Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘scandals

Wednesday Links!

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* People are figuring out that the “anthology” era of Star Wars was a bad idea. And a chilling report from the set of Han Solo: Ron Howard Once Defended Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Calling It “Truly Amazing.”

Behind the Scenes of Disney’s Donald Trump ‘Hall of Presidents’ Drama.

* The Year of Octavia.

* In the same vein, the proliferating but ever meaningless distinctions between the “bad” Uber and the “good” Lyft have obscured how destructive the rise of ride-sharing has been for workers and the cities they live in. The predatory lawlessness that prevails inside Valley workplaces scales up and out. Both companies entered their markets illegally, without regard to prevailing wages, regulations, or taxes. Like Amazon, which found a way to sell books without sales tax, this turned out to be one of the many illegal boons.

* Democrats and the working class.

Senate postpones health care vote as critical mass of Republicans defect. Keep calling! Tens of thousands per year. Trumpcare kills.

This chart shows the stunning trade-off at the heart of the GOP health plan.

* Democrats Help Corporate Donors Block California Health Care Measure, and Progressives Lose Again.

* Destroying the university in Illinois.

Chaffetz calls for $2,500 legislator/month housing stipend.

* Sometimes ideology critique just writes itself.

And Now Director Jon Watts Claims Peter Parker Was In Iron Man 2.

Someone’s Trying to Adapt Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series Again.

* I say teach the controversy.

* Communism — for kids!

As Lake Chad vanishes, seven million people are on the brink of starvation.

The inside story of how TMZ quietly became America’s most potent pro-Trump media outlet.

* So what is lectureporn? It is the media spectacle of a lecture whose audience is the opponent of the lecture’s intended target.

Trinity Suspends Targeted Professor. And U Delaware. Why can’t free speech advocates ever defend adjunct professors and people of color? Stop firing professors for having controversial views, says academic.

 But as the land enters its 120th year in the family, the Allens are struggling to hold on to it. Because of ambiguities surrounding the land’s title, there is no primary owner of the property; all of the heirs of the original owners—and there are more than 100 known heirs—are legally co-owners. As such, the land is classified as “heirs’ property,” a designation that makes it vulnerable to being sold without the family’s full consent. As the Allens attempt to overcome a stacked legal system—exacerbated by corrupt lawyers and predatory developers—they are at the center of a decades-long fight to retain black-owned land across the South.

* Social media won’t let toxic grudges die.

* Trump’s EPA won’t let toxic pesticides die.

Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize.

* Amazing the stories that don’t even rate as scandals in this trainwreck administration.

* As predicted, the Super Nintendo Classic is on its way.

The Tory-DUP Deal Proves the Magic Money Tree Is Real.

* Lynching and the sick history of the death penalty.

In Sumterville, Florida, in 1902, a black man named Henry Wilson was convicted of murder in a trial that lasted just two hours and forty minutes. To mollify the mob of armed whites that filled the courtroom, the judge promised a death sentence that would be carried out by public hanging—despite state law prohibiting public executions. Even so, when the execution was set for a later date, the enraged mob threatened, “We’ll hang him before sundown, governor or no governor.” In response, Florida officials moved up the date, authorized Wilson to be hanged before the jeering mob, and congratulated themselves on having “avoided” a lynching.

* Huge Star Trek: Discovery scoop: the entire series is a Holodeck program Riker is running during a commercial break.

* When you don’t want your hip retro soundtrack to be scooped.

* “Nuclear power plant faces backlash after choosing interns by way of a bikini competition.” Photos at the link, of course; this is the Internet, after all…

The ‘i before e, except after c’ rule is a giant lie.

* The weird logic of Facebook’s hate speech algorithms.

* SF short of the night: They Will All Die in Space.

* An AI Generates the Inspirational Posters We Need Right Now.

* And because you demanded it, it’s back up at An und für sich: Why remake The Handmaid’s Tale now? Gilead as ISIS.

