Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Dawkins

If You Want a Vision of the Future: Weekend Links

leave a comment »

* CFP: Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference.

* Dan Harmon’s advice for career happiness — imagine a job you could stand doing and then invent it — is more or less exactly how I describe what I do. I’m definitely getting away with something.

* Explains a lot: Long-Term Couples Develop Interconnected Memory Systems.

* Deafness and Hawkeye #19. How Hawkeye #19 Portrays The World Of A Deaf Superhero To A Hearing Audience, For Next Year’s Eisner Awards. I’m pretty sure this seals the deal on me using Fraction’s Hawkeye run the next time I do my comics class.

* An Astrobiologist Asks a Sci-fi Novelist How to Survive the Anthropocene.

KSR: I think we can make it through this current, calamitous time period. I envision a two-part process. First, we need to learn what to do in ecological terms. That sounds tricky, but the biosphere is robust and we know a lot about it, so really it’s a matter of refining our parameters; i.e. deciding how many of us constitutes a carrying capacity given our consumption, and then figuring out the technologies and lifestyles that would allow for that carrying capacity while also allowing ecosystems to thrive. We have a rough sense of these parameters now.

The second step is the political question: It’s a matter of self-governance. We’d need to act globally, and that’s obviously problematic. But the challenge is not really one of intellect. It’s the ability to enforce a set of laws that the majority would have to agree on and live by, and those who don’t agree would have to follow.

So this isn’t a question of reconciling gravity with quantum mechanics, or perceiving the strings of string theory. Instead it involves other aspects of intelligence, like sociability, long-range planning, law, and politics. Maybe these kinds of intelligence are even more difficult to develop, but in any case, they are well within our adaptive powers.

* Everyone knows the mass extinction of Earth’s animal life is an almost unfathomable evil. What this blog post presupposes is… maybe it isn’t?

* Fiction and climate change.

* The Pre-History of Firefly.

* The Pre-History of Halbig. Senate documents and interviews undercut ‘bombshell’ lawsuit against Obamacare. Wheeeeeee!

* Same-sex marriage in the 19th century.

In 1807, Charity and Sylvia moved in together in Vermont. A historian uncovers their story.

* Show your support! Agamben and empty political gestures.

* Wisconsin Supreme Court bumming everyone out today.

* Adjuncts Would Qualify for Loan Forgiveness Under Proposed Bill.

Under the terms of the proposed legislation, whose exact language has not been made public, colleges that don’t comply with its rules could face fines of up to 1 percent of their operating budgets.

* Postdocs as glass ceiling.

The open data movement might address some of these challenges but its greatest success to date has been getting governments to release data that is mostly of economic and social utility. The thorny political data is still closely guarded. There’s no “social physics” for the likes of Goldman Sachs or HSBC: we don’t know the connections between their subsidiaries and shell companies registered in tax havens. Nobody is running RCTs to see what would happen if we had fewer lobbyists. Who will nudge the US military to spend less money on drones and donate the savings to the poor?

* God, Democrats can’t even make Republicans eat their own shit right.

The researchers concluded that there was a great advantage to having a white-sounding name, so much so that having a white-sounding name is worth about eight years of work experience.

* The Kids Who Beat Autism.

* The Long, Sad Fall of Richard Dawkins.

* John Oliver vs. America’s Nuclear Command.

* The Catholic Church Makes A Fortune In The German Porn Business.

* US’s Oldest Private Black University Is in Trouble.

* One Year of Prison Costs More Than One Year at Princeton.

* Prisoners are getting paid $2 a day to fight California wildfires.

* The youngest prisoner at Guantánamo.

* Why Bad New York Cops Can Get Away With Abuse.

* Green groups too white and too male compared to other sectors – report.

* Death threats for MedievalPOC at Tumblr because Reddit is a cesspool.

David Frum’s Apology for His Nutty Theory Links to More Nutty Theories. Of course his credibility is now shot forever and we’ll never hear anything from him again…

* CIA Pisses on Rule of Law, Separation of Powers, No One Cares.

* The Case Against Cards Against Humanity.

Scientists Have Measured 16-Foot Waves In The Arctic Ocean.

* The world risks an “insurmountable” water crisis by 2040 without an immediate and significant overhaul of energy consumption and demand, a research team reported on Wednesday.

