Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Roko’s Basilisk

Thursday Night Links!

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(Slight format change: with the return to teaching, increased professional responsibilities, and my kids getting older [too fast!] I’m having real trouble keeping up with the level of linkblogging I’ve previously done. I’m not hanging up the blog, quite yet, but it’s definitely going to continue to be more irregular and more tightly focused on stuff I find particularly interesting and/or might someday need for research. Sorry! Please simply take it as read that Trump sucks, everything he does sucks, and everyone who supports him sucks.)

* This week I have a review of John Scalzi’s newest book, The Collapsing Empire, up at LARB: “No, Speed Limit.” Buy it! It’s good!

* For the more academic minded among you I’ve also got a review of Anthony Lioi’s Nerd Ecology up at ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. I tweeted an excerpt from it too not long ago:

* Must have: Monograph by Chris Ware.

* Humanitarian catastrophe in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are living climate change right now. Here’s how they describe it. He rattled off a list of what he could not find: bottles of water, gas canisters to light stoves, food.

* Isle of Dogs looking like a strong contender for the first Wes Anderson movie I don’t like.

* Harrowing read: Student survives three days in a cave after college spelunking group leaves him behind.

* Futurism’s blind spot.

* Revolutionary Possibility: Henry Farrell on China Miéville’s October.

* Farah Mendlesohn is crowdfunding her Robert Heinlein book, which proved too long for its original publisher.

* Great review of the (excellent) Star Trek: Discovery pilot from Aaron Body at LARB. I’m very pleased, and a little shocked, by how good it is! Star Trek Spec Scripts That Never Saw the Light of Day. And yes, of course it is.

Humanities, universities and sustainability. Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars. And doing my part: Amid Professors’ ‘Doom-and-Gloom Talk,’ Humanities Ph.D. Applications Drop.

From a public relations perspective, accepting the terms of a right-wing narrative about supposedly illiberal campuses by bending over backwards to subsidize an already well-financed right-wing assault on the university may do more to confirm the erroneous claims of that narrative than to change them. That narrative has become a crucial element in the arsenal of weapons used to attack our democracy. Make no mistake: the groups that attacktransgender people, Muslims, people of color, women, legal immigrants as well as undocumented students, are also those that attack science, and feel no obligation to hold their views to academic standards of evidence or coherence. We, therefore, urge the administration to creatively and courageously confront the way free speech is being deployed against our academic freedom, and—in deciding what can take place on our campus — to prioritize the conditions that enable teaching and research.

* Meanwhile, across campus. How Much Is Your College Football Team Worth?

* The nightmare state of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Democrats, for all their self-conception as architects of a progressing world, possess no such singular purpose. Their plan, even when they are in office, consists largely of defending the paltry welfare state already in place against the vastly more disciplined forces of reaction. Their ambition — when they have the opportunity to realize one — is just to tweak. Sometimes they tweak for the better. Sometimes they call their tweaking “welfare reform.”

* The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free. Forever and ever amen.

* centrism.biz.

* How She Lost.

* Wendy Brown on apocalyptic populism.

* Head Geek Is Head Creep.

War With North Korea Starts to Look Inevitable.

* The Madness of Donald Trump.

We’re not going to fix American democracy until we can explain why the GOP went crazy.

The Resegregation of Jefferson County.

Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (But Don’t Know It).

* No rights which the white man was bound to respect.

The latest way tech companies have promoted their questionable self-image as the antithesis of old, evil corporations has been to open their offices not to unions, but to dogs. Capitalism with a Fluffy Face.

* Nice work if you can get it.

ICE violates own policy by locking up pregnant women, complaint alleges. ICE Is Using Prostitution Diversion Courts to Stalk Immigrants. The American citizens illegally detained by ICE. Immigrant taken by ICE from Austin courthouse was killed in Mexico. Undocumented Parents Arrested at Children’s Hospital While Awaiting Their Infant Son’s Surgery. Two Women Say They Lost Pregnancies In Immigrant Detention Since July. Government policies funneling illegal immigrants into more dangerous crossing areas have contributed to fatalities. A cancer patient desperately needs a stem-cell transplant. But the U.S. won’t grant the donor a visa. ICE attacks sanctuary cities, arrests 450.

Trump Administration Rejects Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees.

Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan: Converting into private schools — and using voucher programs to thrive on the public dime.

* In the richest country in human history.

By age 3, inequality is clear: Rich kids attend school. Poor kids stay with a grandparent.

According to a Department of Education report, black students nationally were three times more likely to be suspended than whites in 2012. Suspensions occur most commonly in secondary schools, but black children were more than twice as likely to be suspended from preschool as well.

* When that day comes, Anthony Levandowski will be firmly on the side of the machines. In September 2015, the multi-millionaire engineer at the heart of the patent and trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, founded a religious organization called Way of the Future. Its purpose, according to previously unreported state filings, is nothing less than to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”

* Today’s don’t-say-climate-change term of art: mega-heat dome. Australia’s record-breaking winter beats average highs by 2C, Climate Council says.

Although the uncertainty of each prediction in Fig. 4 is considerable, all scenarios for cumulative uptake at the century’s end either exceed or are commensurate with the threshold for catastrophic change.

One of the clearest signs of climate change in Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey was the rain.

* What would a flood-proof city look like?

* When Bad DNA Tests Lead to False Convictions.

What happens after a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity? Often the answer is involuntary confinement in a state psychiatric hospital—with no end in sight.

* Notes towards a trans reading of Severus Snape.

Gerrymandering on Trial.

* The New York Times reviews N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy.

* Jordan Peele gets it.

* The secret history of Dune.

* A people’s history of Dunkin Donuts.

Sci-Fi Roots of the Far Right—From ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ to Newt’s Moon Base to Donald’s Wall.

* It’s officially too late to save Title IX.

* You had me at hello: Each successive video takes on a new video game and goes into incredibly granular detail on the speed-running history associated with it.

* Your time-travel short of the moment: Cradle.

* Is the Pope Catholic?

* This is a beautiful thing.

Up Against the Centerfold: What It Was Like to Report on Feminism for Playboy in 1969.

* And finally a reason to start drinking: Arcade games return to Milwaukee bars.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Taking a Break from All Your Thursdays Sure Would Help a Lot

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* Building the God Machine: Google is restructuring to put machine learning at the core of all it does.

Will Robocars Kick Humans Off City Streets? Your Self-Driving Car Will Be Programmed to Kill You—Deal With It.

* More on Game of Thrones‘s plot problems: Game of Thrones’ “Battle of the Bastards” looked great, but it didn’t make any damn sense. This time the big problem is Ramsey Bolton as Republic serial villain.

There Is No Left Brexit.

How Not to Study Donald Trump.

‘Not Guilty’ Verdict in the Death of Freddie Gray. From the reporting this one sounds like it was always going to be a hard sell.

Surprise poll: Clinton leads Trump in Arizona. Should Clinton Be More Concerned About Pennsylvania?

The congressional sit-in was not just cynical political theater — it was for a deeply reactionary cause. The Democrats Are Boldly Fighting For a Bad, Stupid Bill. The Use of Error-Prone and Unfair Watchlists Is Not the Way to Regulate Guns in America.

* How Democrats mounted their guns sit-in.

* Four months as a private prison guard.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin, putting an apparent end to one of the most closely watched cases in higher education.

The Death Penalty Case Where Prosecutors Wrote the Judge’s ‘Opinion.’

How to Prepare Professors Who Thought They’d Never Teach Online.

The Clintons Have a For-Profit College Problem Of Their Own.

* Racial Literacy as a Professor’s Responsibility.

Renters Are Making More, And Landlords Get It All.

* “After being roofied twice, I realized I didn’t always know who was watching me. And how dangerous that is.”

Senate Confirms First-Ever Native American Woman As Federal Judge. I should know better than to be surprised by first-evers at this point.

The strange and conflicting world views of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel.

Uber data suggests that drivers overall in three major U.S. markets — Denver, Detroit, and Houston — earned less than $13.25 an hour after expenses in late 2015, according to calculations based on more than a million trips.

* True facts: Why Bubba Ho-Tep May Be the Most Perfect B-Movie Ever Made.

* “You’re Not Worried Nearly Enough about China.”

* A Young Athlete’s World of Pain, and Where It Led: Kosta Karageorge, an Ohio State wrestler and football
player who hid concussion symptoms because he felt it was the manly thing to do, killed himself in 2014.

* New Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Limit Productions To Half-Hour Concepts. Teasing the new Star Trek series: one story over thirteen episodes.

* Oh Man, Bad Plan, No Canal: Panama.

* And if you want a vision of the future.

Get June Started Right with June Links

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* CFP for the first issue of Fantastika Journal.

* David Higgins reviews Paradoxa 27: The Futures Industry.

Ending Their Wars: On Memorial Day, socialists honor the victims of war and struggle for a world free of it.

* This Is What Extinction Sounds Like.

* “Society doesn’t need a 21-year-old who is a sixth century historian.”

* So here’s my question: if this is all so “common sense” and “modest” then why do you have to lie so much about process and intentions? Why are people who drone on about “accountability” for others allowed to act without any accountability to the institutions they are supposed to represent?

* The Life Cycle of Genres.

Where genre is concerned, this means that our goal is no longer to define a genre, but to find a model that can reproduce the judgments made by particular historical observers. For instance, adjectives of size (“huge,” “gigantic,” but also “tiny”) are among the most reliable textual clues that a book will be called science fiction. Few people would define science fiction as a meditation on size, but it turns out that works categorized as science fiction (by certain sources) do spend a lot of time talking about the topic.

[whispers] Well, my dissertation and book-when-I-finally-get-around-to-massively-revising-it does define science fiction as a meditation on size…

* Bonus Ted Underwood content! The Real Problem with Distant Reading.

* In response to McGurl’s call we intend to create a digital database along with a visualization tool that can be used to map the professional itineraries and social networks of everyone who ever studied or taught creative writing at Iowa since the Workshop’s inception to the present date.

Duke University enters hotel business with $62 million project. You know, nonprofit for educational purposes.

University Of Akron President Resigns After Financial Controversies.

Is It Time for Universities to Get Out of the Hospital Business?

* …if you take up these old positions about what a higher education in the humanities should involve, you end up dancing with some very conservative people. I found myself in very strange company when I began to hold out for education, not as a credentialising process, but what I think of as encouragement for the revolutionary force of individual curiosity–pursued without limit.

* On some campuses, a dogmatic form of identity politics clearly has taken hold. But what’s too often missing from this picture is the very thing that opponents of political correctness so often decry: a sense of proportion and judgment, and an awareness that what transpires on the radical edges of elite universities is not always an accurate barometer of what’s happening in the wider world.

* Rule-Breaking Iceland Completes Its Miracle Economic Escape.

Middle Eastern Writers Find Refuge in the Dystopian Novel.

* Which City Has the Most Unpredictable Weather? Of course Milwaukee makes the top-ten for major metropolitan areas.

* It’s 2016. Why is anyone still keeping elephants in circuses?

* How rich does a black criminal have to be to get treated like a white one?

* Vindicated! A new meta analysis in Perspectives in Psychological Science looked at 33 studies on the relationship between deliberate practice and athletic achievement, and found that practice just doesn’t matter that much.

* 11 History Books You Should Read Before Writing Your Military SF Novel.

* On Early Science Fiction and the Medieval.

* Literature and prestige.

* Careerism and totalitarianism.

 Genocide, she insisted, is work. If it is to be done, people must be hired and paid; if it is to be done well, they must be supervised and promoted.

* Trump and the university.

* On Progressive Racism.

Progressive racism is how racism is enacted by being denied: how racism is heard as a blow to the reputation of an organisation as being progressive. We can detect the same mechanism happening in political movements: when anti-racism becomes part of an identity for progressive whites, racism is either re-located in a body over there (the racist) or understood as a blow to self-reputation of individuals for being progressive. This term “progressive whites” comes from Ruth Frankenberg important work on whiteness studies. She argues that focusing on whiteness purely in negative terms can  “leaves progressive whites apparently without any genealogy” (1993, 232).  Kincheloe and Steinberg in their work on whiteness studies write of “the necessity of creating a positive, proud, attractive antiracist white identity” (1998, 34). Indeed, the most astonishing aspect of this list of adjectives (positive, proud, attractive, antiracist) is that antiracism then becomes just another white attribute in a chain: indeed, anti-racism may even provide the conditions for a new discourse of white pride.

When we peel back its progressive pedagogical covering, the teaching-tool defense is embodied in unequal reasoning. It is embodied in racist logic: our national inability to value the same, to reason the same, to think the same for different racial groups.

What effects has “ban the box” had so far? Two new working papers suggest that, as economic theory predicts, “ban the box” policies increase racial disparities in employment outcomes. So disheartening.

Shady accounting underpins Trump’s wealth. No! I won’t believe it!

What’s the Matter with San Francisco: How Silicon Valley’s Ideology Has Ruined a Great City.

* Well, the establishment’s also pretty bored by literary work that deals with our treatment of the rest of being — you know, other animals, the rest of life on Earth, the creatures beyond the man-apes. Like the tragedy of how our men treat our women, the tragic way humans treat nonhumans is still, to many U.S. fiction arbiters, also irrelevant as a conversation, often dismissed as a boutique topic that’s the fodder of cranks and tree huggers. Women and the rest of species in existence: two flaming badges of uncool.

* Harambe launches a thousand thinkpieces.

The Black Film Canon: The 50 greatest movies by black directors.

Jessica Valenti: my life as a ‘sex object.’

* How an industry helps Chinese students cheat their way into and through U.S. colleges.

Nearly half of young black men in Chicago out of work, out of school. All told, over that same 14-year stretch, Chicago’s black population decreased by an estimated 200,000 residents, or nearly 19 percent. Illinois now has the highest unemployment rate in the United States.

If you were designing the worst place to be poor in decades ahead, you’d come up with a low-density, auto-dependent, aging and declining suburb.

* AP FACT CHECK: Clinton misstates key facts in email episode. Hillary Clinton vs. Herself. Hillary Clinton Remains the Most Likely 45th President of the United States.

After Being Called Out, Trump Hastily Donates the Veterans’ Aid Money He Said He’d Already Donated. Meet David French: the random dude off the street Bill Kristol decided will save America from Trump.

* This is good fun but pretty seriously slanders Magneto and the Joker.

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The Republicans’ Military Budget Could Make Every Homeless Person In America A Millionaire.

The Male Gaze in a Math Book.

* Coming from Pixar, 2022: Swarm of bees follows woman’s car for two days to rescue their queen.

* The paralogisms of pure dismissal.

* Fandom Is Broken. A Retort. I’m mostly just impressed with how hard I nailed it.

* Baby abandoned at SF State now one of its grads.

Quitting Your Job to Pursue Your Passion is Bullshit.

* Timeline maps.

* Hyperattention and hyperdistraction.

* Not a Review of Neoreaction a Basilisk. I for one welcome our artificially intelligent overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted writer and educator, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground zinc caves.

* Make Bayesianism Work for You.

A Renegade Muscles In on Mister Softee’s Turf.

“Let me tell you about this business,” Adam Vega, a thickly muscled, heavily tattooed Mister Softee man who works the upper reaches of the Upper East Side and East Harlem, said on Wednesday. “Every truck has a bat inside.”

A Fascinating Video Essay Explores the Key Reason Why Calvin and Hobbes Remains So Beloved Today.

* This is a little old, but DC has basically gone ahead and made it real, so…

David Mitchell buries latest manuscript for a hundred years.

Algorithms: The Future That Already Happened.

Judith Butler on the Value of the Humanities and Why We Read.

* Time to panic about Rogue One.

* I still can’t believe The Cursed Child is a real thing. Even photographs can’t convince me.

[somberly drags FerrisBueller.privilege.Salon.docx to the trash can]

Business Of Disaster: Insurance Firms Profited $400 Million After Sandy.

* Over a third of coral is dead in parts of the Great Barrier Reef, scientists say.

* And to imagine the ocean of the future: picture a writhing mass of unkillable tentacles, forever.

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 1, 2016 at 8:31 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning!

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330740_v1* Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.

* Notes on “Stop Hillary.”

* Smartly realizing that nothing is going to change on the climate change beat, NPR guts its environmental reporting.

* Epigrams for my research agenda: That’s to say nothing of the fact that the people involved in GamerGate that Grieco defends are, in fact, not poor bullied kids. They are, overwhelmingly, employed, educated, privileged adult men, many of whom work for some of the most powerful and profitable industries in our economy. Their beloved sci fi and comic books and fantasy genres and media– those aren’t reviled and disrespected properties that people are ashamed to like. They’re economically dominant and critically lauded, and given the way the internet makes culture spread more broadly and intensely than ever before, are probably the most powerful force in the history of the arts.

* Different Bodies & Different Lives In Academia: Why The Rules Aren’t The Same For Everyone.

* Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns.

6 Brilliant Art Projects That Ruin Classic Kids’ Characters.

* Turn Your Princess-Obsessed Toddler Into a Feminist in Eight Easy Steps.

* All The Wealth The Middle Class Accumulated After 1940 Is Gone.

Top Health Official Warns That Ebola Quarantines Could Backfire. And yet.

* Spock was right: Concern for equality linked to logic, not emotion.

* National insanity watch: Students at a Nebraska High School Can Now Pose With Guns in Their Senior Portraits.

I want to talk about how badly we’re failing the boys who can’t see their way out of a totally lethal, totally toxic distortion of masculinity — the kind that says that if boys aren’t manly, or gentlemanly, they can be gunmanly.

Forty percent of mass shootings start with the gunman targeting his wife, girlfriend, or ex. And access to firearms makes it seven times more likely that a domestic abuser will kill his partner.

* Yes, Mass Shootings Are Occurring More Often.

* Elon Musk: Developing artificial intelligence would be as dangerous as ‘summoning a demon.’

The “Southern Belle” Is a Racist Fiction.

* LARoB interviews David Mitchell.

* Why Google wants to replace Gmail. They should have nationalized Google fifteen years ago.

* Now we see the violence, &c: Wisconsin cops deploy armored vehicle to collect fines from 75-year-old man for messy land.

“The city’s new budget includes $25,000 to buy one-way bus tickets for homeless people.” “Hawaii even passed a measure that offers paid flights off the state to homeless people.” (via)

* Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required.

* Building a Better Panopticon: The Wire as melodrama.

The Wire extends and elaborates melodrama in remarkable ways. But, as Williams says, melodrama remains a broadly liberal medium — and as Williams doesn’t say, liberalism and neoliberalism are not especially distant cousins. Liberalism can critique neoliberalism for its inequities, its cruelties, and its callousness. But to neoliberalism’s call for data and surveillance, liberalism can only respond with a call for better data and more nuanced surveillance; to neoliberalism’s doctrine of individuality as sameness, liberalism can only offer a deeper individuality subsumed within a deeper sameness. The Wire is undoubtedly one of the greatest melodramas extant, and an object lesson in how powerful the form can be. Its limitations aren’t a failure on the part of its creators so much as an indication that melodrama, having gotten us to this particular liberal democratic impasse, is unlikely, on its own, to get us out.

* Hackers of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

* And I learned today that Star Trek secondary canon features a running subplot where an unfrozen Wall Street guy slowly takes over the Federation. This is going in the Khan essay for sure…

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Friday Links!

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* The UK Ministry of Defence Says Life in 2045 Will Be Unequal and Violent. That level of continuity with our present almost counts as utopian these days.

* I keep thinking about yesterday’s shooting down of a plane over Ukrainian airspace, especially the high number of children and AIDS researchers on board. And then there’s the geopolitical implications.

* Australia repeals its carbon tax because there’s just no hope.

* NSA sees your nude pix ‘as fringe benefits of surveillance positions,’ says Snowden.

* How to Answer the Diversity Question at a Campus Interview.

I Saw a Man Get Arrested For a Sex Crime Because He Made a Scheduling Error.

* Freedom! Studies: Stand Your Ground Laws Lead To More Homicides, Don’t Deter Crime.

Amy Poehler, then new to “Saturday Night Live,” was engaging in some loud and unladylike vulgarity in the writers’ room when the show’s then-star Jimmy Fallon jokingly told her to cut it out, saying, “It’s not cute! I don’t like it!” In Fey’s retelling, Poehler “went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him,” forcefully informing him: “I don’t fucking care if you like it.”

* How prosecutors would build a case against the Batman.

*  The Return of School Segregation in Eight Charts.

* Danish DNA could be key to happiness. Well, I’m certainly glad we solved that!

* Israel and Gaza: A Plague on One House.

* A People’s History of Tattooine.

* The ‘World Cup Is Over, Now What?’ Guide to Soccer.

* Adam soldiers on in his sustained reading of the Temporal Cold War. My inclination is always to read the threat of the future as ecological rather than financial, but otherwise I’m on board.

* Amazon announces the death of the author.

* Grad school as scummy subscription service. Disruptilicious!

* Big Bang Theory Stars Could Make $1 Million An Episode, Because There’s No Hope.

Which early Christian heresy are you?

* A Brief History of Houses Built Out of Spite.

* Okay, okay, but just this once.

* And Slate has an urgent report on my favorite subject in the world, the only thing that really matters, Roko’s Basilisk.

And That’s Before Getting Into the Whole ‘Roko’s Basilisk’ Mess

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Here we see a real purpose behind lesswrong.com. Ultimately it doesn’t matter that people like Thiel or Kurzweil or Yudkowsky are pushing a crackpot idea like the singularity; what matters is that they are pushing the poisonous ideas that underlie Bayesianism. Thiel and others are funding an organisation that advances an ideological basis for their own predatory behaviour. Lesswrong and its sister sites preach a reductive concept of humanity that encourages an indifference to the world’s suffering, that sees people as isolated, calculating individuals acting in their self-interest: a concept of humanity that serves and perpetuates the scum at the top.

Stephen Bond on what’s wrong with LessWrong, with digressions into why all skepticism is neoliberalism and the rules of Fuck You, Buddy.

Transhumanist Heresy

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When I wasn’t looking, it seems the transhumanists have invented their first heresy: Roko’s Basilisk. The topic is strenuously banned on Less Wrong as a “brown note” information hazard, but there is a Reddit thread with Eliezer Yudkowsky that you are strongly advised not to put into your brain, lest you put yourself at risk for being tortured forever by some less-than-friendly Friendly AI.

Charlie Stross has already called dibs on the novelization.