergoing a speedup like all other capitalist work. We must all struggle for a re-valorization of living labor. And in the first step against publication’s command over living labor, we agree with Federici, who demands that “From now on we want money for each moment of it, so that we can refuse some of it and eventually all of it” (Wages Against Housework).

* Lessons from Vermont: What does Vermont’s failed single-payer plan tell us about future reform efforts?

* Exclusive: Prosecutor in Serial Goes On the Record.

The U.S. has more jails than colleges. Here’s a map of where those prisoners live.

* Scenes from the class struggle inside the National Radio Quiet Zone.

* Debt collection as autoimmune disease.

Male Senators Banned Women From Senate Pool So They Could Swim Naked. Until 2008.

* Wow. F.B.I. and Justice Dept. Said to Seek Charges for Petraeus.

“It’s clear he hasn’t been very lucky with the ladies the last few months,” West said of his client.

* Nightmare terror attacks in Nigeria using ten-year-old girls as suicide bombers.

* Run, Bernie, run?

* Clocks Are Too Precise (and People Don’t Know What to Do About It).

* Great moments in matte paintings, at io9. I had no idea the warehouse from Raiders was a matte either, though in retrospect of course it was.

New research is first to identify which reserves must not be burned to keep global temperature rise under 2C, including over 90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands.

* Rave drug shows great promise in treating depression once thought resistant to drug therapy. I hope they found some way to control for the curative effects of glowsticks.

How Wes Anderson’s Cinematographer Shot These 9 Great Scenes.

* Here comes Wet Hot American Summer: The Prequel Series.

* The kids aren’t all right: Millennials Are Less Racially Tolerant Than You Think.

* “Men, what would you be willing to give up to live a couple decades longer?”

* Dad creates drawings based off of quotes from his toddler daughter.

* How LEGO became the Apple of toys.

We Wish These Retrofuturistic Versions Of American Cities Had Come True.

* Every episode of Friends at the same time.

* And exciting loopholes I think we can all believe in: “He was doing research for a film,” said Sherrard. “It’s not a crime; it’s artwork… He’s an intellectual.”

S2-679x879

Written by gerrycanavan

January 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Impossibly, Even More Thursday Links

leave a comment »

screen-capture* The rich are different from you and me: The New York Times reports this week that megabank HSBC has escaped criminal prosecution for money laundering that probably funded terrorists and narcotics traffickers. Why? Because regulators and prosecutors were petrified that an indictment would undermine the entire financial system. The Times quotes anonymous government sources who confessed fears about bringing formal charges because doing so would be a “death sentence” for the bank. So they let it off the hook.

Scientists plan test to see if the entire universe is a simulation created by futuristic supercomputers. I really feel as though nothing is more likely to make them pull the plug on us. Let’s just take a step back here.

* See also.

* Scott Aukerman picks his favorite Comedy Bang! Bang! episodes.

* The Charlie Brown School of Dance.

‘The Hobbit’ To Feature 53-Minute-Long Scene Of Bilbo Baggins Trying To Figure Out What To Pack.

* Prison Guard Beats Up 15-Year-Old Inmate On Camera, Keeps Job.

* The racist roots of ‘right to work’ laws.

Female pilots cut from Return of the Jedi.