Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Secret Service

Closing All My Tabs Friday Morning Links!

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* The first review I’ve seen of Green Planets says “it was just okay for me dog.” Hopefully the praise in the next one will be a little less qualified…

* The “decent Left” was wrong: a blood soaked occupation did not lead to a promising post-Taliban future.

* How much does it cost to recruit a single college athlete?

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The results are readily apparent. The overwhelming number of retractions due to flawed methodology, flawed approach, and general misconduct over the last decade is staggering. Stories in almost every field have seen a rash of inaccuracies. The percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased tenfold since 1975.

* When Samuel R. Delany wrote Wonder Woman.

* A brief history of a Title IX.

* Da Vinci’s CV.

* Ask An Elderly Black Woman As Depicted By A Sophomore Creative Writing Major.

* But the biggest fundamental problem with the administration’s proposed ratings system is that it presents market principles as the cure for an illness that is itself caused by the indiscriminate application of market-mad nostrums to a context (education) where they don’t belong.

* ‘There Will Be No World Cup’: Brazil on the Brink.

* Norfolk, Virginia could be the first city we lose to climate change. Vox voxplains and revoxplains why we’re doomed, but never gets around to considering that flogging away uselessly in the same failed institutions might not be the answer.

* The coming grim death future has given us one gift, though: Darren Aronofsky Adapting Futuristic ‘MaddAddam’ Book Trilogy As HBO Series.

“Fixing” America’s schools “means changing America.”

* In other words, Louie is sketching out the psychology of an abuser by making us recognize abuse in someone we love. Someone thoughtful and shy, raising daughters of his own, doing his best. Someone totally cognizant of the issues that make him susceptible to the misogyny monster. Someone who thinks hard about women and men and still gets it badly wrong.

* Obama won’t take simple anti-corporate tax reform action he could institute unilaterally today. I suppose it’ll probably always be a mystery.

* Today in the rule of law: Attorney for teen set up by FBI in terror sting kicked out of courtroom while secret evidence is discussed. Judge Threatens, Allegedly Attacks Public Defender During Hearing. The public defender is very happy that cops are being sent to harass people who request public defenders.

* LAPD’s new air drone program will respect privacy. Well , that’s a relief!

Prosecutors say two 12-year-old southeastern Wisconsin girls stabbed their 12-year-old friend nearly to death in the woods to please a mythological creature they learned about online. The two girls will be tried as adults because they’re making such mature, clear-headed decisions.

* Elsewhere in Wisconsin justice: this twenty-five-year sentence for a woman who smothered her toddler will send a strong message of deterrence for any other mothers who want to murder their kids.

Toddler Burned by SWAT Grenade After Raid On Home.

* My beloved alma mater in the news! Judge Orders Case Western to Grant Diploma to Medical Student.

* The Secret Service wants to build a computer that can detect sarcasm. Maybe the computer could then explain it to Twitter users?

* Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino sues NFL over concussions.

* LEGO to launch female scientists series after online campaign.

* This seems so nutty to me. I think I probably spent half my childhood wandering around in the woods without supervision and the other half in the back seat of a locked car.

* Solving the Fermi paradox: Sufficiently Advanced Civilizations May Invariably Leave Our Universe. Or maybe they’re hacking reality and we can’t understand that’s what they’re doing.

* A Hong Kong VC fund has just appointed an algorithm to its board.

* “Ann B. Davis stood, walked over to the trash can, and emptied her tray. She walked out of the cafeteria and into a small, gray town near Pittsburgh. I wanted her to *be* Alice. I wanted her to smile as if she loved me. I wanted her to say, ‘Buck up, kiddo, everything’s going to be all right.’ And what I’m trying to tell you now is this: I grew up in a split-level ranch-style house outside a town that could have been anywhere. I grew up in front of a television. I would have believed her.” RIP, Ann B. Davis.

Steven Moffat hires zero female writers for Doctor Who — for the fourth season in a row.

Loaded Handgun Found in Target Toy Aisle.

(Even More) South African Genre Fiction.

* About 10% of them, yes.

* The government plans to fix the NSA scandal by making it all legal.

* What is even the payoff for shining a laser at a plane? That’s bananas.

* Europe has thought it over, and they’re sticking with kings.

* The kids are all right: Two sixth grade math classes lost an entire week’s worth of instruction taking a trial run of a new test and now they want payment for their time.