June Links — Supplemental

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The Department of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton invites applications for two tenure-track positions at the rank of Assistant Professor to begin Fall 2017.

* A New Hope, as it was always meant to be experienced: as infographic.

* Really, actually ideology at its purest: ‘There is a future for Harambe’: Cincinnati zoo reveal sperm was removed from gorilla who was shot dead so he could still become a father.

Modern zoos represent a worldview that no longer puts humanity at the top of a ladder of existence, but now in the middle of a web of life, distinguished mostly by our power to destroy or enhance the world around us.

* Murder-suicide at UCLA. Police are suggesting a student may have murdered a professor.

Lost Superstitions of the Early-20th-Century United States.

Airships and Reanimated Corpses from the Pages of Early Science Fiction.

* If Osama bin Laden had not existed, the United States would have had to invent him. Although William V. Spanos never quite puts it that way, this claim nevertheless encapsulates one of the fundamental insights of Redeemer Nation in the Interregnum: An Untimely Meditation on the American Vocation — namely, that American exceptionalism entails a dense knotting together of the vitality of the nation and targeted killing. The very being of America as a more-than-merely-national nation hinges on its capacity to obliterate its enemies in the most spectacular fashion, while simultaneously arrogating the life-force or resources of its enemies for itself.

* “Why I Was Wrong About Liberal-Arts Majors.”

* “In terms of the labor market, 2016 is a great year to graduate.” The Graduate Opportunity Index. For-Profit College Grads Earn Less Money Than They Did Before College.

* The Trump University Scam seems pretty egregious even by Trump’s standards.

Trump Has a Conflict-of-Interest Problem No Other White House Candidate Ever Had.

I’m trying not to get tired of saying this, but just try to imagine what the reaction would be if Hillary Clinton came out to defend herself against some perfectly reasonable questions, and said “The press should be ashamed of themselves” or pointed to a reporter and said, “You’re a sleaze.” She wouldn’t be criticized or questioned, she’d be crucified. Reporters would ask if she had lost her mind and was having a nervous breakdown. There would be demands for her to pull out of the race immediately, since she had shown herself to be so unstable.

If Trump is the ultimate media alpha dog, Weiner is the flawed prototype, equally repulsed by and addicted to his notoriety.

Applications for TFA’s two-year teaching stints have plummeted 35 percent during the past three years, forcing the organization to reexamine and reinvent how it sells itself to prospective corps members. It has been focusing particularly on how to engage students at the nation’s most-selective colleges, where the decline in interest has been among the steepest. The improving economy probably has far more to do with this than any anti-TFA publicity campaign.

* The idea that young workers should cut their teeth by working long hours for low pay, or even for free, is the result of employers holding all the cards in the economy. It’s the same phenomenon that lets businesses get away with lax safety standards, unpredictable schedules, and offering scant benefits. By making it harder for employers to demand extra hours as part of the job, the overtime rule is an important tool to shift the balance of power towards working people.

* “Magic Is Ruining Game of Thrones.

* Salvage Perspectives #3: Or What’s a Hell For?

This stunning Korean thriller is the summer’s first great movie.

But the future has always been several: how could it be otherwise, when it hasn’t happened yet? The millennial or apocalyptic future, the future that abolishes time itself, is not the same as the prophetic future of a possible or desired outcome, which is not the same as speculative future of science fiction, which is not the same as the future envisaged by a calendar or a to-do list, which is not the same as the future of the high-yield bond, which is not the same as the future which will involve you reading the next sentence, or deciding not to. But what all these have in common with the phenomenological future – the one involved in the direct sensation of time passing, the thing that draws further out of reach the closer you get to it – is their slipperiness. Futures can never be touched or experienced, only imagined; this is why they’re as diverse as the human psyche, and why they tend to be so dreamlike: at turns ludic, libidinal, or monstrous.

* Not White, Not Rich, and Seeking Therapy.

