Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Scrabble

Wednesday Links!

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* SFFTV 13.2 is out! It’s a great issue with some really great essays on wast and District 9, monster theory and Monsters, race and Arrival, and feminism and Ex Machina, but I want to put a special plug in for my co-editor Dan Hassler-Forest’s great essay on the nostalgia industry, Stranger Things, and Twin Peaks: The Return.

* Meanwhile, David Agranoff reads Extrapolation 61.1-2.

* And ICYMI: GSV #8: TBSF! And a little bit of viewer mail: Harrison Bergeron Is Black.

2020 Locus Awards Winners.

* Medical Humanities and the Fantastic: A Symposium.

* CFP: American Game Studies (deadline: August 1). How America Understands Poverty (deadline: October 1). Announcing The 11th Annual Imagining Indigenous Futurisms Award: Call for Emerging Writers. Queer Intersectionalities in Folklore Studies.

* Podcast alert: Marquette University’s COVID Conversations. And it’s a bit more flippant but I’ll never say no to Griffin Newman talking Muppets.

* Regarding Marquette’s Decision to Open for Face to Face Instruction for Fall 2020.

* Elsewhere on the Marquette beat: My terrific colleague Cedric Burrows talks about the racist origins of ordinary phrases.

* A 1997 interview with Octavia Butler. Toward a Waking Maturity: Octavia E. Butler Shapes A Liberated African Future in “The Book of Martha.” Behold Octavia Butler’s Motivational Notes to Self.

* Colson Whitehead is the youngest writer to win the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

El Nuevo Normal: The Coronavirus Crisis and Latin American Apocalyptic Fiction.

Will Dystopian Times Inspire Utopian Art?

* Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure. Who will ensure the safety of Black, LGBTQ+, People of Color, and Persons with Disabilities when Campuses reopen? Reopening schools safely can’t happen without racial equity. Black Study, Black Struggle. College football’s leaders are answering the wrong questions. Colleges are flimflamming students and parents about reopening. College Leaders Must Explain Why—Not Just How—to Return to Campus. College Leaders Have the Wrong Incentives. What do college students think of their school’s reopening plans? College students fume over having to pay full tuition for dubious online learning. The Summer of Magical Thinking. Lurching Toward Fall, Disaster on the Horizon. A Semester to Die For. CDC documents warned full reopening of schools, colleges would be ‘highest risk’ for spreading coronavirus. The main source of opposition? The faculty. Rush back to campus is sowing distrust at universities. Principles of Academic Governance during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Georgia Tech Professors Revolt Over Reopening, Say Current Plan Threatens Lives Of Students, Staff. Priorities. Boston University Gives PhD Students A Choice: Come Back To Campus Or Lose Your Health Insurance And Salary. Baton Rouge economy faces $50M loss if LSU football season is canceled or fans are excluded.

The Closure.

What can the humanities offer in the Covid era?

ICE Makes International Students Choose Between Risk of Coronavirus and Risk of Deportation. Long thread reading Harvard’s lawsuit. White House Rescinds Rules on Foreign Students Studying Online.

* “Does tenure matter anymore?” University Paid $504,000 to Get Rid of Professor. City University of New York lays off 2,800 adjuncts in wave of austerity.

* In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both. This Isn’t Sustainable for Working Parents. American Passports Are Worthless Now. The Republican coronavirus meatgrinder. ‘One Of Worst Parties In Power In Entire Democratic World.’ ‘I Can’t Keep Doing This:’ Small Business Owners Are Giving Up. Giant corporations may be the only survivors in the post-pandemic economy. Pay Restaurants to Stay Closed. How Many Have Closed Already? Covid-19 Is Bankrupting American Companies at a Relentless Pace. A Record 5.4 Million Americans Have Lost Health Insurance. 32% of U.S. households missed their July housing payments. Looming evictions may soon make 28 million homeless in U.S., expert says. Out of Work. The Story Has Gotten Away from Us. COVID-19 sent US into ‘depression’ and economy won’t be fully restored until 2023. Americans Are in Denial. There Is No Plan (For You). Trump’s incompetence has wrecked us. Where are the calls for him to resign? We are in the midst of a world-historic failure of governance. Why isn’t anyone in charge acting like they are responsible for it?

Coronavirus spread threatens to overrun school reopening plans. Israeli Data Show School Openings Were a Disaster That Wiped Out Lockdown Gains. U.S. Pediatricians Call For In-Person School This Fall, Then Take It Back. DeVos blasts school districts that hesitate at reopening. There Is a Way to Reopen Schools This Fall. Do We Have the Will to Make It Happen? Reopening schools safely is going to take much more federal leadership. One in Four. N.Y.C. Schools, Nation’s Largest District, Will Not Fully Reopen in Fall. Los Angeles and San Diego Schools to Go Online-Only in the Fall. Milwaukee Proposing Reopening with No Students in School Buildings. Evers once again gives up in advance. A Teenager Didn’t Do Her Online Schoolwork. So a Judge Sent Her to Juvenile Detention. The Toll That Isolation Takes on Kids During the Coronavirus Era.

* Hospitals full in Houston. Hospitals full in Florida. Texas and Arizona. Young Americans Are Partying Hard and Spreading Covid-19 Quickly. Coronavirus is spreading so fast among Wisconsin 20-somethings that the CDC came to investigate. The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus. The Hidden Racism of Vaccine Testing. California’s slide from coronavirus success to danger zone began Memorial Day. It takes a special kind of inattention to human suffering to not notice how unfortunate it is that people have been left to face death alone. Is air conditioning helping spread COVID in the South? I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of dads suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Inside the body, the coronavirus is even more sinister than scientists had realized. July and August must be a period of intense preparation for our reasonable worst-case scenario for health in the winter that we set out in this report, including a resurgence of COVID-19, which might be greater than that seen in the spring. One to two months. Five years. Americans Are Sick of the Pandemic. The Pandemic Is Not Sick of Us. U.S. States Graded on Their Covid-19 Response. Zero COVID Deaths in Vietnam. How Iceland Beat the Coronavirus.

Are We Facing A Post-COVID-19 Suicide Epidemic?

Generation Z Is Bearing the Economic Brunt of the Virus.

* The end of New York.

* How has Wisconsin screwed up unemployment so completely? Workers are pushed to the brink as they continue to wait for delayed unemployment payments.

* The Meltdown Crisis. The Myopic Fantasy of Returning to “Normal.” Resilience Is the Goal of Governments and Employers Who Expect People to Endure Crisis.

* gimme that stimmie

* Damn, that is an American airline.

* A version of the election-stealing scenario I’ve been bleating on about for months that doesn’t even require state legislatures to do anything actively.

The Working Dead: Reviving the Crowd as a Protagonist.

* Fake Nerd Boys of Silicon Valley.

* Eight go mad in Arizona: how a lockdown experiment went horribly wrong.

* Starship Troopers and American decline.

Setting Fire to Wet Blankets: Radical Politics and Hollywood Franchises.

* Resistance Is Not Futile: On Jeff VanderMeer’s “Dead Astronauts” and Fighting the Good Fight.

* Teaching Shakespeare Under Quarantine.

* Is Unschooling the Way to Decolonize Education?

* Hamilton and Revolution. And Ishmael Reed, from the archives: “Hamilton: the Musical:” Black Actors Dress Up like Slave Traders… and It’s Not Halloween.

Masking and the Self-Inflicted Wounds of Expertise.

* The blog started “innocently enough” and just “got out of hand.”

Illiberalism Isn’t to Blame for the Death of Good-Faith Debate. From Thomas Jefferson’s own family, a call to take down his memorial. ‘The Flag is Coming Down’: Lawmakers Vote to Change Mississippi State Flag. Reddit bans r/The_Donald and r/ChapoTrapHouse as part of a major expansion of its rules. Going too far.

* This was shocking, and I didn’t remember it at all: The Real Mud on Golden Girls.

The whole point in Wisconsin right now is to make anything but one-party GOP rule essentially illegal.

* Centering Blackness: The Path to Economic Liberation for All. Jacobin’s racial justice reading list. Wisconsin Schools’ Racial Inequality Worst in U.S.

How North Carolina Transformed Itself Into the Worst State to Be Unemployed.