* On Sept. 13, 1848, at around 4:30 p.m., the time of day when the mind might start wandering, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life.

Cleveland Politician Proposes Tying Stadium Money To Wins.

* Life as a spousal hire.

* I can’t imagine how colleges could do mandatory mental health screenings right, but less how badly they’d screw it up by trying to do it on the cheap.

* There are dozens of us! The AV Club rediscovers The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

* A cultural history of time.

* And George R.R. Martin says Game of Thrones was always intended to be 3 5 7 8 12 books.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday!

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* Suppose you were alive back in 1945 and were told about all the new technology that would be invented between then and now: the computers and internet, mobile phones and other consumer electronics, faster and cheaper air travel, super trains and even outer space exploration, higher gas mileage on the ground, plastics, medical breakthroughs and science in general. You would have imagined what nearly all futurists expected: that we would be living in a life of leisure society by this time. Rising productivity would raise wages and living standards, enabling people to work shorter hours under more relaxed and less pressured workplace conditions.

Why hasn’t this occurred in recent years? In light of the enormous productivity gains since the end of World War II – and especially since 1980 – why isn’t everyone rich and enjoying the leisure economy that was promised? If the 99% is not getting the fruits of higher productivity, who is? Where has it gone?

* Corey Robin and Adam Kotsko on violence and “national security.” Here’s Adam:

To me, this is the ultimate disproof of the secular liberal contention that religion is the biggest possible cause of violence. Literally nothing could be more rigorously secular than “reasons of state,” and yet this principle has led to millions upon millions of deaths in the 20th Century alone. Of course, one could always fall back on the same dodge that allows one to get around the deaths caused by International Communism, for instance — “yes, they may have been officially atheistic, but in the last analysis Stalinism and Maoism are really religious in structure” — in order to define away abberant forms of “national security.”

And I think this typical dodge shows why the notion of religion as chief cause of violence has such a powerful hold — what “religion” signifies in such statements isn’t a body of beliefs and rituals, etc., but irrationality itself. It’s this irrationality that makes “religious violence” violent, not the body count. Within this framework, then, when rational people — for example, legitimate statesmen calculating the national interest — use violence for rational ends, it is not, properly speaking, violence. It is simply necessity.

(That’s the same reason why my typical rejoinder to “religious violence” rhetoric — “ever heard of money?” — also doesn’t work: the profit motive is rationality itself and could never be violent.)

Birth to 12 years in 2 min. 45.

* Undocumented Immigrants Paid $11.2 Billion In Taxes While GE Paid Nothing.

* Whistleblower Reveals Widespread Bribery By Walmart In Mexico.

* Swing States Are Swinging Toward Obama. But how will voters react when it comes out that PROSTITUTION!!!!

Wisconsin’s Planned Parenthood suspends non-surgical abortions.

* Against lotteries: Taking money from people who have little and are powerless against even the slightest chance of escaping poverty is the kind of activity usually associated with the Mafia and street gangs. State governments are more than happy to play the part though, and they’ve gone far beyond anything organized crime ever did in terms of exploiting the desperation of the poor and selling them false hope with terrible odds. Lotteries that take their money for the explicit purpose of giving it to people who are financially better off is evidence of how completely our governments – particularly here in the South – have abandoned even the pretense of holding the moral high ground. They’ve identified the victims of an exploitative system and chosen to use that to their advantage. More here.

Here’s an interesting wrinkle I’ve encountered in a few places. Many scholars sign work-made-for-hire deals with the universities that employ them. That means that the copyright for the work they produce on the job is vested with their employers — the universities — and not the scholars themselves. Yet these scholars routinely enter into publishing contracts with the big journals in which they assign the copyright — which isn’t theirs to bargain with — to the journals. This means that in a large plurality of cases, the big journals are in violation of the universities’ copyright. Technically, the universities could sue the journals for titanic fortunes. Thanks to the “strict liability” standard in copyright, the fact that the journals believed that they had secured the copyright from the correct party is not an effective defense, though technically the journals could try to recoup from the scholars, who by and large don’t have a net worth approaching one percent of the liability the publishers face.

Senator Frank Church – who chaired the famous “Church Committee” into the unlawful FBI Cointel program, and who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said in 1975:

“Th[e National Security Agency’s]  capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.  [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.“

Now, the NSA is building a $2 billion dollar facility in Utah which will use the world’s most powerful supercomputer to monitor virtually all phone calls, emails, internet usage, purchases and rentals, break all encryption, and then store everyone’s data permanently.