At thirteen, a neglectful foster system tore me from the only woman I ever wanted to call “Mom.” Decades later I tracked her down and finally got my happy ending.

* New Orleans’s New Flood Maps: An Outline for Disaster.

* Jay and Miles Overthink X-Men: Apocalypse.

* The last political compass test you’ll ever need.

* After a Life of Punches, Ex-N.H.L. Enforcer Is a Threat to Himself: Stephen Peat has symptoms — memory loss and headaches — often associated with C.T.E., a brain disease linked to head trauma.

‘It’s only working for the white kids’: American soccer’s diversity problem.

* And Another Small Private Closes Its Doors: Dowling College.

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End of the Semester Fire Sale: Every Link Must Go

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* Another galaxy is possible: Toshiro Mifune turned down Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader roles.

* CFP: Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2016.

The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

* Huntington’s disease and engineered humanity.

* A little on-the-nose, don’t you think? USS Milwaukee breaks down at sea.

* Elsewhere on the Milwaukee beat: Millennials: They’re Just Like Us!

College Football Coaches Are Making Millions Off A Useless Metric.

* AAUP calls UI search a ‘crude exercise in naked power.’

Report Highlights Faculty Conditions at Jesuit Colleges.

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to publish internationally bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson’s first stand-alone short story in twenty-five years.

* The Marquette Tribune did a short followup on my magic and literature class, returning this spring.

* 95,000 Words, Many of Them Ominous, From Donald Trump’s Tongue. How Will the Professors Act When Fascism Comes to America? I asked 5 fascism experts whether Donald Trump is a fascist. Here’s what they said. Understanding Trumpism the Scott Adams Way. And here’s where things get wild: GOP preparing for contested convention. Trumpism would be the perfect ideology for a third party.

When Popular Fiction Isn’t Popular: Genre, Literary, and the Myths of Popularity.

* On English studies and ennui. Gee, I wonder why a cohort of people who have discovered too late that they have committed themselves to an imploding profession might feel a little bit depressed.

* On the plus side: More Useless Liberal Arts Majors Could Destroy ISIS.

* The College of Saint Rose has laid off a number of tenured faculty, among them Scott Lemieux.

* Another mass shooting was over. The country had moved on. But inside one house in Oregon, a family was discovering the unending extent of a wound.

* Every year, roughly 40,000 people die in Minnesota. For some, it’s weeks or months before anyone finds them. Meet the crew who comes in to clean up the mess.

Amazing Graphics Show How Much Fruits Have Changed Since Humans Started Growing Them.

* At least five police officers present during a shooting that was captured on a video that has created a firestorm of protest in this city supported a discredited version of events told by the officer who fired the fatal shots, newly released records show. Laquan McDonald and police perjury: a way forward. The U.S. Department of Justice unit that investigates civil rights violations by police departments has only about 18 employees who work on such investigations full-time. According to a former head of the unit, a forthcoming probe into the Chicago PD could overwhelm its “ridiculously small” staff. Good luck to them! Meanwhile, Rahm tries to hold on to power despite a clear need to resign.

* Here’s how Las Vegas police halted a trend in excessive force.

* In the 1950s, a group of scientists spoke out against the dangers of nuclear weapons. Should cryptographers take on the surveillance state. 

* How the Democrats flubbed San Bernardino. The worst part is most them seem not to have noticed.

* Nice work if you can get it: Top 20 billionaires worth as much as half of America.

* An Isochronic Map of the World from London, c. 1914. More links after the map!

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* The geography of student debt.

* UBI in Finland — though it looks a bit like stealth social safety net cuts to me.

* On Jane Vonnegut.

Does America Deserve Malala?

* @Batman66labels.

* Obama scandal watch: This one does seem pretty corrupt, actually.

* Abandoned America: the Hershey Chocolate Factory.

