Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘scarcity

Tuesday Afternoon Links!

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* Public showings of the Tolkien Manuscripts at Marquette, 2016-2017.

Don’t Panic, But There’s An Asteroid Right Over There.

Why is the keynote speech such a train wreck at most academic conferences?

* Because it’s that time of year again: my two-part piece from Inside Higher Ed from a few years back on entering the academic job market as an ABD, 1, 2. But of course:

How to Do a Better Job of Searching for Diversity.

* How could anyone think graduate students shouldn’t have a Plan B?

* Great teaching document: Some Notes on How to Ask a Good Question about Theory That Will Provoke Conversation and Further Discussion from Your Colleagues.

* And more: Making a classroom discussion an actual discussion.

* Trump: graft :: Clinton : paranoia.

* Disability and utopia.

* And marrying the last two links: One in Six Eligible Voters Has a Disability.

* “Debate” and the end of the public sphere.

* Let history be our judge: Pepe the Frog, an explainer.

If Hillary Had to Drop Out, Here’s How a New Democratic Candidate Would be Chosen. Former DNC chairman calls for Clinton contingency plan.

Researchers at the Karadag Nature Reserve, in Feodosia, Russia, recorded two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, called Yasha and Yana, talking to each other in a pool. They found that each dolphin would listen to a sentence of pulses without interruption, before replying.

Ancient Black Astronauts and Extraterrestrial Jihads: Islamic Science Fiction as Urban Mythology.

A librarian donated $4 million to his alma mater. $100,000 is being given to the library. $1 million is being used to buy A SCOREBOARD.

* NCAA vs. NC.

Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class.

* CFP: this xkcd.

* Demystifying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

* Going viral this week: extinction illusions.

* In search of the universal language.

Reported Concussions in Youth Soccer Soar a Mere 1,600 Percent in 25 Years, According to Study.

* Nice work if you can get it: Wells Fargo won’t claw back $125m retirement bonus from exec who oversaw 2m frauds.

* Sexting in the seventh grade.

Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Is Working.

How the sugar industry has distorted health science for more than 50 years.

* Stories that should be more exciting than they are: We Were Wrong About Where the Moon Came From!

* I read Jason Shiga’s Demon as a crowdfunder — it’s great. Check out the first volume when it comes to print next month.

* Special providence: Catfish Falls From The Sky, Hits Woman In The Face.

The organizing economic metaphor of all of Against Everything is artificial scarcity. The concept usually refers to the way that monopolistic sellers exploit their excessive market power to restrict supply so they can raise prices. Greif’s view is more capacious and idiosyncratic: He describes a culture where the affluent, at sea in a world of abundance, engage in the elaborate restriction of their own demand (to kitsch diners, ethnic food, inappropriately youthful sexual partners). This turns what could be unfussy gratification into resource-intensive performance. On one level, this is about making a technically meaningless life more diverting, but it also gives our atomized selves the comfort of belonging. It serves to differentiate “people like me” from those other, worse people—those without access to the most current information, say, or simply the economic means to act on it. What gives n+1’s economistic turn its authority and novelty is the way Greif and his colleagues show that the market is not, as someone like Gary Becker had it, a bazaar untainted by sinister, irrational notions (discrimination, exploitation, class prejudice), but a site where those things are given free play under cover of neutral utility-maximizing exchange. They have taught us to speak the softer insights of theory (with its sensitivity to symbolic difference and its hermeneutics of suspicion) in the hardheaded but incantatory vernacular of the powerful.

Millions of containers, thousands of ships, hundreds of scientists, 30 laws, 15 federal agencies, and we still can’t prevent the next foodborne illness outbreak.

* The New Yorker remembers the Wilmington coup of 1898.

* And I’m catching up late, but man oh man, Bojack Horseman is a good show.

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However Many Links You Think There Are In This Post, There Are Actually More Links Than That

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9710380815_b64e98462e_b* First, they cast Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, and I said nothing.

* de Boer v. Schuman re: Hopkins. It’s not the supply, it’s the demand.

The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto.

Earth’s Quietest Place Will Drive You Crazy in 45 Minutes.

If I worked at Kansas University, this post might get me fired.

* Rortybomb v. the social safety net.

* Charlie Stross v. Bitcoin.

* X-tend the Allegory: What if the X-Men actually were black? Essay version. Via.

“Men’s Rights” Trolls Spammed Us With 400 Fake Rape Reports.

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency.’ It’s already here. 96 Percent Of Network Nightly News’ Coverage Of Extreme Weather Doesn’t Mention Climate Change. The year in fossil fuel disasters.

* “Unfathomable”: Why Is One Commission Trying to Close California’s Largest Public College? ACCJC Gone Wild.

San Jose State University has all but ended its experiment to offer low-cost, high-quality online education in partnership with the massive open online course provider Udacity after a year of disappointing results and growing dismay among faculty members.

Data Mining Exposes Embarrassing Problems For Massive Open Online Courses.

CSU-Pueblo revising budget downward; up to 50 jobs at risk, loss of $3.3M.

* For-Profit College Oakbridge Academy Of Arts Suddenly Shuts Down.

* “This kid was dealt a bad hand. I don’t know quite why. That’s just the way God works. Sometimes some of us are lucky and some of us are not,” the billionaire told Politicker, calling her plight “a sad situation.”

In Defense of ‘Entitlements.’

* The way we die now.

* Oh, I see, there’s your problem right there. Links continue below the graph.

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“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

* World’s first full-size Lego car can hit 20 mph, powered by insane, 256-cylinder compresed air engine.

Scott Walker signals he will sign school mascot bill.

Thieves steal risqué calendars, leave protest signs.

* DC Passes Great Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Days Bills. What’s in Them?

* France institutes a carbon tax.

Community Season 5 Feels Like An Old Friend Has Finally Come Home.

62 Percent of Restaurant Workers Don’t Wash Their Hands After Handling Raw Beef.

* Mars by night.

* Shock in Ohio: No evidence of plot to register non-citizen voters. That only proves how successful the conspiracy has been!

* Wow: Tampa Toddler Thriving After Rare 5-Organ Transplant.

* The Decline of the US Death Penalty. Still illegal to murder people in Detroit (maybe). 15 Things That We Re-Learned About the Prison Industrial Complex in 20123. Data Broker Removes Rape-Victims List After Journal Inquiry.

* The true story of the original “welfare queen.”

Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable.

* The 16 Colleges and Universities Where It’s Hardest to Get an A.

* Michael Pollan on plant intelligence.

Signs Taken as Wonders: Žižek and the Apparent Interpreter.

Marriage equality reaches New Mexico.

A vigil planned as a peaceful remembrance of a teen killed in police custody ended with tear gas and arrests Thursday night in downtown Durham.

* An oral history of the Cones of Dunshire.

* On scarcity and the Federation.

* “Characters” trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

* And ion has your science fiction postage stamps.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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‘One Thing We Can Be Certain of Is That Capitalism Will End’

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Peter Frase on post-scarcity post-capitalism: Taken to its logical extreme, this dynamic brings us to the point where the economy does not require human labor at all. This does not automatically bring about the end of work or of wage labor, as has been falsely predicted over and over in response to new technological developments. But it does mean that human societies will increasingly face the possibility of freeing people from involuntary labor. Whether we take that opportunity, and how we do so, will depend on two major factors, one material and one social. The first question is resource scarcity: the ability to find cheap sources of energy, to extract or recycle raw materials, and generally to depend on the Earth’s capacity to provide a high material standard of living to all. A society that has both labor-replacing technology and abundant resources can overcome scarcity in a thoroughgoing way that a society with only the first element cannot. The second question is political: what kind of society will we be? One in which all people are treated as free and equal beings, with an equal right to share in society’s wealth? Or a hierarchical order in which an elite dominates and controls the masses and their access to social resources?

There are therefore four logical combinations of the two oppositions, resource abundance vs. scarcity and egalitarianism vs. hierarchy. To put things in somewhat vulgar-Marxist terms, the first axis dictates the economic base of the post-capitalist future, while the second pertains to the socio-political superstructure. Two possible futures are socialisms (only one of which I will actually call by that name) while the other two are contrasting flavors of barbarism… Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Friday Night!

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The gravity in this place is different. I’ve spoken to others who’ve traveled out here, too, and returned home safely. When you become one of them, you learn quickly that you share a language others can’t understand. Xeni Jardin, on diagnosis.

* On a less life-changing note, I’m devastated that I can’t attend this panel on Brecht and the Muppets.

* Nate Silver: No, this time there might really be a brokered convention. Ezra Klein: Newt Gingrich will not be the Republican nominee — even if it means a brokered convention. 21 reasons Newt Gingrich won’t be the Republican nominee for president. Romney goes after Newt’s sci-fi plans for moon colonies and space mirrors. (Meanwhile, Steve Benen goes after Romney’s apparent belief in cold fusion.) Desperate Romney PAC panics, unloads on Newt:

But what I found truly remarkable was the message Romney’s allies put together. Consider the areas of attack: foreclosures, flip-flops, immigration “amnesty,” climate change, and finally, “Newt supported a health care mandate … the centerpiece of ‘Obamacare.’” The spot then relies on a George Will column.

This is just astounding. Does Mitt Romney’s Super PAC know anything about Mitt Romney? He supports foreclosures; he’s the most shameless flip-flopper in a generation; he’s too big a coward to take a stand on immigration; he used to believe in climate change and supported cap and trade; and George Will thinks Romney is “a recidivist reviser of his principles,” who seems to “lack the courage of his absence of convictions.”

More at Gawker’s Brief Guide to Conservatives Freaking Out over Newt Gingrich.

NYU to offer classes on Occupy Wall Street.

* Another David Graeber interview.

* Bookstores are becoming mere showrooms for Amazon.com. More at MetaFilter, including some commentary on tomorrow’s “Price Check” Day.

Dan Frommer explain the new Twitter.

* Tor brings to my attention Nick “Simulation Argument” Bostrom’s Letter from Utopia (2006-2010).

* The headline reads, “World Watches as Norway Runs Out of Butter.”

Norwegians have eaten up the country’s entire stockpile of butter, partly as the result of a “low-carb” diet sweeping the Nordic nation which emphasizes a higher intake of fats. “Sales all of a sudden just soared, 20 per cent in October then 30 per cent in November,” said Lars Galtung, the head of communications at TINE, the country’s biggest farmer-owned cooperative.

* And io9 has a exhaustive list of the rules of magic. Study hard. You never know.

Friday Wrapup

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Because we were forced to spend a miserable 60 hours in an airport this afternoon, I have acquired a ton of links:

* The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia — the first woman to be elected president in modern Africa — her compatriot, the peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner.

* Ben and Jerry endorse Occupy Wall Street. I’m calling “Occupy Walnut” as the flavor, though “The 99% Moooo-vement” is my dark horse.

* Krugman, too.

* “Right Here All Over”: a short film on Occupy Wall Street by Alex Mallis.

* Naomi Klein on the scene: We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite — fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful — the financial resources to build the kind of society we need. The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society – while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take. 

* 10 Things to Know About Wall Street’s Rapacious Attack on America.

* Tweet of the week: Romney: I will reverse Obama’s massive defense cuts. Def spending, 2011, $739 b; 2010 $721b; 2009 $698b; 2008 $696b; 2007 $626b; 2005, $506b

* Obama and Holder are still messing with marijuana dispensaries. Mayor Curley in the MeFi thread on this has a chilling vision of the future:

I hope that the 2012 presidential contest is between Obama and Mitt Romney. I wouldn’t vote for either of them, but it would be hilarious. Both of them take whatever position their staff believes to be most salable at the moment, even if it’s in direct, obvious conflict with their stated position of a week ago.

By the end of the campaign, their positions would be absolutely indistinguishable, because between the two of them they would have taken every possible mainstream stance on every issue. But partisans would still be bitterly insisting that one was superior to the other purely by nature of the political brand attached. It would be the ultimate “Coke v. Pepsi” political race.

* Speaking of chilling visions of things to come: The Amazon Dieback Scenario.

* Speaking of Coca-Cola: The purpose of this communication is to remind you that the hot weather is here and that Coca Cola is one of the best drinks to fight the Hot Weather with and we Soldiers dislike to admit defeat, but to win our struggles we must have the material to work with, the things to contest our enemy with, must be at hand, and unless we have Coca Cola we will have to admit defeat at the hands of Enemy Heat & Thirst. 

* And the headline reads, “DHS Launches ‘Minority Report’ Pre-Crime Detection Program.” Philip K. Dick could not be reached for comment.

Given the Material Abundance Made Possible by the Replicator, How Would It Be Possible to Maintain a System Based on Money, Profit, and Class Power?

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Thus it seems that the main problem confronting the society of anti-Star Trek is the problem of effective demand: that is, how to ensure that people are able to earn enough money to be able to pay the licensing fees on which private profit depends. Of course, this isn’t so different from the problem that confronted industrial capitalism, but it becomes more severe as human labor is increasingly squeezed out of the system, and human beings become superfluous as elements of production, even as they remain necessary as consumers.

Peter Frase considers an anti-Star Trek. Via Yglesias.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

Good Writing from Other People

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I have a few projects I’m desperately behind on at the moment, so here in lieu of actual content is good writing from people who aren’t me:

* My friend Lisa on the intellectual proletariat.

* Aaron Bady on Franzen’s Freedom and the project of unfinished realism. (Having actually read Freedom [it’s all right, even pretty good] instead of done the things I was supposed to do I may post about it someday soon myself.)

* Socialism and/or Barbarism on Swamp Thing, scarcity, and “green politics.”

* Easily Distracted on what it might mean to really take responsibility.

* And Crooked Timber, against Malcolm Gladwell, on blogs, bullets, and bullshit.