According to establishment pundits and politicians, countries have “national interests” they carry out in the international arena. But “national interests” is just another phrase for ruling-class interests. The old socialist argument is true: workers of all countries have more in common with each other than their respective countries’ ruling elites.

* Climate change hasn’t forgotten about you: World could hit 1.5-degree warming threshold by 2024. South Pole warmed three times the global rate in last 30 years. Scientists’ warning on affluence. Climate Realism, Capitalist and Otherwise. Collapse of civilisation is the most likely outcome.

How to grow liveable worlds: Ten (not-so-easy) steps for life in the Planthroposcene.

* Took ’em long enough: Washington football team retires racist name.

* This ‘Equity’ picture is actually White Supremacy at work.

* Today in hell world.

* What Happens When You’re Disabled but Nobody Can Tell.

* The invention of the police. How Police Abuse the Charge of Resisting Arrest.

* She Said Her Husband Hit Her. She Lost Custody of Her Kids.

* Remembering the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit.

Why Animal Studies Must Be Antiracist: A Conversation with Bénédicte Boisseron.

* ‘You Could Literally See Our Shit From Space’: The Broken Bowels of Beirut.

* Hate to get owned this bad by a tweet.

* A Ranking of Every Movie with “Night of” in the Title.

Watching The Next Generation in a Time of Pandemic and Uprising. The Talk Doesn’t Exist in Deep Space Nine. The Sexist Legacy in Star Trek’s Progressive Universe.

Astronomers have discovered a vast assemblage of galaxies hidden behind our own, in the “zone of avoidance.” My sci-fi novel just got a title…

* This Is How Many People You’d Need to Colonize Mars, According to Science.

* How Not to Deal with Murder in Space.

* Harry Potter fan sites decide to stop giving J.K. Rowling attention.

* A Timeline of Recent Allegations in the Comic Book Industry.

A Megachurch Reels After Learning Pastor Let His Professed Pedophile Son Work With Kids.

* Gimlet Media Sued for Not Making Podcasts Accessible to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Kung Fu Nuns Of Kathmandu.

* Yes please.

* A short story about Serena Williams.

* Ban cars.

Second tribal leader calls for removal of Mount Rushmore. Want to tear down a monument to racism? Bulldoze LA’s freeways.

Banning the N-word on campus ain’t the answer — it censors Black professors like me.

Big Scrabble’s decision to eliminate offensive words has infuriated players like never before.

Why Is the Public Corruption Unit Prosecuting Ghislaine Maxwell?

The Life-Threatening “Ride” That Action Park Actually Decided to Abandon.

* Thanks Obama.

* A Long-Hidden His Dark Materials Short Story Is Now Getting Released.

* Love to learn old stuff about Jim Henson.

* Transporter. Words. Znurg. Two. Satire. Tin Man. Allies. Doctors. Mondays. Elon Musk. Pirates.

* Please scream inside your heart.

* And it took the end of the world, but the Far Side is back. Same joke but Clone High.

 

Written by gerrycanavan

July 15, 2020 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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2020 Links for 2020

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* I had another short book review at Los Angeles Review of Books the other week, on Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown, a book of this arbitrary amount of time if ever there was one: “Does Chris Ware Still Hate Fun?” When you’re done with that, check out these: “Bedlam and Baby: Parables of Creation in Jack Kirby and Chris Ware” and “’Red People for a Red Planet’: Acme Novelty Library #19, Color, and the Red Leitmotif.”

* And just yesterday at this very site I was hyping the CFP for the relaunch of the World Science Fiction Studies series at Peter Lang, which I am now co-series-editing!

* CFP: SFFTV Call for Reviewers 2020. CFP: Creature Features & the Environment. CFP: English and American Studies in the Age of Post-Truth and Alternative Reality. CFP: Current Research in Science Fiction 2020. CFP: Imagining Alternatives.

It’s 2020 and you’re in the future.

Public Domain Day 2020.

* The 2010s, the decade of sore winners. Will the 2020s Be the Decade of Eugenics?

The most insightful vision of the future at CES came from HBO’s ‘Westworld.’

* The only word on the coming Iran war. Stop the War. Stop US Empire.

I Read Airbnb Magazine So You Don’t Have To.

The Subterranean Press edition of Unexpected Stories will be its first print edition, with a newly-commissioned introduction by Nisi Shawl, and an afterword by Butler’s longtime agent and literary executor, Merrilee Heifetz.

* Visual art and film and TV list from the World Science Fiction course at Bowdoin. A climate fiction syllabus. Rain, Rivers, Resources & Ruin: A Critical Analysis of the Treatment of Resources​ in Ecocritical Science Fiction [cli-fi] Works from 1965 to 2015.

Dr. Manhattan is a Cop: “Watchmen” and Frantz Fanon. Black, White, Blue: To Understand Where HBO’s Watchmen Succeeded, We Need to Understand How Moore’s Watchmen Failed. Project for the TV Criticism of the Future.

Read an English translation of new Cixin Liu short story, 2018-04-01.

* The problem with bringing back blogs is.

* The past five years are the five warmest years on record, the past six the warmest six, the past nine the warmest nine. Oceans are warming at the same rate as if five Hiroshima bombs were dropped in every second. Thousands Flee to Shore as Australia Fires Turn Skies Blood Red (Video). Trump Rule Would Exclude Climate Change in Infrastructure Planning. The Concession to Climate Change I Will Not Make. This is fine.

* Maybe we should look at doing something about the rest of the air, too.

* Meet the Obamog(ho)uls.

Prime Minister Of Iceland Calls For Prioritizing “Well-Being” Of Citizens Over GDP. Finlands Sanna Marin: 4-day-week and 6-hour-day could be the next step. Taiwan’s single-payer success story — and its lessons for America.

* Meanwhile: the High Cost of Having a Baby in America.

* …one of the strongest cases for Bernie isn’t just what he’ll be able to achieve, it’s what he’ll refuse to do (cannot imagine him signing a grand bargain weakening Social Security, for instance).

* One Year in Washington.

* The Palace of the Future Is Nearly Complete.

* By itself, fascist infotainment might just be the hobby of millions, alone together, silently despairing of their lives, sporadically generating ‘lone wolf’ murders and occasional armed shitstorms. “We are living in the middle of a fascist takeover.” NPR’s sanitizing of Trump’s Milwaukee rally shows how he’s broken the media.

* Three shifts at the Scrabble factory.

* Take a look at F-Stop, the Portal sequel you’ll never play.

* The Walking Sim Is a Genuinely New Genre, And No One Fully Understands It.

Inside the College Football Game-Day Housing Boom.

Higher Ed’s Dirty-Money Problem.

The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade.

The MLA Started Publishing Job-Searching Advice More Than 50 Years Ago. Here’s How Things Have Changed.

* Liberal Arts Pay Off in the Long Run: A liberal arts education may not have the highest returns in the short run, but a study finds that after 40 years, liberal arts institutions bring a higher return than most colleges.

University of Iowa associate dean appointed weeks after arrest.

Student debt increased by 107% this decade, Federal Reserve data shows.

* Fresh from its laundering pedophile money scandal, MIT welcomes ICE.

* Being black at UW.

* The Catholic Church as organized crime family.

* The rise of the permanent protest.

* This is probably dumb — though maybe 1919 had a lot of bonus fraud in it, would be cool to study — but I have immediately and permanently internalized its lessons nonetheless.

Gen Zers vs. Millennials in the Workplace. Why an internet that never forgets is especially bad for young people. Why Are Young Americans Killing Themselves? Falling without a net. Baby boomers face more risks to their retirement than previous generations. Almost none of the S&P 500’s blockbuster rally in 2019 can be pegged to rising earnings, and that’s a problem.

* When your abuser is a cop.

Med Students Are Doing Vaginal Exams on Unconscious, Non-Consenting Patients.

* Welcome to the Era of the Post-Shopping Mall.

* Colin Trevorrow’s Episode 9 script is better in some ways and worse in others, as you might expect. Star Wars Fans Furious JJ Abrams Gave Role to Dominic Monaghan Over a Soccer Bet. Star Wars: What Went Wrong?

* Jeri Ryan’s latest Picard interview makes me worried that I accidentally wrote the Picard series bible.

* When AI runs the entertainment industry.