How Much Energy Would You Need To Replicate Elsa’s Powers In Frozen?

* Marvel might be doing something with Squirrel Girl.

* South Korean Robots Stand In For Real Baseball Fans.

A Map Of The U.S., If There Had Never Been A Mexican-American War.

The six-hour miniseries just greenlit by HBO is based on the book by Lisa Belkin and will be co-scripted by writer-producer David Simon okay I’ll watch.

* Abolish the MPAA.

* Postmodernism is the only explanation for black licorice.

* Tumblr of the minute: Michelle Foucault.

* A rare bit of good news: researchers whose last names begin with A, B, or C who are listed first as authors in articles in a variety of science journals receive, on average, one to two more citations than their peers whose names start with X, Y, or Z.

Blogger fired from language school over ‘homophonia.”

* When parachutes fail.

* This kid gets it.

* And I don’t care how this goes down: I will always consider it Marnie starring as Peter Pan.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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

Sunday Super Sunshine Hit Links

leave a comment »

“The professional backgrounds of many of the defendants is troubling,” said James T. Hayes Jr., a special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations. “We can no longer assume that the only people who would stoop to prey on children are unemployed drifters.” WHY WERE YOU ASSUMING THAT?

Adjuncts are not considered “full time” or “part time” mostly because no one still bothers to accurately keep track of hours. It’s a choice; not an impossibility.

* Breaking: Alt-Ac Isn’t the Answer.

The Unpaid Intern Economy Rides on the Backs of Young Women.

* The Art of Screenwriting: Matthew Weiner.

Boston Public Schools to Eliminate History & Social Science Departments. But there’s money for a laptop for every student and computer coding in the curriculum.

* The Case for Reparations. Reparations: What the Education Gospel Cannot Fix. On Whose Shoulders The Research Stands.

End Mass Incarceration Now.

For Hire: Dedicated Young Man with Down Syndrome. From Michael Bérubé.

I knew Jamie would not grow up to be a marine biologist. And I know that there are millions of non-disabled Americans out of work or underemployed, whose lives are less happy than Jamie’s. I don’t imagine that he has a “right” to a job that supersedes their needs. But I look sometimes at the things he writes in his ubiquitous legal pads when he is bored or trying to amuse himself — like the page festooned with the names of all 67 Pennsylvania counties, written in alphabetical order — and I think, isn’t there any place in the economy for a bright, gregarious, effervescent, diligent, conscientious and punctual young man with intellectual disabilities, a love of animals and an amazing cataloguing memory and insatiable intellectual curiosity about the world?

They proposed that we genetically engineer a species of cat that changes color in the presence of radiation, which would be released into the wild to serve as living Geiger counters. Then, we would create folklore and write songs and tell stories about these “ray cats,” the moral being that when you see these cats change colors, run far, far away.

* Pope Francis and climate change.

10 Years of Pollution, $2 Million in Penalties. As always, that’s barely noticeable on Citgo’s balance sheet.

This 9/11 Cheese Plate May Be The 9/11 Museum’s Most Tasteless Souvenir. Everyone should have a museum dedicated to the worst day of their life and be forced to attend it with a bunch of tourists from Denmark.

* Buzzfeed’s list of underrated towns includes both Milwaukee and Burlington.

“For reasons that I really don’t understand Durham is an outlier,” said Baumgartner.  “Where we found a 77 percent disparity across the state between blacks and whites and their likelihood of being searched, in Durham, it’s about 260 percent. So that is truly astounding.”

Richard Dawkins: “I am a secular Christian.” Oh, New Atheism, what have you become!

* Moral panics, chess edition.

Jessie White, a 99-year-old woman from Belfast, Maine, was finally granted her college degree from Bangor’s Beal College after the college’s president stepped up and paid the $5 transcript fee she’d not been able to afford in 1939.

* Today in free speech: This Drug Defendant Spoke Her Mind, Then A Judge Told Her She’d Stay In Jail Until She Retracted Her Statements To The Media. Meanwhile, Utah Man Facing Hate Crime Charges Says Threatening Black Child Was ‘Just My Opinion.’

* Today in the competency and wisdom of our armed forces.