* God save Title IX from its champions: ‘Hunting Ground’ Filmmakers to Harvard Law Profs: Criticizing Our Film Could Create a ‘Hostile Climate.’ When the core belief is that accusers never lie, if any one accuser has lied, it brings into question the stability of the entire thought system, rendering uncertain all allegations of sexual assault. But this is neither sensible nor necessary: that a few claims turn out to be false does not mean that all, most, or even many claims are wrongful. The imperative to act as though every accusation must be true—when we all know some number will not be—harms the over-all credibility of sexual assault claims. Relatedly, Newsweek has an article covering “the other side” of campus rape investigations.

* Telltale will make a Batman game.

* Two strikes against the next Wes Anderson movie: “…it’s a Japanese story and I’m playing a dog.”

* The Last Dalai Lama?

Servicemen Contradict Military’s Account Of Attack On MSF Hospital In Afghanistan.

* The arc of history is long, but Red Mars is finally going to series.

* Last year carbon emissions dropped while the economy grew for the first time in history.

* On anorexia.

* Public history at UNC: tracing the history of building names.

Reading Flannery O’Connor in the Age of Islamophobia.

* ACA collapse watch: The lone health insurance cooperative to make money last year on the Affordable Care Act’s public insurance exchanges is now losing millions and suspending individual enrollment for 2016.

* The Sports Bubble Is About to Pop. Don’t Let Kids Play Football. It’s Time To Take The Warriors’ Chances Of Going 73-9 Seriously. Golden State Warriors: best team in NBA history? The last team to start 20-0 like the Warriors was so good that its league folded.

* Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence.

All The Items Of Clothing Women Have Been Told Not To Wear In 2015.

This Supercut of All the Non-Leia Female Dialogue in the Original Star Wars Trilogy Will Astound You.

* The Founders and Islam.

* These People Took DDT Pills In the 1970s to Prove it Was Safe.

Being a good looking man could hinder your career, study finds. Happiness Doesn’t Bring Good Health, Study Finds. Stonehenge may have been first erected in Wales, evidence suggests.

* Why didn’t anyone stop Doctor Hardy?

* Latinx.

* Vice got the Rachel Dolezal profile.

Fractal Problems in Comparative Domestic Policy.

* How D.C. spent $200 million over a decade on a streetcar you still can’t ride.

* Kill Bill 3, please.

* Serial‘s back y’all. UPDATE: And it’s already super irritating!

UFO truthers want to make Roswell an issue for 2016. Meet their lobbyist.

Ron Howard says Arrested Development season 5 is in the writing stage.

* Teach the controversy: Building the Death Star Was an Economic Catastrophe.

* Pretty grim America: Gun Rights Groups to Hold Fake Mass Shooting at UT This Weekend.

* Just another here’s-what-happens-when-you-adopt-a-chimp story.

FDA Approves Device That Can Plug Gunshot Wounds in 15 Seconds.

The Definitive Guide to Sci-Fi Drugs Was Produced by the Government in the 1970s.

Why are so many toddlers being put on heavy psychiatric drugs?

* All right, I’m in: Margaret Atwood Is Writing A Part-Cat, Part-Owl, Part-Human Superhero Comic.

* xkcd explains the Three Laws of Robotics.

* Well, at least now we know.

* I’ve had dreams like this.

* And in an age without heroes, there was Matt Haughey.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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What Day Is It? Links

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* Jaimee’s book was reviewed in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last week. We spent the weekend in DC for her book launch and reading at the Folger, which was amazing. She just absolutely killed it. Buy her book! And come to her reading in Milwaukee next week…

Part of the issue is an image problem around the impact of humanities research on the wider world. The public should know about Priscilla Wald, an English professor at Duke University, whose explanation of the “outbreak narrative” of contagion is changing the way scientists think about the spread of infectious diseases. Yeah they should! Humanities research is groundbreaking, life-changing… and ignored.

* “The Time Traveller,” a story in tweets by Alberto Chimal.

* “Nuclear War” Turns 50: A Fun Game about Human Extinction.