* When business people run the Olympics.

* DC and Marvel vs politics.

* The Okorafor century! ‘Binti’ Adaptation From Michael Ellenberg in the Works at Hulu (Exclusive).

* Bad news y’all, seven more years of winter.

* Being Larry David.

* Slaughterhouse-Five is getting a graphic adaptation, and Sami Schalk has been reading the new Parables graphic novel on Twitter.

* Time travel baby. Coffee baby. Babies baby. Memory baby.

* Asimov, groper.

How Negativity Can Kill a Relationship. Come for the life advice, stay for the weirdly unethical psychological research!

* The decolonization of Miles Morales.

* Despite Scorsese’s attacks on superhero films, what links his film (and Tarantino’s) with the various superhero movies is a certain mood: nostalgia. As the theorist Svetlana Boym once put it, “nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own fantasy.” This is true of all of these films. Boym continues, noting that, “nostalgia appears to be a longing for a place, but it is actually a yearning for a different time — the time of our childhood, the slower rhythms of our dreams.” Tarantino has explicitly mentioned that the year 1969 — when he was six — was the year that “formed” him; Tarantino sees his latest film as a sort of “love letter” to the year (for another, quite different, perspective on this period, see The Stooges classic “1969”). The yearning for childhood should require no explanation in the case of superhero films, but it might require a bit more explanation in the case of The Irishman. Turning to that film allows me also to frame the exact way in which I want to pursue my discussion of Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.

* Lord of the Rings appendices alignment chart. Alignment chart alignment chart.

‘We are not alone’: Confirmation of alien life ‘imminent and inevitable.’ Top-Secret UFO Files Could ‘Gravely Damage’ US National Security if Released, Navy Says. A list of solutions to the Fermi paradox.

* @ me next time

* One of my favorite archives to think about and teach: nuclear semiotics.

* Lord Byron used to call William Wordsworth “Turdsworth,” and yes, this is a real historical fact.

* And Christopher Tolkien departs for the Grey Havens.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 16, 2020 at 2:11 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Night Links!

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* Navajos on Mars: Native Sci-fi Film Futures.

* They’re renaming the Tiptree Award after all. From Julie Phillips: On Tiptree and naming.

* The Tragedy of GJ237b: A Role-Playing Game for No Players.

* Happy 82nd Birthday to The Hobbit. And from the archives, in celebration: The Most Metal Deaths in Middle-earth, Ranked.

Students protest climate change, MU demonstration policy.

* Essay mills are using TurnItIn to prove they’re selling original content.

* Terrible, if inevitable: Grad Students at Private Colleges Could Lose the Right to Unionize.

* Got Shakespeare? What about Milton on Shakespeare?

* The university in ruins in Buffalo.

Humanities ‘risk becoming cherry on top’ of other disciplines.

* “University of Wisconsin Madison, which announced last year it would open joint research campus with Foxconn in 2020, is well behind its original promise.”

* The Problem with Sugar-Daddy Science.

* Today in actual threats to free speech: U.S. Orders Duke and U.N.C. to Recast Tone in Mideast Studies.

The Trump administration’s crackdown on campus criticism of Israel is Orwellian.

* New Mexico Announces Plan for Free College for State Residents.

* Johns Hopkins Ends ICE Contracts.

* Long-hidden documents reveal the University of Texas’s blueprint for slowing integration during the civil rights era.

* Can’t believe MOOCs didn’t work.

* Don’t teach, strike!

* Legacy and Athlete Preferences at Harvard.

* Is Meritocracy Hurting Higher Education?

* Academia’s Holy Warriors: How a network of Catholic intellectuals is making the case against liberalism.

To Protect Your Faculty from Right-Wing Attacks, Follow the Money.

* US academic given two weeks to leave UK after eight years.

Thoughts on the planetary: An interview with Achille Mbembe.

80 Years Ago, a Football Powerhouse Ditched the Sport as a ‘Crass’ Distraction. Why Haven’t More Colleges Followed Suit?

* A new issue of Analog Game Studies is up.

* #NotMyAriel.

* On Dark Matter and White Empiricism.

* CFP: UW Women and Gender Studies Consortium Call for Proposals: Resistance and Reimagination. CFP: U Chicago Grad Student Symposium: Race and Capitalism Defined.

* Actually, Gender-Neutral Pronouns Can Change a Culture.

A Brief History of Trans Philosophy.

* Dear Disgruntled White Plantation Visitors.

* We Didn’t Stand a Chance Against Opioids.

* Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds, and about 1 in 4 are taking action. It’s right to be scared, says top UK scientist. Climate change is morally wrong. It is time for a carbon abolition movement. Millions Of Young People Around The World Are Leading Strikes To Call Attention To The Climate Crisis. ‘We will make them hear us.’ Best Protest Signs From the Global Youth Walkouts. How to be Young in a Climate Emergency. I have a dream that the powerful take the climate crisis seriously. The time for their fairytales is over. ‘You’re not trying hard enough. Sorry.’ This is all wrong. Why Greta is Good.

* Only a Green New Deal can douse the fires of eco-fascism.

Hello From the Year 2050. We Avoided the Worst of Climate Change — But Everything Is Different.

* It’s Kids vs. the World in a Landmark New Climate Lawsuit.

* Does Science Fiction Have a Moral Imperative to Address Climate Change?

To decarbonize we must decomputerize: why we need a Luddite revolution.

* Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns.

* Elsewhere in headlines from the Anthropocene: SF’s Treasure Island, poised for building boom, escaped listing as Superfund site.

Faster Than We Thought: What Stories Will Survive Climate Change?

* ‘Worse Than Anyone Expected’: Air Travel Emissions Vastly Outpace Predictions. Only 8 People in This Indigenous Tribe Still Speak Their Native Language. The Amazon Fires May Wipe It Out Completely. North America Has Lost a Quarter of Its Birds in Fifty Years. ‘Opening the Door to Hell Itself’: Bahamas Confronts Life After Hurricane Dorian. ‘This situation brings me to despair’: two reef scientists share their climate grief. Exposing The Myth Of Plastic Recycling: Why A Majority Is Burned Or Thrown In A Landfill. America’s Nuclear Power Plants Were Not Built for Climate Change. America’s Great Climate Exodus Is Starting in the Florida Keys. 9 Oldest Trees in Africa, Some Over 2,000-Years-Old, Now Dead. The Capitalocene.

 

* That’ll solve it: Following the lead of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a former 2020 contender, many candidates have set a target date for, at minimum, requiring all new passenger vehicles be zero-emission: Sen. Kamala Harris of California and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg put it at 2035, for example, while Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts aim for 2030.

* Simpsons did it.

* “How did the Army exceed its recruiting goals this year? It was the student loan crisis, not the wars, service leaders say.”

The Student Debt Problem Is a Family Crisis.

The Electoral College Really Does Give Republicans a Massive Advantage in Close Elections, a New Paper Finds.

The Case Against the Popular Vote.

* More voters are registering than dying — but differences by state could shape 2020.

* Elizabeth Warren’s Crusade Against Corruption.

* I think people are severely underestimating the likelihood that Hunter Biden was involved in Bad Stuff in either Ukraine, or China, or both.

It’s Not Just Millennials — Gen Z Is Dealing With A Lot Of Debt Now Too. Wisconsin remains in the top ten states in the nation for the percentage of graduates with student loan debt.

* Elsewhere in everyone being super broke. Millennials believe they’ll die before they retire. America has two economies—and they’re diverging fast.

* WeWork and the Great Unicorn Delusion.

* How Boeing’s Managerial Revolution Created the 737 Max Disaster.

Sandy Hook parents release chilling ‘back to school’ PSA.

‘Fantasy Island’: How the American Dream fueled Puerto Rico’s decline.

* In 2007, 47 dogs were rescued from an illegal dogfighting ring organized by NFL quarterback Michael Vick. They could have been euthanized. Instead, they became family pets.

* She Quit Her Job. He Got Night Goggles. They Searched 57 Days for Their Dog.

New York Judge Fines Landlord $17,000 for Threatening to Call ICE on Tenant.

But Milwaukee’s 30-year voucher experiment has not yielded results that are clearly better than the public schools.

* King of Kong sequel shaping up nicely.

* This game should be illegal.