* And Mark Stone was an undercover anarchist.

Friday Night Links: Twilight, Occupy, Obsolete Sounds, Lab Mice, More

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* Obligatory Twilight backlash: But when a saga popular with pre-adolescent girls peaks romantically on a night that leaves the heroine to wake up covered with bruises in the shape of her husband’s hands — and when that heroine then spends the morning explaining to her husband that she’s incredibly happy even though he injured her, and that it’s not his fault because she understands he couldn’t help it in light of the depth of his passion — that’s profoundly irresponsible. A countervailing view.  Counter-countervailing. More.

* Mental Floss’s library of obsolete sounds.

* An interview with the creator of the Occupy Wall Street “bat-signal” projections during Brooklyn Bridge #N17 march.

* North Carolina AFL-CIO: 9 Demands of the 99%.

* Fear and Zugzwang in Zuccotti Park.

* That’s the drawback of the modern lab mouse. It’s cheap, efficient, and highly standardized—all of which qualities have made it the favorite tool of large-scale biomedical research. But as Mattson points out, there’s a danger to taking so much of our knowledge straight from the animal assembly line. The inbred, factory-farmed rodents in use today—raised by the millions in germ-free barrier rooms, overfed and understimulated and in some cases pumped through with antibiotics—may be placing unseen constraints on what we know and learn.

“This is important for scientists,” says Mattson, “but they don’t think about it at all.” Via MeFi.

* GE Filed 57,000-Page Tax Return, Paid No Taxes on $14 Billion in Profits.

* Weird science watch: Quantum theorem shakes foundations: the wavefunction is a real physical object after all, say researchers. Second experiment confirms faster-than-light particles.

* Hermain Cain asks for Secret Service protection to protect him from… reporters.

* And a big coup for Netflix: it will bring back Arrested Development.

Health Care Reform and Other Late Night Sunday Links

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* The health care bill has now cleared the first of three filibuster hurdles. Would-be bill-killers like Howard Dean are dialing back, with the new line being that there was never any such thing as a bill-killer in the first place. The other current talking point is that the manager’s amendment magically fixes everything. Feingold still says Obama is to blame for the loss of the public option, and Webb’s not happy either. Republican obstructionism has somehow turned Evan Bayh into a diehard Democratic partisan. The father of the public option says it’s all all right. With final passage looking assured—Schumer, weirdly ominously, declares “the die is cast”—Kevin Drum has one last post about the late implementation date for many of these programs, while (via Vu) Kuttner and Taibbi discuss health care reform on Bill Moyers. The filibuster, of course, is still the biggest problem.

* ‘No climate justice without gender justice.’

* ‘Earth on track for epic die-off, scientists say.’

* This headline hit me unexpectedly hard: ‘Could ocean acidification deafen dolphins?’ Perhaps I’ve always had a soft spot for dolphins, but the idea that potentially sapient species might go collectively deaf as a side effect of human action strikes me as unbearably sad.

* An early clip from Toy Story 3.

* The most important comic events of the decade.

* Is the Secret Service responsible for keeping the president from getting drunk?

* Dale Beran, creator of the sorely missed A Lesson Is Learned but the Damage is Irreversible, has started a new web comic series, The Nerds of Paradise.

* And Jezebel has what could be the Internet’s only remotely thoughtful post about the death of Brittany Murphy.

Three for Wednesday

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Three links for this Wednesday.

* “A consensus has developed during IPY that the Greenland ice sheet will disappear.” This and other terrible news on climate change from Newsweek’s science editor Sharon Begley.

* California is facing a severe prison crisis, which the disastrous “three strikes” law will only make worse.

* Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President’s Secret Service.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Life as Prez

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The Daily Mirror has scenes from the daily life of the president of the United States. Via Gynomite.

The President-elect will also have to get used to handing his glass to a Secret Service agent every time he has a drink outside the White House. The agent carries a small bag in which to pop the glass and later he destroys it.

The idea is to ensure that no unauthorised person has access to the Presidential DNA, but it is not clear how an enemy would use it.

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 25, 2008 at 2:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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Eliminationism Coda

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The last word on the eliminationist rhetoric of the failed McCain/Palin ticket: Sarah Palin’s attacks on Barack Obama’s patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 9, 2008 at 7:40 pm