Slave labor either physically built the modern American university or was the wealth vehicle that conditioned its making.

* Professorial anger, then and now. A bit more here.

Every NYT Higher-Ed Thinkpiece Ever Written. How to write an essay about teaching that will not be published in the NYTChronicle, IHE, or anywhere else.

* Bousquet against alt-ac.

* The semipublic intellectual.

* What happens when you fiddle with just one knob on the infernal machine: rich people get richer.

* Billionaires and superstorms.

* Nice work if you can get it.

* Meanwhile.

Are Public Universities Going to Disappear?

* The care work of the (mostly female) academic: “I estimate that someone cries in my office at least once every three weeks.”

* Playboy‘s science fiction.

* An incredibly rare Tolkien-annotated map of Middle-Earth was just discovered in a used bookstore.

* Highly irregular: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be considered the eighth book in the Harry Potter series.

In a final speech to the synod, Pope Francis endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President of the United States, while taking some clear swipes at conservatives who hold up church doctrine above all else, and use it to cast judgment on others.

What Happens if a Former CEO Actually Goes to Prison?

Cop Attacks High School Student In Her Classroom.

The Hoverboard Scene In Back To The Future 2 Nearly Killed A Stuntwoman. Amazing story.

* Look, I’m not made of stone.

* A Google Tour Through The Underground: How to Read a Russian Novel Set in the Moscow Metro.

* NLRB Returns to Grad Student Unions.

* Bring on the climate trials: ICN has demonstrated that as early as the late 1970s, Exxon scientists were briefing top executives that climate change was real, dangerous, and caused by their product. By the early 1980s, their own climate models were predicting—with great accuracy—the track the global temperature has taken ever since. Meanwhile.

* David Mitchell on A Wizard of Earthsea.

* College sports: still the worst.

A statue of Vladimir Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Odessa has been given a sci-fi twist – by being transformed into Darth Vader.

* Portugal has apparently smartly baked the potential for coups in its official constitutional order.

Emolument took data from both the US and UK and found that while science grads get a bit of a headstart straight out of university in terms of pay, in later life it’s people with humanities degrees who tend to get bigger pay cheques.

* How to Make a Virtuoso Violinist: One mother’s devastating study of 100 musical prodigies.

A DEA Agent Who Helped Take Down Silk Road Is Going to Prison for Unbelievable Corruption.

The Ecological Uncanny: On the “Southern Reach” Trilogy.

* Boondoggle watch: The City of Milwaukee has been awarded a $14.2 million federal grant for construction of a spur connecting the streetcar with the lakefront.

* “Many Colleges’ New Emergency Plan: Try to Account for Every Possibility.” Well, that’ll work.

Should a Cal State Fullerton math professor be forced to have his students use $180 textbook, written by his boss? Why is Cal State letting the math department chair require his own book?

The Man Behind the Dragon Tattoo: Former Internationalen editor Håkan Blomqvist on the socialist politics of his colleague Stieg Larsson.

“They didn’t hire me, they hired me minus 35 pounds,” Fisher recently quipped.

* The arc of history is long, but Subway will finally pay for calling an eleven-inch sandwich a “footlong.” Next up: they shouldn’t be allowed to call that bread.

* Miracles and wonders: Landmark Huntington’s trial starts.

* Star Wars but with philosophers.

* “Blood alcohol concentration predicts utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas.”

* Sesame Street will introduce an autistic muppet.

* I hate it when Yglesias is right, but sometimes he’s right: Democrats are in denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble. Down-ballot the Obama years have been a complete disaster in ways no one in the party seems ready or able to face.

Wesleyan University’s student assembly is considering substantial cuts to the student newspaper’s budget, in a move that is surely *completely unrelated* to a truly stupid recent uproar when the paper published an unpopular op-ed. The paper is soliciting donations to stay alive.

* My brilliant colleague C.J. Hribal on his old house.

* The secret linguistic life of girls.