* This question about art predicts Trump support better than educational attainment.

There’s a shortage of perfect movies in this world. It would be a pity to damage this one.

* Emma Thompson’s new movie The Lost Girls paints Peter Pan as the villain he’s always been.

* Watching Toy Story 4 I simply assumed this was how the movie would end, and was shocked when it didn’t.

* Saved by the Bell: The New Class: The New Class.

* How Wes Anderson Makes Films.

* We needed the X-Men, and now — thank the mutant gods — they’re back.

Since the 1940s, professional clowns Copyright their faces by painting them on eggs. There’s a Clown Egg Registry in London, England.

* Why do people believe the Earth is flat?

Why don’t we agree on the urgency of climate change? Because of a moneyed conspiracy to make us doubt it. Why did we let a single family amass riches greater than the Rockefellers while peddling OxyContin and claiming it wasn’t addictive? Because of a moneyed conspiracy. Why do some 737s fall out of the sky? Why are our baby-bottles revealed to be lined with carcinogenic plastics? Why do corrupt companies get to profit by consorting with the world’s most despicable dictators? Conspiracies.

In other words: Big Tech doesn’t have a mind-control ray, but it does have an incredibly sophisticated people-finding machine, and if you’re looking for people who might believe in your conspiracy, it helps if there’s a massive pool of people around who’ve been battered (and had their lives irreparably harmed) by conspiracies.

What the Apps That Bring Food to Your Door Mean for Delivery Workers.

China forcefully harvests organs from detainees, tribunal concludes.

* Industrial agriculture and #MeToo.

A 6-Year-Old Girl Was Arrested After Throwing A Tantrum.

* Look at this incredibly over-the-top unveiling for Staples new logo.

* How the Black Turtleneck Came to Represent Creative Genius.

* How pencils are made.

* How TikTok Holds Our Attention.

* How a sneaky asteroid escaped detection.

How we invest in our cities is broken.

We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of It Is Nonsense.

* Why Jeffrey Epstein Loved Evolutionary Psychology.

* Purdue Pharma, Maker of OxyContin, Files for Bankruptcy.

Graffiti That Helps You See Through Walls.

* So, the Navy just admitted the Blink-182 guy leaked actual UFO footage.

A Lunar Space Elevator Is Actually Feasible & Inexpensive, Scientists Find.

The Socialists Who Think Revolution Will Come When the Aliens Get Here.

How a ‘Sesame Street’ Muppet became embroiled in a controversy over autism.

* Artificial Intelligence Confronts a ‘Reproducibility’ Crisis.

MIT Media Lab Kept Regulators in the Dark, Dumped Chemicals in Excess of Legal Limit.

* An Alzheimer’s vaccine?

How an online gag about storming the military base became a real-life drama involving a rural town, the government, and frequent evocations of the Fyre Festival.

* Impossible Burgers Aren’t Healthy, and That’s the Whole Point.

* Meet Shampoodler, the podcast and Twitch superfan who’s the future of fandom in interactive media.

* Frozen II just remains inscrutable to me.

* Aron Eisenberg, the Actor Who Played Nog on Deep Space Nine, Has Died.

* Hey, God, which beings are conscious?

* And I’ve been saying it for years: Scrabble is broken.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 23, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Close Every Tab from the Semester or Die Trying Links

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* Some nice conference acceptance news: My semester of David Foster Wallace will end with a panel on “Infinite Jest at Twenty” with Lee Konstantinou, Carrie Shanafelt, and Kate Hayles at MLA 2017. I’ve put the full panel description in the comments for anyone interested…

David Foster Wallace’s Famous Commencement Speech Almost Didn’t Happen. Guest appearance from my friend from grad school, Meredith Farmer!

* It’s been such a busy week I haven’t had time to crow about Jaimee’s poem appearing on Verse Daily.

* An obituary for my friend and Marquette colleague Diane Long Hoeveler.

* CFPs from Foundation: The Essay Prize (for graduate students and adjuncts) and a special issue on SF theater.

* Call For Papers: The Precariat & The Professor.

* For World’s Newest Scrabble Stars, SHORT Tops SHORTER: Nigerian players dominate tournaments with the surprising strategy of playing short words even when longer ones are possible.

Want to See Hamilton in a City Near You? Buy a Subscription and Wait Two Years. Okay, maybe I will!

How Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Building A Brand For The Ages.

* google d&d player’s handbook truth: The Curious Case of the Weapon that Didn’t Exist.

Burlington College Will Close, Citing Longstanding Financial Woes. What Killed Burlington College?

* Ending HBCUs in North Carolina.

Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students. And on the Harry Potter Social Justice Wizard beat: a genderqueer student comes to hogwarts and…

* How Student Debt Reduces Lifetime Wealth.

* More data on learning and laptops — but you’ll never convince me that students benefit more from pen-and-paper notes than from a searchable, permanent archive of their entire academic career Spotlight can access and retrieve instantly.

* Many public universities now rely heavily on parents—particularly those with money, time, and connections—to meet their basic needs.

* Big-Time College Sports Neglect Academics, Deflect Blame.

* Huge, if true: In other words, the rush to embrace entrepreneurship is ideological rather than practical.

* Tenure as earned property.

* Diversity defunded in Tennessee.

UW English Chair Caroline Levine: Enough with Scott Walker and the GOP — I’m leaving.

Texas School District Votes to Build Totally Tasteful $62 Million High School Football Stadium.

A new documentary, Agents of Change, describes the five-month SF State protest and a similar strike at Cornell University through the voices of former students like Tascoe who were involved. The film is a gripping case study of the meticulous organizing, community engagement, and careful planning that went into two of the most effective student strikes in American history. Black Studies Matter.

* I was seriously thisclose to writing a #TeamCap blog post to comicsplain Civil War to the confused, but Mightygodking got there first.

* Milwaukee in the ne — oh for fuck’s sake.

Wisconsin communities dominate “Drunkest Cities” report.

Wisconsin woman has confirmed case of Zika virus.

“Rare detailed personal memory a burden, and ultimately a gift.”

* “This 90-Year-Old Lady Seduced and Killed Nazis as a Teenager.”

“Why do all old statues have such small penises?”

* Probably the most honest thing ever said about this election: 87-Year-Old Billionaire Endorses Trump, Says He Doesn’t Care If It’s A Mistake Since He’ll Be Dead. Meanwhile, this is just totally bananas: Donald Trump masqueraded as publicist to brag about himself.

What Would It Take for Donald Trump to Deport 11 Million and Build a Wall?

A First-Person Account of a Texas Artist’s Deportation.

* From what I can tell, the current Sanders campaign is riven between people who are increasingly upset or bewildered by what we might call the resurgent “burn it down” turn of Sanders outlook and others who are fully immersed in the feedback loop of grievance and paranoia that sees all the political events of the last year as a series of large and small scale conspiracies to deny the rectitude and destiny of Bernie Sanders. I’ve seen many, many campaigns. People put everything into it and losing is brutal and punishing. Folks on the losing side frequently go a little nuts, sometimes a lot nuts. The 2008 denouement really was pretty crazy. But it’s not clear that this time we have any countervailing force – adulthood, institutional buy-in, future careers, over-riding pragmatism to rein things in.

Why Pennsylvania Could Decide The 2016 Election.

http://mobile.twitter.com/AlexJamesFitz/status/732583842175975428

* Almost starting to see a pattern here, Disney: Shane Black reveals Iron Man 3 scrapped a female villain because of toy sales. Why Disney needs a gay princess.

From cooperation to black operation: A Conversation with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten on The Undercommons.

* A brief history of the giraffe.

“When you have a child with a life-threatening illness, you have an irrevocably altered existence,” Barbara Sourkes had told the Levys, and Esther feels that is true. She had always felt in control of her fate, but now she believes this to be a fiction. She finds it difficult to reconcile bitterness over the blight of Andrew’s illness with gratitude for the reprieve. “We are the luckiest of the unluckiest people in the world,” she says. “I truly believe that.”

With playdates replacing free childhood play, it’s upper-class families who set the social norms — and working-class families who pay the price.

Can Graduate Students Unionize? The Government Can’t Decide.

* TSA forever and ever amen.

* After all this time, who can say really who sent whom to Robben Island for 27 years.

