Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Sandy Hook

Christmas Eve Eve Links Links

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* There’s a lovely review of my Butler book by Nisi Shawl in the new Women’s Review of Books. It’s not available online so you’ll have to take my word for it, unless your library subscribes…

* And I’m so happy to report that Extrapolation 58.2-3 is finally out, the special issue on “Guilty Pleasures: Late Capitalism and Mere Genre” I edited with Benjamin Robertson. Check out the intro to see what it’s all about, and then check out articles on Dragonlance, the Star Wars and Star Trek expanded universes, Sweet Valley High, Blondie, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones and fantasy roleplaying games…

CFP: Academic Track at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention, San José, California. CFP: Punking Speculative Fiction. CFP: Histories of the Future: Proto-Science Fiction from the Victorian Era to the Radium Age. CFP: Chapter Proposals for “Ecofeminist Science Fiction.” CFP: Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.

An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried.

* I thought this was great.

* Consider: Who pursues their goals with monomaniacal focus, oblivious to the possibility of negative consequences? Who adopts a scorched-earth approach to increasing market share? This hypothetical strawberry-picking AI does what every tech startup wishes it could do — grows at an exponential rate and destroys its competitors until it’s achieved an absolute monopoly. The idea of superintelligence is such a poorly defined notion that one could envision it taking almost any form with equal justification: a benevolent genie that solves all the world’s problems, or a mathematician that spends all its time proving theorems so abstract that humans can’t even understand them. But when Silicon Valley tries to imagine superintelligence, what it comes up with is no-holds-barred capitalism. Ladies and gentlemen, the great Ted Chiang.

Science fiction when the future is now. With appearances from Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken Liu, and Lauren Beukes.

* The best anti-Last-Jedi piece I’ve seen is Alyssa Rosenberg’s at the Washington Post. And the best pro-Last-Jedi piece from Dan Hassler-Forest at LARB. Somewhere in the middle is Abigail Nussbuam’s excellent piece at Asking the Wrong Questions.

* Lightsabers, by the numbers. Secret history of the porgs. Star Wars from below. Thank goodness somebody realized how terrible this would be. The Last Jedi and the necessary disappointment of epilogues. The films that inspired The Last Jedi. Behind the scenes. In defense of Canto Blight. Anti-nostalgia and anti-salvation. Star Wars without the Empire. How to Read Star Wars.

* Winter Is Coming: Climate Change in Westeros.

* How the Sesame Street Puppeteers Play Their Characters. It was only a year or three ago that I realized that on a basic level I’d still believed Big Bird was real; I had never thought or processed the fact that his lips were being moved by a puppeteer’s hands.

* So old I can remember when Sweet Briar was an inspiring story about a college being saved.

* On faculty and mental illness.

Study finds humanities and social science Ph.D.s working outside academe are happier than their tenure-track peers.

* Podcast alert: how does Samuel R. Delany work?

* Bang. Pow. To the Moon.

* Comedy writers name their most influential episodes: 1, 2.

* SHOCK REPORT: The tax bill is bad.

This Congress’s clear priorities: corporations, not children.

* It’ll also tax large endowments. Meanwhile in the academy: We Will Not Be Your Disposable Labor: Graduate Student Workers’ Fight Goes Beyond the GOP Assault. ‘A Complete Culture of Sexualization’: 1,600 Stories of Harassment in Higher Ed.

* Defund every agency that had any part in this. Murder Convictions Overturned, Two Men Are Immediately Seized By ICE. What happens to children whose parents are deported? 92 Somali immigrants deported in “slave-ship” conditions. ICE is abusing immigrant detainees with strip searches and threats. Shock of shocks, it turns out legal immigration is bad too.

The majority of US workers live in “employment monopsonies” where there is little or no competition for workers.

Why Doug Jones’s narrow win is not enough to make me confident about American democracy.

* Ghosts of 2012.

* First #J20 defendants found not guilty.

* The media wealth of African Americans in Boston is $8.

* People are using Uber instead of ambulances.

* The New York Times oddly reports on a Harry Reid boondoggle in a way that makes it sounds like aliens might be real.

* The Fred Moten century.

The Adult Bodies Playing Teens on TV.

* Monopolies are bad, no matter how much you like the brands involved. Avengers vs. monopoly.

“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas.

* The madness of prison gerrymanders.

* Desegregation never happened.

* Climate refugees in Louisiana. Disability and disaster response in the age of climate change. Losing the wilderness.

* The FoxConn boondoggle gets worse and worse.

* The Next Crisis for Puerto Rico: Foreclosures.

* Revising agricultural revisionism.

* Against optimism.

* Against being born.