* Talkin’ Trash with Brian Thill and Pinar Yoldas.

Police “disappeared” more than 7,000 people at an off-the-books interrogation warehouse in Chicago, nearly twice as many detentions as previously disclosed, the Guardian can now reveal.

* A literary history of whales.

The Deadly Legacy of HIV Truthers.

Things Men In Literature Have Died From.

Exploring ‘Cartozia Tales,’ The Crowdfunded Fantasy Anthology for Readers of All Ages.

* Nabokov v. Kafka on drawing the monster.

* “Gentlemen, I just don’t belong here”: throwing shade the Le Guin way.

* Guys, we are definitely living inside a simulation. And possibly just a few years away from either crashing it or figuring out how to hack it.

* And teach the controversy: Luke Skywalker, Sith Lord. I really think this is just an effective viral marketing ploy, but I’ll concede I’m starting to have my doubts.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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* The commentators calling $3,000 salaries evil a century ago would have an aneurysm at the sight of coaching contracts today. Deadspin found last year that college football coaches were the highest-paid state employees in twenty-seven states. (Basketball coaches held that status in another thirteen.) The salary inflation is a direct product of increasing college sports revenue, thanks in large part to massive television deals. Because the colleges and their athletic departments are nonprofit, they need to spend the money they bring in, and since they can’t pay players, there are only so many places that money can go. Head coaches and other athletic staffers are direct beneficiaries.

* My Favorite Graph of 2014: The Rise and Rise of the Top 0.1 Percent.

* Americans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion.

* Elsewhere in the richest society ever in the history of the world.

* David Harvey and Leo Panitch: Beyond Impossible Reform and Improbable Revolution.

* North Korea, Sony, and stenography.

* The successful attempt to reduce fat in the diet of Americans and others around the world has been a global, uncontrolled experiment, which like all experiments may well have led to bad outcomes. What’s more, it has initiated a further set of uncontrolled global experiments that are continuing. Editorial in the British Medical Journal.

A new study from Stanford looks at what happened in Italy, when a 1961 law doubled the number of students in STEM majors graduating from the country’s universities.

* …when people claim that the “free market” system outproduced Soviet Communism, what they are saying is that markets more effectively produced discipline. It was more successful at imposing patterns of human action and restriction conducive to military and economic production than a command economy was capable of imposing.

“Why Is My Curriculum White?”

When Rioting is Rational.

* If Tom Joad is alive after 1945, what is his future? Am I the only who sees him becoming a conservative like most of his fellow ex-sharecropper migrants and voting for Goldwater in 64? Grapes of Wrath fanfic at LGM.

* Neill Blomkamp’s Secret Alien Movie Looks So Good We’re Furious.

Math Suggests Most Cancers Are Caused By “Bad Luck.”

* Florida: We’re The Worst. Arizona: Not So Fast.

* And then there’s Wisconsin. Pregnant woman challenging Wisconsin protective custody law.

At the clinic, a urine test showed Loertscher was pregnant, and also revealed her past drug use. Another test confirmed she had a severe thyroid condition.

Medical officials shared the findings with the county social services personnel, who subsequently went to court and had a guardian ad litem appointed for Loertscher’s 14-week-old fetus.

Social workers asked Loertscher repeatedly to release her medical records to county officials, and said that if she didn’t, she would be jailed until she had her baby, which would then be put up for adoption.

* Is the Gates Foundation Still Investing in Private Prisons?

* UNC-Chapel Hill Firing Professor Over Academic Fraud Scandal.

* Lines mankind was never meant to cross: LEGO Awarded 3D Printing Patent, May Allow Users to Print Own Bricks.

* The NYPD is Ironically Proving that Most of Their Police Work is Completely Unnecessary. The Benefits of Fewer NYPD Arrests.

* The eclipse of democracy.

* And Traci Reardon and J.W. Stillwater have a good old fashioned New Year’s Sentiment Off.

Wednesday Links!

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*  I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career…

* The first episode of Kumail Nanjani, Jonah Ray, and Emily Gordon’s new show The Meltdown is available for free on Amazon. Watch it for the last comic alone.

The Most Shocking Result in World Cup History. A note on Brazil’s loss and David Luiz’s tears. How Does Germany’s Blowout of Brazil Compare to Those in Other Sports?

World Cup Soccer Stats Erase The Sport’s Most Dominant Players: Women.

* World Cup scandal, 1990.

* Dialectics of the Trigger Warning Wars.

* In a MOOC Mystery, a Course Suddenly Vanishes.

* The inertia of the suburbs.

* Jury nullification in The Nation.

* It’s Official: No One Wants to Host the Winter Olympics.

* BREAKING: There aren’t actually any moderates. In no small part this is because the band of acceptable political opinions in the US is already extremely narrow to begin with.

* Science Daily reported that researchers have discovered a means of predicting whether an individual will become a binge drinker by 16 years of age by imaging their 14-year-old brains.

* It’s a glimpse of what Britain’s chief medical officer Sally Davies calls the “apocalyptic scenario” of a post-antibiotic era, which the World Health Organisation says will be upon us this century unless something drastic is done.

* Smallpox discovered sitting in Maryland storage room.

* Kirkus has a long writeup on the life and career of Octavia Butler. I get a namecheck in the final paragraph as the premier scholarly authority on the size of the finding aid.

* Marvel Comics: The Secret History. Oh, what might have been!

17. Michael Jackson looked into buying Marvel Comics in the late ’90s because he wanted to play Spider-Man in a movie.

* Harry Potter at 34.

* Science fiction as R&D lab.

* And if you want to drive to South America, here are your options for crossing the Darien Gap. Good luck! You will not be ransomed.

Friday Links!

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* ‘We Come from the Future’: a short piece on African SF.

* Zadie Smith says her next novel is SF.

As for her own next move, she says it will be a total departure: a science-fiction romp. She has been reading a lot of Ursula K Le Guin. ‘It’s a concept novel. It’s the only novel I’ve ever written that has a plot, which is thrilling. I don’t know if I can do it. Those books are incredibly hard to write.’

* Giant, oil-belching sinkhole dooms more than 100 homes in Louisiana.

* Valences of the IRS scandal.

* I believe this is explicitly against the law governing the CIA: Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general’s report.

* A nation of temps: 15% of job growth since 2009, 40% or more in many urban areas.

Temp jobs accounted for whopping 116 percent of job growth in Memphis (that means that one sector added more jobs than all other industries together), 66 percent in Birmingham, 65 percent in Cincinnati, 58 percent in Hartford, 51 percent in Milwaukee, 46 percent in Kansas City, and 40 percent or more in Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

* The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed.

* ‘Black Babies Cost Less’: The Racial Realities of Adoption in America. Can’t help trying to pair this with the Baby Veronica nightmare still making its way back and forth through the courts.

* More nightmares: Worker Sues Employer For The Death Of Her Baby.

* End of an era at the Met.

* Obama at the door of no return.

* Cleveland State figures out inventive way to punish students it’s already failing.

Cleveland State University undergraduates will see a 2-percent tuition increase this fall but can get it back as a credit on the next year’s tuition through an innovative program approved Wednesday by university trustees.

Beginning in the fall, students who complete 30 course credits in an academic year in good standing can earn the rebate for the following year. Students also will receive $100 per semester in book credits.

Meritocracy! Catch the fever.

* The high cost of autism.

* Land of the God-Men: Inside the Wild Movement to Turn Us All into Immortal Cyborgs. I’m listening…

* “The Lottery” letters.

* And Rick Perry, wow. I mean wow.

During his remarks, the Texas governor also described Davis’ filibuster as “hijacking of the Democratic process” and said of the pro-choice movement, “the louder they scream, the more we know that we are getting something done.”