* I too like to live dangerously: Uber Says Riders Will Pay the Most When Their Phone Battery Is Dying.

Small Beer Press to Publish 400-Year-Old SF Novel.

* On Kim Stanley Robinson and “solarpunk.”

Nate Moore, 37, is the lone African-American producer in the film division at Marvel Studios. And elsewhere in Marvel news: Agents of SHIELD Star Says Marvel Doesn’t Care Enough About Its Own TV Show.

* DC has, to all reports, done something utterly crazy. Big shakeup in their film division to boot. Can Booster Gold save the DC Cinematic Universe?

Not even $100 million can make Daniel Craig give a fuck about James Bond.

* World-famous ethicist isn’t.

* What terrible luck! The CIA has “mistakenly” destroyed the sole copy of a massive Senate torture report in the custody of the agency’s internal watchdog group, Yahoo News reported Monday.

Americans Don’t Miss Manufacturing — They Miss Unions.

* University title and salary generator.

Behind Some Campus Protests, a Team of Paid Professionals.

* The Sochi hoax.

* Attempt no landings etc: Europa Is Even More Earth-Like Than We Suspected.

* Outrageous slander: The Warriors Still Aren’t the Best Team Ever.

Liberal Think Tank Fires Blogger for Rude Tweets. Bruenighazi.

Against the Crowdfunding Economy.

In other words, Zootopia advances a sublimated theory of power that is strangely conservative, and — perhaps not so strangely — fundamentally allied with the project of economic neoliberalization. After a humiliating stint as a traffic cop, Judy Hopps is assigned to the case of a group of predators who have suddenly gone “savage,” which in this anthropomorphized universe means ripping off their clothes, dropping to all fours, and attacking other animals. It turns out that this crisis of respectability was engineered by the unassuming Bellwether, a champion of rabbits and mice who has dosed the predators with a weaponized narcotic that returns them to a “primitive” state of bestial violence. In order to bolster her own political prospects, Bellwether has engineered an interspecies crisis of what 1990s Clintonites called “super-predators” run amok. This is very close — if we pursue the allegory to its political ends — to alleging that the state has manufactured crises of, say, black masculinity in order to whip up the white public-safety vote and secure its own legitimacy. Now that would be an interesting intervention, if the film took us all the way there. And it really almost does.

What Kinds of Difference Do Superheroes Make?: An Interview with Ramzi Fawaz. Part Two.

NCDOT tries something new to thwart Durham’s Can Opener bridge.

The Most Successful Female Everest Climber of All Time Is a Housekeeper in Hartford, Connecticut.

* The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.

* Ted Chiang vs. Chinese logograms.

* Fracking comes to England.

An unorthodox anthropologist goes face to face with ISIS. Is the payoff worth the peril?

* CBS All-Access gets a second show. And that’s why The Good Wife had a terrible ending!

Mitch Hurwitz is still confident that another season of Arrested Development will happen.

* I’m feeling pretty on board with Luke Cage, I have to say.

* As with the comic before it, the film version of The Dark Tower will likely detail a different, later iteration of the series’s defining time loop.

“Perfect” Donkey Kong score achieved.

* The only Twitter account you need: @LegoSpaceBot.

No human alive has seen 7 months this hot before. Get with the program, Great Lakes!

What drought? Nestle plans $35 million plant to bottle water in Phoenix.

* Alas, Venezuela: There has never been a country that should have been so rich but ended up this poor.

* Project Earth is leaving beta.

* In the back room of the morgue.

* But it’s not all bad news: Our Solar System Could Remain Habitable Long After Earth Is Destroyed.

Happy graduation day, Marquette!

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 22, 2016 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Friday Links!

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* Terrible news from UWM: The Center for 21st Century Studies (C21) is facing an unprecedented attack on its very existence.

* CFP for SLSA 2016: “Creativity.”

The shift from a subordinate learner as a grad student to a would-be peer on the job market is one of the most predictable traumas in an academic’s life, inducing professional and emotional distress in almost everyone who encounters it. I think this is true, but I wish we would encourage graduate students not to think of themselves so much as students in the first place.

* Ursula K. Le Guin on the Game of Fibble. Played on a Scrabble board.

Raucous confrontation at SF State over ethnic studies cuts.

* Melissa Click has been fired by the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Washington State Prof Charged With $8M Research Fraud.

* MFA vs CIA.

Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico (R-Grayson) said that books such as “Beloved” plant the seeds of evil in the minds of young people. This country’s gone completely mad.

* A 150-Year Timeline of the Flint Water Crisis.

* Nuclear waste dumped illegally in Ky. Poverty across Wisconsin reaches highest level in 30 years. Lead Warnings Issued for Pregnant Women, Kids in Jackson, Mississippi. Iowa Lawmakers Approve Bill That Would Let Kids Have Handguns. America’s airlines are introducing a class below economy. America is pulling apart.

A woman who was arrested at a hospital over the summer for failing to pay court fines died the next day because she was deprived of water at the Charleston County jail, her family’s attorneys said Wednesday.

* We’ve all thought about it: High School Honors Student Was Actually a Creepy Adult Pretending to Be a Kid.

Facebook’s Five New Reaction Buttons: Data, Data, Data, Data, and Data.

This goes with another point: drones are a signal departure from the impersonal destruction that typifies modern technologically advanced warfare, in which the attacker rarely perceives his individual victims. The drone pilot, in contrast, even though he is thousands of miles away, spends many hours closely observing his victim and those near him, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. The stories are about both the killers and the killed.

A presidential run by Michael Bloomberg could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. Counterpoint: A presidential run by Michael Bloomberg could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis.

* The Mirror Universe: A Historical Analysis.

How To Tell If You’re In a Flannery O’Connor Story.

* “Unintelligible yelling.”

* “Asteroid Will Pass Agonizingly Close To Earth.”

* In this article Huntington’s disease becomes the core of the case for editing genes, against even blindness on the other side. I wrote about it!

Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals.

“I felt nothing,” she told me, smiling. “He was a dog thief, after all.”

Finally we find that 38% of Florida voters think it’s possible that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer. 10% say he for sure is, and another 28% say that they are just not sure. Cruz is exonerated from being a toddler serial killer by 62% of the Sunshine State populace.

Resolved: Thursday Links Will Take All Our Links

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* Tonight! DC! 6:30! Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs!

* Help, University Administration Is Terrible! Kids these days.

Statement by PROFS in response to JFC omnibus motion #521, item #39. Foxes in the Henhouse: The Republican Takeover of the University of Wisconsin System. A turning point for the UW Colleges.

* Han’s wife shot first.

Forgetting Lolita: How Nabokov’s Victim Became an American Fantasy.

* Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth: Time for a Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track.

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes.

Every United Airlines flight was grounded this morning in the US.

More People Work at Fusion Than Are Reading Its Most Popular Post.

The problem is that the IRB system is so fundamentally misconceived that it is virtually a model of how to regulate badly.

French Court Rules It Is Unconstitutional To Cut Off Water To Anybody.

Teen got arrested after cop tried to pick her up, failed. Warrants issued for people who cheered at Senatobia graduation. In the last seven years at least 29 police K-9s have sweltered to death after officers left the dogs inside hot patrol vehicles.

School kitchen manager fired for giving lunches to hungry students.

* Sepp Blatter resigns. Something something joke about George Lucas character names.

The Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington.

How Ridic Are the New Scrabble Words?

* How Ridic Are Call-In Shifts?

Alternative Idea for Resolving Sexual-Assault Cases Emphasizes Closure. “Administrators promised to keep her charges confidential and to protect her from retaliation.” For what it’s worth, I had some general thoughts on Title IX earlier this week that I Storified on the off-chance anyone is interested. I don’t think the outlook is good.

The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire. Is Hillary Clinton in trouble?

* Draft, uh, let’s say Bloomberg.

* The Tampon: A History.

* Google NBA Jam truth.

New Study Confirms Self-Evident Truth: Time Warner Is Literally The Worst.

* Hell is working at the Huffington Post.

* Teach the controversy.

* And the arc of history is long, but Arrested Development season five will air in spring 2016.

Friday Links!

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* I’ll be speaking at this event on June 4th in DC: Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs.

* SF-flavored art exhibit at the Racine Art Museum.