Congress Reluctant To Cut Funding For Tank That Just Spins Around And Self-Destructs.

Ohio Replaces Lethal Injection With Humane New Head-Ripping-Off Machine.

* Cruel optimism watch: Could Scott Walker lose in November?

* David Wittenberg reviews a whole lot of time travel for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

* The Mystery of Go.

* A Brief History of The Shawshank Redemption.

* A Brief History of “All Good Things…”

* Amazon: Still Awful.

* Zombie properties in Milwaukee.

Quentin Tarantino wants to recutDjango Unchained as a miniseries.

* And Marvel has made its first DC-level big mistake. What a bummer.

Amanda Marcotte vs. the Nice Guys®

with 36 comments

I’ve avoided posting about Elevatorgate here in part because the skeptical community is not really my community, in part because it’s completely absurd, in part because I try to keep the blog relatively non-contentious, and in part because I already lost my mind once arguing about it over at MetaFilterbut Amanda Marcotte has one of the best step-by-step break-it-down explanations of the whole mess that I’ve seen. If you still don’t understand why it’s wrong to proposition trapped women, there’s really just no hope for you.

Happy Canada Day

leave a comment »

Happy Canada Day. Let’s celebrate with links.

* SEK considers Infinite Summer’s weird morbidity (yes, it is weird), as well as the murky fluidity that constitutes literary “generations.” Despite the many other projects that already threaten to consume July I’ve decided to halfheartedly participate in this, and may even post about once I’ve caught up to where I’m supposed to already be in the book.

* “Pseudo-Liveblogging Tenure Denial”: just reading the headline is enough to fill me with dread.

* Richard Dawkins helps fund the world’s least-fun summer camp.

* Following up on my post about Ricci and originalism from earlier in the week, in which as usual the comments are better than the post, here’s Chuck Todd on MSNBC calling out the judicial activism to a speechless Joe Scarborough.

* Wal-Mart on the side of the angels? The monolith has endorsed an employer mandate in health care.

* Video games as murder simulators? The same claim can be made about just about any immersive media experience (and has been), with the existence of negative effects always taken as obvious but never actually demonstrated. (via /.)

* I have only vague memories of the original Alien Nation, though it’s been in my Netflix queue for a while—so I’m glad to see rumors of a sequel series helmed by Angel‘s Tim Minear. More at Sci-Fi Wire.

* Sainthood in America: the Archdiocese of Baltimore may soon recommend a local 19th-century priest to the Vatican for canonization. I found it an interesting look at the balancing act that must now be played when looking for miracles in an age of science:

“Something worked very well,” said Dr. Larry Fitzpatrick, chief of surgery at Mercy Medical Center, who will serve as medical expert on the archiocesan committee.

Preparing for his committee role, Fitzpatrick spoke to specialists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“They’ve all got a few stories like this,” he said. “Is this woman really any different from these, what I would call ‘statistically improbable’ cases? The outcome is very unusual, but it’s not the only one.”

Fitzpatrick said his role on the panel is to be the scientist, to “be the Doubting Thomas,” but as a Catholic, he says, he must entertain the possibility of a supernatural cause.

What method could one possibly use to divide what is merely “statistically improbable” from what is “genuinely miraculous”?

Links!

leave a comment »

Links!

* The podcast of my appearance last night on Poli-Sci-Fi Radio is already up.

* Lots of anxiety today over Google’s commitment to Net Neutrality after a report in the Wall Street Journal that they were looking to sell a “fast lane” to their services. Google denounces the report, but questions remain.

* Franken +200? So says the AP. More at First Read and TPM, which reports that optimism in the Franken camp is at very high.

* Does Harry Potter poison young minds? Richard Dawkins hates puppies and sunshine, too.

* The IEA says we’re screwed starting in 2020. That’s actually sort of good news; there’s good reason to think we may already be screwed right now.

* Whose poetry will be read at the inauguration?

There’s buzz about all sorts of names. Among them: Philip Levine, a Midwesterner whose writings are attuned to the working class; Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate who created the Favorite Poem Project; Yusef Komunyakaa, whose work is heavily influenced by jazz; U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan.

* Epic collection of sci-fi ray guns.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 15, 2008 at 9:35 pm