* On the sadcom.

Your Favorite Superhero Is Probably Killing the Planet.

* Professor X Is a Jerk!

* The Daily Stormer’s style guide.

* Opoids and homelessness. 3,000,000 pills to 3,000 patients in two years. The Opioid Crisis Is Getting Worse, Particularly for Black Americans. What happens after an American city gives a homeless person a one-way ticket out of town.

* The US gymnastics scandal somehow gets worse and worse.

‘The World’s Biggest Terrorist Has a Pikachu Bedspread.’

* The Forgotten Life of Einstein’s First Wife.

* The Ghost Economy.

* WHAT YEAR IS IT: How to prepare for a nuclear attack.

Lumberjanes’ Noelle Stevenson is Rebooting She-Ra for Netflix. Sir Ian McKellen Would Totally Play Gandalf In Amazon’s TV Tolkien Adaptations. The Next Bechdel Test.

* “Paradox,” by Naomi Kritzer.

* The Journal of Prince Studies.

* 80% of workers think managers are unnecessary. The other 20% mistakingly think they are managers.

* It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the one our Founders built: The Donald Trump droid is live at Disney World’s Hall of Presidents.

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer. 55 Ways Donald Trump Structurally Changed America in 2017. Fascism has already come to America. Life expectancy declines for the second straight year. On brand.

* Heartbreaking interview with Heather Heyer’s mother.

* Jordan Peele, auteur.

* Dilbert: A Reckoning.

Still, it does make you ponder all the ways this industry works in service of power, and by extension those who abuse it. So many of comedy’s institutions are, at their core, PR machines. Branded content is Funny Or Die’s bread and butter. Every week SNL promotes someone’s new movie or TV show or album. Late night talk shows, with few exceptions, use jokes to bookend celebrity press tours. Comedians host awards shows because otherwise we might see them for the rituals they are—the wealthy and famous celebrating their own wealth and fame. Comedy normalizes power; it’s so successful at normalizing power that it feels weird to even write that as a criticism. Well, what’s wrong with normalizing power? Lots of things, but to start it lets monsters play the straight man in comedy sketches. It makes them relatable, which makes them less threatening. But power is always a threat, even more so when it seems innocuous, even more so when it seems… funny.

* 2018 is already terrible: there’ll be no more Zelda DLC.

* And remembering the reason for the season: Behold the official policy for destroying the head of Chuck E Cheese.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 23, 2017 at 10:06 am

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

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(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.

Tuesday Links!

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* CFP: Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies in Science and Popular Culture.

* “If time is money, then sleep is theft.”

* Life in the 21st Century, Part One: Reporters From Nevada’s Largest Newspaper Demand To Know Who Owns Their Company.

* And Part Two: Threats Made To Spoil Star Wars: The Force Awakens Unless Demands Are Met. The Chrome Anti-Star-Wars-Spoiler Extension Will Be With You, Always. (It actually pings the first link, but I think it was just seeing the words “Star Wars” and “spoil” in close proximity.)

In Flint, Michigan, there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared.

Why today’s long STEM postdoc positions are effectively anti-mother.

While we all take courses “outside” our field at some point, we generally sort ourselves into two groups pretty early: people who study American literature and people who study British literature. And, by the end of graduate school, we have become people who teach Introduction to American Literature and people who teach Introduction to British Literature. Finally, we become people who apply for jobs in American literature and British literature.

Tracy even sent us a certified letter demanding proof that Noah once lived, that we were his parents, and that we were the rightful owner of his photographic image. We found this so outrageous and unsettling that we filed a police report for harassment. Once Tracy realized we would not respond, he subjected us to ridicule and contempt on his blog, boasting to his readers that the “unfulfilled request” was “noteworthy” because we had used copyright claims to “thwart continued research of the Sandy Hook massacre event.” More here.

The sad economics of internet fame.

* The Chicago Teachers Union has authorized a strike.

Here’s What We Can Piece Together About the Plot of Star Trek Beyond From the Trailer.

* warof1996.com.

* More movie trailers! Synchronicity! High Rise!

* Emory Students Want Professors Evaluated on Number of Microaggressions They Commit.

* The end of Yahoo?

Josh and Jessica review “self defense” under Common Law and the Model Penal Code in analyzing whether Han Solo was legally justified in shooting Greedo first in the original Star Wars (Episode IV).

The Star Wars bit part actors who are now more popular than ever.

* “We must get to Mars before World War Three kicks off.” Well there’s a rallying cry!

* And enjoy it: it’s the last good day to be a Star Wars fan.

Wednesday!

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wglix3anizobjgyyidd1A bounce house flew away with three children inside. Unreal.

* Also unreal: Homeless Football Player Can’t Receive Fans’ Aid Due To Criminal Cartel’s Insane, Abusive Rules. Here are the salaries the administrative staff of Boise State athletics will be making while their unpaid employee is homeless.

* Think of the NCAA as a cheering squad, that gets all up into your personal life. Former Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard is a courtside fixture at Thunder games with his girlfriend. He stated in a radio interview with WWLS’ the Morning Animals that Oklahoma’s Compliance Dept. made his girlfriend sign an affidavit their relationship was legitimate and was not a ruse to provide extra benefits to an Oklahoma football player. Ikard was one of the players embroiled in “Pastagate,” where Oklahoma self-reported a secondary violation and ordered him to pay $3.83 to charity for excessive pasta consumption.

* I didn’t realize until I spoke to Rebecca Schuman about her Amherst-banning-frats piece how misguided it was. Without explicit exceptions for emergencies and assault-reporting this kind of blanket ban is obviously unworkable, and almost certainly not Title IX compliant.

 Hey, fellow educators! It’s your cousin, Gerry. You know that consolation you’ve been taking that at least your life’s work is meaningful? Well, listen to this!

* Vigilante feminism at Columbia.

* The Washington Post assigns five reporters to chase down a lie Karl Rove just made up on the spot.

Sandy Hook ‘Truther’ Tells Victim’s Mother Her Daughter Never Existed.

Arguing that school closures in cities across the country disproportionately affect African American students, community activists filed three federal civil rights complaints Tuesday challenging closures in Newark, New Orleans and Chicago and called on the Obama administration to halt similar efforts elsewhere.

Boosting school funding 20 percent erased the graduation gap between rich and poor students.

Cell Phone Video Shows Police Choking, Kicking 6th Graders.

* Fox greenlights “last man on Earth” premise it must know will get canceled immediately. They must know.

* io9: The Strange, Post-Soviet Architecture of Astana, Kazakhstan.

* Game of Mushrooms.

“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end. I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon, and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed for even an instant. If you seek to help, join the open source community and fight to keep the spirit of the press alive and the internet free. I have been to the darkest corners of government, and what they fear is light.

“You mention in your book that Snowden’s moral universe was first informed by video games.”

* Today in academic journals: Board Game Studies.

* Spurious Correlations. The truth is out there!

* Back to the top of the order: How artificial intelligence is about to disrupt higher education.

* And the Pope gets deep into my wheelhouse, says the Church would baptize aliens.

Speaking during the homily at his daily morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta inside Vatican City where he lives on Monday, he told his mostly clerical audience that they should keep an open mind to anyone—or anything—seeking God. “If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here… Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them… And one says, ‘But I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?” he asked parishioners. “When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way…’”

Wednesday Links!

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* America’s Lawless, Unaccountable Shadow Government: Opinions Differ.

Q. and A. on the Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The latest.

* Ghostbusters and the New York Public Library.

* Huge, interactive map of objects police have mistaken for guns.

The Civil Rights Act Was Not as Important as You Think.

* The greatest trick the devil ever pulled.

How a seemingly simple message 
to students brought digital-age disaster for a Wisconsin professor.

Why Cosmos Can’t Save Public Support for Science.

* The Department of Education’s scoring system for ranking the financial health of universities makes no sense.

* College admissions as socio-economic sorting.

* The Great Cost Shift.

* MOOCtastic: Harvard students told: No questions, please, we’re filming.

Should you lose your job for failing to raise 80 percent of your salary in outside grants?

* Graduate Students at Cornell Push for Workers’ Compensation. The only question is: why don’t they already have this?

* Jacob Remes introduces the CLASSE Manifesto.

* Patrick Iber on life as a long-term adjunct.

* Dialectics of whether you should let your students call you by your first name.

* If the Founding Fathers were alive today, what do you think they would say?

* There’s ideology at its purest, and then there’s Barack Obama being interviewed by Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns.

Guantánamo forever, I guess.

* During the first month of recreational marijuana sales, Colorado’s licensed dispensaries generated a total of more than $14 million, putting about $2 million of tax revenue into state coffers in the process.

* Vulture profiles Benjamin Kunkel.

* Two sentence horror stories.

Public Transit Use In U.S. Is At a 57-Year High, Report Finds. Spraying Toxic Coal Ash Is A Cheap And Popular Way To De-Ice Roads. Bitcoin is Not a Currency.

* What’s making you so fat today: antibiotics.

“You can’t mourn for the little boy he once was. You can’t fool yourself.”

* Dan Harmon: The Rolling Stone Interview. Mystery project!

* A Game Is Being Beaten.

* Ten Years of Deadwood.

* Next year on SyFy: Man Calls 911 After “Hostile” 22-Pound Cat Traps Family in Bedroom.

* Space Opera on the TV.

BBC America gathers HUGE all-star cast for history of sci-fi documentary.

* That’s cheery: Drones will cause an upheaval of society like we haven’t seen in 700 years.

* Study: Nuclear Reactors Are Toxic to Surrounding Areas, Especially With Age. No one could have predicted!

* Now human activity makes it rain on the weekends. God, we’re the worst.

* Gasp! Center For American Progress Takes Direction From Obama White House.

* The Supreme Court: as always, why we can’t have nice things.

Milwaukee homicides rose 15% last year.

The Almighty Star Trek Lit-verse Reading Order Flowchart.

The Exquisite Wistfulness of 19th-Century Vegetarian Personal Ads.

* And they say there’s never any good news, but Sbarro’s has filed for bankruptcy.

Friday Links, Part Two!

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* Insert cheap infallibility joke here: Vatican Misspells ‘Jesus’ on Thousands of Commemorative Medals.

Dwarf Fortress: A Marxist Analysis.

* Rutgers rejects Pearson deal.

“There’s nothing about this online business model that saves students money,” said David M. Hughes, professor of anthropology. “This is not about Rutgers trying to increase the access and affordability of its offerings. In fact, it’s supposed to bring in a great deal of revenue for both Pearson and Rutgers.”

According the agreement, Pearson will receive half of the tuition revenue in the first academic year. The share drops as more students enroll; if Rutgers were to meet its 2019 enrollment goal, for example, Pearson would take 45 percent the next academic year. Hughes said a growth in enrollment and tuition revenue should be accompanied by more tenured faculty members, not corporate profits.

Breaking Away: Top Public Universities Push for ‘Autonomy’ From States.

* Here are the facts: Piedmont hasn’t turned away anything close to 100 applicants for nursing school. Even if it had, the college could not possibly squeeze the $400,000-a-year cost of instructing them out of its prison furniture purchases, which were below $100,000 last year. Piedmont is not even required to buy furniture from the state, though it must get a waiver to shop elsewhere. Great story though bro.

An Extended Government Shutdown Threatens To Halt Rape Kits In Washington, DC. Congressman: Workers Furloughed In Shutdown Should Not Get Backpay. North Carolina Reverses Course, Promises Nutrition Assistance For Moms And Babies.

Gun Groups Declare Newtown Massacre Anniversary “Guns Save Lives Day.

* Google crawls into bed with ALEC.

* Tom Hiddleston IS Owen Wilson AS Loki.

Fertilizer Plant That Exploded In West, Texas Faces $118,300 In Fines, Which You Can Basically Just Round Down to Zero.

And some beautiful LEGO.

BLEGO_234.jpg.CROP.original-original

Thursday

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National Louis, a private, nonprofit institution based in the greater Chicago metropolitan region, served about 10,000 students before the restructuring process in 2012. In addition to terminating 63 faculty members, among them 16 tenured professors, the institution eliminated four departments in its College of Arts and Sciences: English, fine arts, mathematics and natural sciences. Today, about 8,300 students attend the university — 9 in 10 on a part-time basis. What does this school teach if not English or math or arts or science? What’s left?

The fertilizer plant that exploded in West, Texas on Wednesday night was fined by the Environmental Protection agency in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan that met federal standards, an EPA report shows. 

Yesterday’s Senate Gun Control Vote Was Even More Undemocratic Than It Appeared. Angus crunches the numbers.

In twenty-one of the nation’s 50 states, both Senators yesterday voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment. Although those 42 Senators represent less than half the body, they represent more than half the country — 157 million people out of 313 million. The 16 states whose Senators both voted against the amendment, in contrast, represent less than a quarter of the nation, but nearly a third of the senate. That’s the equivalent of dividing the country up into states of equal population, but giving the no-vote states three senators each, and the yes-vote states just two.

And what of the other states, the ones who split their votes yesterday? Well, if you allocate half of their population to each senator, and add up the totals, you find that senators representing 62.7% of the nation’s population voted for Manchin-Toomey yesterday.

Gun Violence Victims Detained, Put Through Background Check For Yelling ‘Shame On You’ At Senators. Conservative radio host: Families of Newtown shooting victims can ‘go to hell.’

Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss.

They lost their kids. What would Bob Davis have lost even if the bill passed?

What Happened to Working-Class New York?

And Bill to Create ‘New University of California’ Dies. Here’s the current state of proposed flexible online education in California. Amended Steinberg is still privatization.