* I think it’s fair to say Marquette has had a pretty rough year.

* Mass contingency is not compatible with shared governance.

How Austerity Killed the Humanities.

“If Students Are Smart, They’ll Major in What They Love.”

Why Technology Will Never Fix Education.

* Alex Rivera on Hollywood and the War Machine. See also!

Games Without Wages. The video game industry has long relied on the unpaid labor of “modders.” Is it ready to finally pay up?

* Nice work if you can get it: Yale Gives Former President $8 Million Retirement Gift.

Professors Face Long Odds in Court Battles Over Speech Rights.

Everybody Calm Down About Breastfeeding.

The dangerous trick here goes like this: someone fantasizes about a world in which rape frequently occurs and consistently goes unpunished; to explore this emotional fantasy, they set it in a premodern narrative fantasy world where they can displace their own desire onto “history.” The dark impulse or desire isn’t theirs, then; it’s the world’s. It’s history’s. And once a dark personal fantasy becomes “realism,” gazing upon this dark thought or idea isn’t a kind of humiliating or dangerous self-reflection, it’s laudable: it’s an honest engagement with truth.

“Most pro-life women oppose abortion with four exceptions: rape, incest, the life of the mother, and me.”

* I suspect even Notre Dame can’t really explain why it’s suing the federal government over contraception anymore.

The New Mexico Law Review just published an issue dedicated entirely to Breaking Bad.

Canadian Aboriginal Group Rejects $1 Billion Fee for Natural Gas Project.

* Study Links Record Dolphin Die-Off In The Gulf Of Mexico To Deepwater Horizon Spill.

* They paved built an oil rig in paradise.

* The $10 Hedge Fund Supercomputer That’s Sweeping Wall Street.

* Nearly one in four financial services employees say it’s likely their co-workers have acted outside of the law. Dismaying as that statistic may be, it is nearly double the 12 percent who said the same in 2012.

This senior level position is responsible for developing and implementing best practices in fostering the development and launch of companies based on innovations generated from University faculty. Percent Effort: 100.

If I should die, think only this of me: / That there’s some corner of a foreign field / That is forever New Jersey.

We Are Spending Quite a Bit of Money on Jails.

A Dishonest History of the Last War. Jeb Bush Says His Brother Was Misled Into War by Faulty Intelligence. That’s Not What Happened. Bush and Cheney Falsely Presented WMD Intelligence to Public.

Here’s how much of your life the United States has been at war.

* Here’s the widely available supermarket cheese you should avoid if you don’t want to be complicit in prison labor.

America Has Half as Many Hypersegregated Metros as It Did in 1970. Somehow, Milwaukee soldiers on.

Scrabble adds even more garbage words to its dictionary.

U.S. Releases Contents Of Bin Laden’s English-Language “Bookshelf.”

Is there anyone who won’t run for the Republican nomination in 2016?

Why Have So Many People Never Heard Of The MOVE Bombing?

* “We do not think anyone is going to dispute this at all,” he said.

* Uber, but for putting gas in your car.

* I can’t understand why on Earth Marvel wants to emulate the New 52.

* Not the E.T. sequel we need, but the one we deserve.

* Great moments in “our bad”: Norway’s ‘We’re Sorry’ Monument to 91 Dead Witches.

* You say “equality” like it’s a bad thing.

How The Soviet Union Tracked People With “Spy Dust.”

A Professor Tries to Beat Back a News Spoof That Won’t Go Away.

The health insurance regime: still the worst.

Israel knew all along that settlements, home demolitions were illegal.

* Very surprising, given the lawsuit: Emma Sulkowicz allowed to bring mattress into Class Day ceremony.

* These numbers are horrifying.

Irregularities in LaCour (2014). Amazing story.

Does Color Even Exist, Man?

* An oral history of Industrial Light & Magic.

Western canon, meet trigger warning.

9. Should a nuclear apocalypse happen, The Sound of Music will be played on a loop.

* I wish to outlive all my enemies.

* Everything about this pedagogical model is insane.

Study Suggests Intelligent Aliens Will Probably Be The Size Of Bears.

* Does Shakespeare pass the Bechdel Test?

* Monkey Day Care: Growing Up as a Child Research Subject.

“Keep Foreskin and State Separate.”

* And Matt Weiner is sick of your bullshit misinterpretations of his genius. Do you hear that, Limbaugh?

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Self-Promotion Monday! IHE, UC Riverside, @MarquetteU!

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* A slightly edited, slighted expanded version of my academic job market as game essay is up now at IHE. Response has been pretty positive so far…

* The pizza and pop culture group at Marquette will be meeting in Marquette Hall 105 on Thursday, November 13 at 5 PM for discussion of The Hunger Games series. All are welcome! Come on out!

* I’ll be giving a talk at the Science and Technoculture Studies program at UC Riverside at 3:30 on Tuesday, November 18, titled “Lost Stories of E. Octavia Butler.” I don’t have the location yet, unfortunately. If you’re in the area, come on by!

* And registration begins today at Marquette. Check out the English department’s offerings! And then sign up for all of them, especially mine! I’ll be doing a seminar on “video game culture” for the honors program too, just in time for you-know-what.

* All the pretty pictures:

hunger games

culturalpreservation magicandliterature

Saturday Night Links!

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* I’ve had a nice bit of professional good news: I’ve been asked to join Extrapolation as an editor beginning with their Spring 2015 issue.

“Crutzen, who is not a geologist, but one of the modern great scientists, essentially launched a small hand grenade into the world of geological time scales,” Jan Zalasiewicz, chair of the ICS’s anthropocene working group, told the Guardian. “The word began to be used widely, well before geologists ever got involved.”

* That old-time religion: Now that science fiction is respectable, it’s lost almost all of the conceptual craziness and dubious sexual politics that made it both fanboy bait and of genuine interest.

* From AfricaIsACountry: Ebola and neo-imperialism. And from Jacobin: The Political Economy of Ebola.

* The arsenal of, well, let’s say democracy: The U.S. sold $66.3 billion in weapons last year –- more than three-fourths of the entire global arms market.

* Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth, says report.

* Climate change: how to make the big polluters really pay.

Of Collaborators and Careerists.

* Whites are more supportive of voter ID laws when shown photos of black people voting.

* Meritocracy watch: Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong.

* The 21st century university: women’s only colleges and trans identity.

Since the sinking of the Titanic, there has been a widespread belief that the social norm of “women and children first” (WCF) gives women a survival advantage over men in maritime disasters, and that captains and crew members give priority to passengers. We analyze a database of 18 maritime disasters spanning three centuries, covering the fate of over 15,000 individuals of more than 30 nationalities. Our results provide a unique picture of maritime disasters. Women have a distinct survival disadvantage compared with men. Captains and crew survive at a significantly higher rate than passengers.

The Milwaukee police officer who killed Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park is believed to be the first officer in the city fired as a result of a fatal on-duty shooting in at least 45 years.

* “Weird hobby.”

* More back-and-forth on carceral feminism from Amber A’Lee Frost and Freddie deBoer.

* Pieces like this are enough to make you nostalgic for the quietly understated narcissism of “job creators.”

* An oral history of The Wonder Years.

New Scrabble Dictionary Disrepects The Game.

* Stop worrying about mastermind hackers. Start worrying about the IT guy.

* And just for fun: How to die in the 18th century. Watch for for evil, and for the purples…

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Meritocracy, Lottery, Game: Notes on the Academic Job Market

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I’ve been puttering around on Twitter this afternoon thinking through my sense that framing academic job searches as a “lottery” might actually encourage, rather than combat, the cruel optimism involved in the process. The commonplace description of the market as a “lottery” has emerged in response to the framing of academia as a “market” or even as a “meritocracy,” both of which suggest some rationalistic evaluation of a candidate’s value vis-à-vis the other candidates, with the “best” candidate ultimately being selected. The market/meritocracy framing is naturally a source of anxiety for academic job-seekers, to which the lottery framing is experienced as a relief (especially for those who have been through one or more cycles without finding tenure-track employment): not getting a job isn’t “failure,” it’s the arbitrary outcome of a random and capricious system. That the applicants-to-job ratio for the most desirable jobs is now in the many-hundreds-to-one undoubtedly fuels this pervasive sense that all you can do is hope your name is the one that gets pulled out of the hat.

But the lottery framing, despite its comforts and its useful provocations, also has its limits, including some conceptual problems that may cause more harm than good in prospective job seekers. Some of this can be seen from the thought experiment of simply taking the lottery idea seriously. People use the idea of the lottery as a critique of a logic of merit and moral desert — but, perversely, nothing could be more fair than random allocation by lottery. (This contradiction is why many people who call the academic job market a lottery in practice describe something more like an anti-meritocracy: only the worst, least-deserving people get picked.)

In reality, academic jobs aren’t really distributed at random at all, but according to a network of preexisting conditions that are both “earned” and unearned; some of these conditions look a lot like “merit” (that’s great that she got hired, she does such good work!) while other parts of it look a lot like “privilege” (of course he got that job, he’s wealthy, white, and able-bodied from an Ivy). While of course it is impossible to predict the outcomes of any individual person on the market — in no small part because there are now so few jobs that no one, no matter how talented or privileged, is a “sure thing” — it’s nonetheless obvious that some people have skills, advantages, resources, and networks to draw on that others don’t, and that academic job market outcomes reflect these inequities. To the extent that the academic job market is a lottery, then, it’s a cosmic one, as much about the luck of birth and brain chemistry and the quirks of your personal history as anything else.

It just as surely isn’t absolutely irrelevant what you do on in your job letter or application materials, as it would be if the academic job market were a lottery; in fact an entire industry has now sprung up around giving panicked Ph.D. job applicants advice on how to perfect their applications. Again, in a market this bad there are no sure things and no silver bullets, but there are still things in preparing your application (and in building your teaching and research profile more generally) that can be done better or worse. On the other side of the search committee people are making decisions based on what they think will improve their situations in their departments; as an applicant you can make appeals to those people in ways that are more or less likely to be successful.

So as a job market applicant you start with a base of resources and strategies that give you better or worse “chances” than others. This is then all filtered through the genuinely random matrix of whatever departments happen to be hiring in your particular subfield in a given year, repeated each year until the candidate is either hired for a sustainable job or else quits the profession. This kind of truly blind luck now structures the process to such an overwhelming degree as to threaten to swamp resources and strategy altogether (hence, again, the appeal of the lottery framing) — after all, there’s probably no amount of preparation or pedigree as good as having your advisor’s best friend in the world on the search committee, especially in a world with so many qualified applicants where the number of jobs has constricted this tightly. But it’s a mistake to think that because the market is conditioned by luck it’s reducible to luck, or absolutely irrational in some maximum sense. There’s a lot about the way the academic job market functions that is quite rational, including (yes!) some genuinely meritocratic elements along the way.

If the rejected thesis is that the academic job market is meritocracy, and the failed antithesis is that the academic job market is a lottery, my suggestion today was that perhaps the proper synthesis here is conceptualizing the academic job market as a game. Outcomes in games are structured by resources, strategies, and luck; games involve competition between parties with differing capabilities, using different strategies, interacting with a set of rules that may not make sense, much less be desirable, rational, or fair. In RISK you array your given armies from an arbitrary starting position as best as you can, and then you start to roll the dice. In poker you play the hand you draw as best you can, given your strategy and skill level and the odds of success. In many games navigating the ruleset — working the refs — is itself the crucial part of the competition; in other games, cheating is allowed, as long as you do it right (like our corrupt search committee filled with advisor-BFFs).

With the people I was chatting with I passed through a bunch of games on Twitter, including Settlers of Catan, Dungeons and Dragons, Oregon Trail, even beloved-catastrophe-machine-of-my-childhood Fireball Island. But I’d propose tonight that the game the academic job market is most like may be Scrabble. Players in Scrabble have preexisting resources (a vocabulary, which is built out of everything from the socioeconomic profile of your childhood home to deliberate, calculated memorization of the official wordlist), a tile-placement strategy (play the biggest word you can each time vs. limiting your opponent’s options vs. holding out for bingos or bonus tiles, etc. etc.), and blind luck (even the best player in the world can draw IIIEEUU.) The rules in Scrabble are fair, but totally arbitrary, with letter distributions and relative values that make little internal sense, tons of legal words that should be disallowed, and tons of disallowed words that should be legal. For some players Scrabble is a game of pure intellect; for others it’s the art of the bluff.

The game framing has, I think, a couple of advantages over the lottery framing for discussions of the academic job market. First, it’s simply a more accurate representation of how the academic job market works — no small thing. Second, it suggests the genuine importance of starting position and strategy in pursuing academic jobs without tipping us back into meritocracy, because games don’t reflect some transcendent value or essential “merit,” and because no matter how “good” you are or think you are you still need to know the rules and get some good rolls of the dice if you hope to “win.” (TINY UPDATE: I make this point a bit more strongly in the comments, I think: One of the things that I think is most valuable about the “game” frame for the academic job market is that you can do everything right in a game and still lose.) Third, games call our attention back to probability and prediction as they manifest in the academic job market; there are always outliers, upsets, and million-to-one lucky breaks, but all the same we can look realistically at a person’s poker hand and evaluate whether they should raise, see, or fold. Sometimes we find ourselves in gaming positions from which we just can’t win, and there’s no amount of either luck or “merit” that can save us. Likewise, calling the academic job market a lottery totally erases the real costs of entry, because lottery tickets are cheap and there’s another drawing every few days — while re-understanding it as a game reminds us that the process takes a long time, takes a lot of work, is a competition but not a fair one, doesn’t say anything meaningful about your ultimate value as person, and it isn’t worth continuing if it makes you miserable. You might as well go ahead and enter a lottery, why not; you only play a game if you’re going to get something out of the experience.

If I had an overarching piece of meta-advice for job applicants I think it would be to try to analyze the academic job market and your position within it as a player in a game: know the rules, understand your position, figure out how to get the best possible outcome from your current position and then make your next moves accordingly. That could mean staying on the path you’re already on, it could mean doubling down on a risk you think might pay off, it could mean “folding” and finding another line of work entirely. Maybe it means forging new alliances with other players; maybe it means changing the rules, finding loopholes, knocking over the table. For the would-be grad student, it could mean that the only winning move is not to play. But apprehending the academic job market through the lens of games, I hope, might push us back from the conceptual errors of both meritocracy (it’s just about working really hard and being the cream of the crop) and lottery (there’s nothing you can do, it’s all just random) towards a recentering of pragmatism, agency, and strategic thinking. The idea, in any event, seemed to be worth writing up, if only to think about it some more.

Friday Links!

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* Ferguson, Missouri, is still the most important story in the country right now; I put up a bunch of links related to the crisis there last night. A letter from David Simon.

* I had a feeling there was more to Robin Williams’s suicide than the initial flurry around depression. It turns out he was suffering from the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

* Nick Kristof defends the humanities. I want to save the humanities more than anyone, but the price is too high. THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH.

Over 1500 Scholars to University of Illinois: We Will Not Engage With You! The case for dismissing Cary Nelson, from the co-chair of the search committee that hired Salaita.

* Denying tenure to game college rankings. Well, that’s cheery.

* “Stop Writing Dystopian Sci-Fi—It’s Making Us All Fear Technology,” says venture capitalist.

* Zombie narrative as teaching tool, at LARoB.

* It Turns Out Colleges Aren’t Actually Atheist Factories.

* Wherever there’s a professor worrying over whether their student really deserves an A- or a B+ — that’s where I’ll be. The Professorate and The Grapes of Wrath.

* You come at the Scrabble King, you best not miss.

* Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, Settlers of Catan. I’m sold.

* Starbucks–with a human face.

* And a mother has been arrested for dropping f-bomb in front of her kids. I think I’d better start my legal defense fund now….

Monday Morning Links

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* CFP: SFRA 2015: The SF We Don’t (Usually) See: Suppressed Histories, Liminal Voices, Emerging Media.

* CFP: Paradoxa: The Futures Industry.

Concerned about the Eaton SF/F archive at UCR.

*Ferguson, Missouri Community Furious After Teen Shot Dead By Police. Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life. Michael Brown remembered as a ‘gentle giant.’ Now, riots.

* 1 Black Man Is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes: America Is Perpetually at War with Its Own People.

* Meanwhile the NYPD is free to lie with impunity after an illegal chokehold led to Eric Garner’s death.

An officer fired the electric shock device’s darts into the chest of the girl, who weighed 70 pounds, the lawsuit said.

* Black Life, Annotated. Further reading.

* Life as a victim of stalking.

* The Obligation to Know: From FAQ to Feminism 101.

Abstract: In addition to documenting and sharing information geek culture has a complementary norm obliging others to educate themselves on rudimentary topics. This obligation to know is expressed by way of jargon-laden exhortations such as ‘check the FAQ’ (frequently asked questions) and ‘RTFM’ (read the fucking manual). Additionally, the geek lexicon includes designations of the stature of the knower and the extent of what he or she knows (e.g., alpha geek and newbie). Online feminists, especially geek feminists, are similarly beset by naive or disruptive questions and demonstrate and further their geekiness through the deployment of the obligation to know. However, in this community the obligation reflects the increased likelihood of disruptive, or ‘derailing’, questions and a more complex and gendered relationship with stature, as seen in the notions of impostor syndrome, the Unicorn Law, and mansplaining.

* Ursula K. Le Guin talks to Michael Cunningham about genres, gender, and broadening fiction.

What Makes Nigel Richards The Best Scrabble Player On Earth.

* What It’s Like to be a Doctor in a Supermax Prison.

* Teaching The Merchant of Venice in Gaza.

* Inside online communities for non-offending pedophiles.

While emailing with a colleague yesterday, I realized that I had never really written about the so-called “spacecraft cemetery” of the South Pacific, a remote patch of ocean water used as a kind of burial plot for derelict satellites.

* Dispute Between Amazon and Hachette Takes an Orwellian Turn. Amazon Gets Increasingly Nervous. In which Amazon calls you to defend the realm.

* What happens when a female writer asks a question on Twitter about women’s health.

* BREAKING: The NCAA Still Doesn’t Care About Athletes. The lawsuit that could change everything. The NCAA in Turmoil. How the O’Bannon Ruling Could Change College Sports.

“The alternative to partition,” he said, “is a continued U.S.-led effort at nation-building that has not worked for the last four years and, in my view, has no prospect for success. That, Mr. Chairman, is a formula for war without an end.”

World War I, as Paul Fussell famously argued, discredited what Wilfred Owen in a classic poem called “the old lie”: that it is sweet and honorable to die for one’s country. But what it has meant to shift allegiances from nation to “humanity” has changed drastically over the 20th century among those flirting with wider and cosmopolitan sensibilities. Namely, the highest goal shifted from the abolition to the humanization of war.

* Nothing Says “Sorry Our Drones Hit Your Wedding Party” Like $800,000 And Some Guns.

Scenes From COCAL: A Conference for Contingent Faculty Looks to Seize Its Moment.

* Why Does the United States Have 17 Different Intelligence Agencies?

* Why not a three-day work week?

* What was it like to be on Supermarket Sweep?

I was told on numerous occasions that I was going to face a general court martial on six or seven charges. Then word came down from Washington to discharge me quietly. An honourable discharge. Maybe the thinking was that the peace movement didn’t need a martyr.

Yes, the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless.

* Elon Musk Reveals Open Source Design for 14,000 Mile-an-Hour Vacuum Tube Railroad.

* So much dBilown the memory hole: Reconsidering the Legacy of Bill Clinton.

Philip K. Dick’s only children’s book finally back in print – with many subtle nods to his most famous SF work. But not in the US!

* Where’s the Diversity, Hollywood? Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blockbusters Overwhelmingly White, Male.

* John Oliver’s Search for New Voices in Late Night.

* The New York Public Library’s hilarious archive of librarians’ harsh children’s book reviews.

* Peter Frase talks Vonnegut’s Player Piano on the Old Mole Variety Hour.

* The A.V. Club is celebrating Clone High.

* Party Like It’s 1999: Japanese Retrofuturism and Chrono Trigger.

* One of the weirdest episodes of Star Trek ever.

* Critical Theory after the Anthropocene.

Tennessee Drug Tests Welfare Applicants, Discovers Less Than One Percent Use Drugs.

Drilling Company Owner Gets 28 Months In Prison For Dumping Fracking Waste Into River. Sad that this would be so shocking.

* The Scott Walker Hypothesis. The Scott Walker Paradox.

* Giant urban sprawl could pave over thousands of acres of forest and agriculture, connecting Raleigh to Atlanta by 2060, if growth continues at its current pace, according to a newly released research paper from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Island In Upstate New York Taken Over By Cats.

* Dream to revolutionize ostrich industry crumbles.

* What could possibly go wrong? Armed Right-Wing Militias Amassing Along Texas Border With State Lawmaker’s Blessing.

* But it’s not all bad news: Yellowstone Is Not Erupting And Killing Us All.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 11, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Night Links!

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* CFP for every online academic I know but me: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Representation in Scandal.

* I think this problem goes beyond just academia, though academic life is a particularly hypertrophic version of it. Basically every professional career left in America requires you to completely reboot your life at least three times between high school and your first job.

* Dana Carvey on Harmontown is an amazing episode, but honestly I’d turn it off after Carvey leaves unless you’re a real Harmontown diehard. It’s a pretty big bummer of an episode otherwise.

* BREAKING: Coca-Cola is delicious poison.

* This is what Pangaea would look like with modern borders.

This article takes as its starting point the observation that neoliberalism is a concept thatis ‘oft-invoked but ill-defined’. It provides a taxonomy of uses of the term neoliberalismto include: (1) an all-purpose denunciatory category; (2) ‘the way things are’; (3) an insti-tutional framework characterizing particular forms of national capitalism, most notablythe Anglo-American ones; (4) a dominant ideology of global capitalism; (5) a form of gov-ernmentality and hegemony; and (6) a variant within the broad framework of liberalismas both theory and policy discourse. It is argued that this sprawling set of definitions arenot mutually compatible, and that uses of the term need to bedramatically narrowed fromits current association with anything and everything that a particular author may findobjectionable.

* Is our bloated, monstrous prison system failing its teenage inmates? The New York Times is on it.

* Could a Single Marine Unit Destroy the Roman Empire? Popular Mechanics is on it.

The American Studies Association’s executive committee has called on the United States government to withdraw all support from the state of Israel, citing attacks on Palestinian universities, including a recent strike on the Islamic University in Gaza City.

* Too much power for any one man: Scientists reconstruct speech through soundproof glass by watching a bag of potato chips.

* First, they came for consumers of child pornography, and I said nothing because a Google bot passively uncovering child pornography on its email server didn’t seem like all that serious a privacy violation to me…

* Obama administration happily screwing up the legitimacy of humanitarian aid for absolutely no reason.

* Are fish far more intelligent than we realize?

* Who’s the richest person in your state?

What Real-Life Plants Could Groot Have Evolved From?

In fact, modern text-speak bears a striking resemblance to the system of abbreviations and shorthand present in medieval manuscripts, what I’ve termed here “quill speak.”

* There Is A “Bomb Gaza” Game On The Google Play Store And It’s Pretty Awful.

* Athletics Is Said to Drive Culture of Rape, Drug Use at Air Force Academy.

* They’re trying so hard to ruin the new Spider-Man franchise but test audiences keep saving us.

* 5000 words have been added to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, because ours is an age of weaklings.

* They Benghazi’d the Benghazi inquiry, now we’ll never know who Benghazied the Benghazi at Benghazi.

* Getting a bit ahead of ourselves, perhaps.

* But what was the Mad Hatter doing before he met Alice?

* Cruel optimism.

* Cruel optimism, part two: Chronicle scribe Max Landis to bring Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels to TV.

* Kickstarter: Designers & Dragons is a four volume book series of RPG industry awesomeness, meticulously researched and prettily packaged. Author Shannon Appelcline guides you company by company through the history of tabletop starting in the 1970s all the way up to present day. This series is chock full of fascinating insider tidbits, company profiles, and yes—enough drama to fuel a hundred campaigns.

* This computer program can predict 7 out of 10 Supreme Court decisions. Sadly, the model still can’t identify who has more money in the remaining 30% of cases.

* And my thinkpiece on Guardians of the Galaxy has been scooped. Alas.

Heresy and Schism

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm

How to Cheat in Scrabble

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm