Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Sesame Street

Wednesday Links!

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* Some current calls for papers: Science Fiction and Communism. Beyond Humanism. Sesame Street at 50.

* Coming soon to Marquette! The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities will host Adam Kotsko on Feb. 15th at 3:30 p.m. in Marquette Hall 105, as he discusses “Animated Nihilism: RickandMorty, BoJackHorseman and the Strange Fate of the Adult Cartoon.”

* My favorite weird found-poetry I’ve discovered on this trip: in Switzerland and Germany first-person shooters are called “ego shooters.”

* My favorite thing on the Internet in a long, long time: Rey and Kylo set to just about every song you’ve ever heard of.

* Star Trek: Discovery is exciting, but not much else.

To put it another way, if this was just called Discovery, if the serial numbers were filled off and this was just another science fiction show with aliens and parallel universes and FTL drives, I doubt we’d be talking about it. It would be significantly less annoying in some ways (my brain would appreciate not having to fit any of this into continuity, that’s for damn sure), but it would be far more forgettable—a pretty, messy piece of nonsense with some decent performances and occasionally unexpected story twists. Hell, maybe we’d like it more, if only because our standards would be lower and it would still be possible to convince ourselves that someday, this would all make sense.

io9 was even harsher, if anything. I’m still a fan of the series but the extremely poor plotting of the second half of season one has made complete hash of their very promising initial setup. It’s much harder for me to argue the series is genuinely good, as opposed to liking it because it is Star Trek and I like pretty much everything Star Trek.

* Advice from a Contingent Faculty Member on Career Directions for PhDs in English.

* Sam and Max Hit the Road: The Design Document. What a great game that was.

* “A fascinating new kind of job that only a human can do: robot babysitter.”

The myth of America’s immigration problem.

* Beautiful Coal and Disastrous Droughts.

* Seen accurately. American collapse is a catastrophe of human possibility without modern parallel . And because the mess that America has made of itself, then, is so especially unique, so singular, so perversely special — the treatment will have to be novel, too. The uniqueness of these social pathologies tell us that American collapse is not like a reversion to any mean, or the downswing of a trend. It is something outside the norm. Something beyond the data. Past the statistics. It is like the meteor that hit the dinosaurs: an outlier beyond outliers, an event at the extreme of the extremes. That is why our narratives, frames, and theories cannot really capture it — much less explain it. We need a whole new language — and a new way of seeing — to even begin to make sense of it. Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse: The Strange New Pathologies of the World’s First Rich Failed State.

* If your highest value is the preservation of American institutions, the avoidance of “dysfunction,” the discourse of norm erosion makes sense. If it’s democracy, not so much. Sometimes democracy requires the shattering of norms and institutions. Democracy, we might even say, is a permanent project of norm erosion, forever shattering the norms of hierarchy and domination and the political forms that aid and abet them.

* What does living in a dictatorship feel like?

* Cixin Liu and Chinese science fiction, in the London Review of Books.

* The Voynich Manuscript has been cracked again. Everybody take a drink!

* Sic semper: Twilight of Chief Wahoo.

* Huge, if true: some millennials think James Bond could be sexist.

* Emma, the fifteen-second horror movie.

* Here’s What One Day In The Dysfunction Of Restoring Puerto Rico’s Electricity Looks Like. FEMA To End Food And Water Aid For Puerto Rico.

* ICE Deports Palestinian Man Living In The U.S. For Almost 40 Years Despite Outcry. Father detained by ICE after dropping 4-year-old off at daycare. 2 dads nabbed by ICE as they drop off kids at NJ school; 3rd takes shelter in church. Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown is a recipe for national decline.

* Even By Our Awful Standards, Americans Have Basically Stopped Saving Money.

* CES Was Full of Useless Robots and Machines That Don’t Work.

* An ER visit, a $12,000 bill — and a health insurer that wouldn’t pay.

* Baltimore Cops Kept Toy Guns to Plant Just in Case They Shot an Unarmed Person.

* The future just ain’t no good.

* “In honor of the new Mr. Rogers biopic, here’s his Marquette Commencement address from 2001.”

* A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies.

* #DontCallItAComejack.

* What does it mean to die?

Why Reddit’s face-swapping celebrity porn craze is a harbinger of dystopia.

* The life of the mind. Working at university in 2016. Statement of teaching philosophy.

* Of course you had me at a Civilisation V mod about the risk of superintelligent AI.

* And happy birthday, old friend.

Christmas Eve Eve Links Links

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

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

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

An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried.

* I thought this was great.

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

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

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

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

* Winter Is Coming: Climate Change in Westeros.

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

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

* On faculty and mental illness.

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

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

* Bang. Pow. To the Moon.

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

* SHOCK REPORT: The tax bill is bad.

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

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

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

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

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

* Ghosts of 2012.

* First #J20 defendants found not guilty.

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

* People are using Uber instead of ambulances.

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

* The Fred Moten century.

The Adult Bodies Playing Teens on TV.

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

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

* The madness of prison gerrymanders.

* Desegregation never happened.

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

* The FoxConn boondoggle gets worse and worse.

* The Next Crisis for Puerto Rico: Foreclosures.

* Revising agricultural revisionism.

* Against optimism.

* Against being born.

* On the sadcom.

Your Favorite Superhero Is Probably Killing the Planet.

* Professor X Is a Jerk!

* The Daily Stormer’s style guide.

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

* The US gymnastics scandal somehow gets worse and worse.

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

* The Forgotten Life of Einstein’s First Wife.

* The Ghost Economy.

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

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

* “Paradox,” by Naomi Kritzer.

* The Journal of Prince Studies.

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

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

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

* Heartbreaking interview with Heather Heyer’s mother.

* Jordan Peele, auteur.

* Dilbert: A Reckoning.

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

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

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

Written by gerrycanavan

December 23, 2017 at 10:06 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Saturday Morning Links!

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Milwaukee writer finds prize-winning drama in personal story of pain, healing. Marquette’s own CJ Hribal.

What It Means to Be on the Left. Left of the Dial.

Why Capitalism is Just Shitbag Science.

Looking past Stone’s intricate play-by-play to the wider context, it’s hard not to view Uber and Airbnb as a new iteration of the upheaval and consolidation Taplin describes. The difference is that while Amazon, Facebook, and Google tighten their control over the entertainment we consume, the personal details we share, and the information we uncover, Uber and Airbnb want to stake a claim on how we move through the material world. Kelly describes this state of affairs as a new form of socialism untethered from the state, “designed to heighten individual autonomy and thwart centralization.” To me, it sounds more like Sigma Iotia II, the gangster-themed planet in the Star Trek episode “A Piece of the Action.” It’s a world that, though torn apart by gang wars as the Enterprise arrives, is made to run smoothly when Captain Kirk inserts himself and his superior phaser technology into the conflict on behalf of the Federation, declares himself the victor, and then withdraws to allow the society to rule itself … as long as the Federation gets its cut. Kirk promises that money would be reinvested back into the planet — but that works mainly because the post-scarcity Federation can afford to treat Sigma Iotia II as an extended, world-sized experiment in developmental sociology.

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel. 43 Senators, 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Incredible.

Internal EPA records obtained by ProPublica show that the Radford plant is one of at least 51 active sites across the country where the Department of Defense or its contractors are today burning or detonating munitions or raw explosives in the open air, often in close proximity to schools, homes and water supplies. The documents — EPA PowerPoint presentations made to senior agency staff — describe something of a runaway national program, based on “a dirty technology” with “virtually no emissions controls.” According to officials at the agency, the military’s open burn program not only results in extensive contamination, but “staggering” cleanup costs that can reach more than half a billion dollars at a single site.

* Sessions! Sessions! Spicer! Spicer! Saramucci! Kushner! Mueller! Manafort! Tillerson! And the rest.

* McCain.

President Trump is considering pardoning himself. I asked 15 experts if that’s legal. Nixon’s Justice Department warned that the president can’t pardon himself. Yes, Trump can legally pardon himself or his family. No, he shouldn’t.

Watching ‘Fox & Friends,’ Trump Sees a Two-Way Mirror. Trump Keeps Failing to Destroy Obama’s Legacy, as Aides Assure Trump All Is Fine. Same.

Nothing about the Trump presidency is normal. Keep remembering that.

* That Times interview. Man.

Hillary Clinton is more unpopular than Donald Trump. Let that sink in.

Host a Mueller Firing Rapid Response Event. Are we heading toward a constitutional crisis? “Set aside Putin and follow the money”: a Russia expert’s theory of the Trump scandal. Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort. Oppo research! It’s probably a lot worse than we thought.

Thus, we have multiple pathways forward, none of them look good.

The one area where Trump has been wildly successful. We’re going to be living with the consequences of this trainwreck for a long time.

* I hope this happens to him everywhere he goes for the rest of his life.

Undocumented Dad Says Tearful Goodbye to His Kids Before Being Deported in Heartbreaking Video.

* A Deportation at MIT.

* Google Glass, but for making work even more miserable.

Data analysis of 34,476 comic book characters reveals they’re sexist as hell.

Volumes like Platform Capitalism and Ours to Hack and to Own should convince careful readers that our current, barely regulated gig economy is not sustainable. Subjecting workers to a national (or even global) reverse auction of wages and work conditions—where they are under constant pressure to perform tasks faster, and for less, than rivals will—is a recipe for exhaustion and poverty for those unlucky enough to be trapped in the platform matrix. Moreover, it is also a prelude to deflation and economic collapse, as precarious work provokes a twenty-first century revival of Keynes’s paradox of thrift.

2017 is so unexpectedly warm it is freaking out climate scientists.

The Trouble With Sex Robots.

Wes Anderson Names 12 of His Favorite Art Films.

* When Bachman was King.

* Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s book is one of the studio’s only upcoming movies that’s not a follow-up or a remake.

* White Women in Robes: Race and The Handmaid’s Tale. I thought a lot about this while teaching the book this summer and still think Adam’s post on Gilead and ISIS is the best explanation beyond “semi-woke producers trying to avoid negative thinkpiece coverage” I’ve seen.

* Elizabeth Moss, “Accidental Activist.”

* No thanks. The Producers of HBO’s Confederate Respond to the Backlash and Explain Why They Wanted to Tell This Story.

* Philosophy and the Cold War.

* Teen Vogue‘s Guide to Anal Sex.

Defendants Can’t Be Jailed Solely Because of Inability to Post Bail, Judge Says.

* Gasp! What a shocking, one-time-only transgression from a uniquely bad apple.

It’s Time For Democrats To Stop Defending Obamacare And Start Replacing It.

The Good Guy with a Gun Theory, Debunked.

* Eugenics in America.

“In the state of Florida, there is no law in place that requires a person to render aid or call to render aid to a victim in distress,” Yvonne Martinez, a spokeswoman for the Cocoa Police Department, said on Friday.

How Fake Cops Got $1.2 Million in Real Weapons.

* Being Sansa Stark.

* We Asked People What Childhood Moment Shaped Them the Most.

New MIT Study Suggests Sonic The Hedgehog Might Be Living In Computer Simulation.

“Here was a story that asked the reader to actively oppose a cowardly hero, to drag the character against his will into conflict with a monster that turns out to be himself.”

* Robots: they’re just like us!

* Burn, baby, burn.

Supersized ICFA Weekend Links!

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* Hey, ICFAites! I’m posting this too late to hype yesterday’s talk on Black Panther and Wakanda as Nation, but there’s still time to hype my Rogue One roundtable at 8:30 and the Modern Masters of Science Fiction book signing at 12:30…

* One week from today! Buffy at 20!

* I really appreciated The New Inquiry‘s most recent issue on prison abolition, including this piece on home monitoring, this one on deaf inmates, and this one on bureaucratic malice.

* Awesome IndieGoGo success story: Nimuno LEGO tape.

Every attempt to manage academia makes it worse.

* Teach the controversy: Did the CIA really astrally project to Mars in 1984?

* Neat project I’m coming late to: Young People Read Old SFF.

“Mr. Thursday.” By Emily St. John Mandel.

* Starfleet or bust.

* The Gig Economy and Working Yourself to Death.

What Happens If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off in Manhattan? How to survive a nuclear blast.

Other genres merely represent everyday life. Science fiction hopes to change it.

* Humans, on brand.

New Zealand river granted same legal rights as human being.

The Existential Hokiness of Rick & Morty.

Purplish Haze: The Science Fiction Vision of Jimi Hendrix.

“Comrade, Can You Paint My Horse?” Soviet Kids’ Books Today.

* Being Kim Stanley Robinson. After the Great Dithering.

Julia muppet
Credit: Sesame Workshop

* Sesame Street’s newest puppet is a four-year-old with autism.

Disabled Americans: Stop Murdering Us.

* “Let’s talk about the weird psychosexual energy in Beauty and the Beast.”

* “The monsters of Kong: Skull Island are as brilliantly rendered as its politics are muddled and queasy.”

* “Humpback whales are organizing in huge numbers, and no one knows why.”

Animal rights lawyer says zoos are solitary confinement for animals. No animals have all the attributes of human minds; but almost all the attributes of human minds are found in some animal or other. The beginning of the end of meat. Scientists are messing around with 3-D printed cheese.

* Great news: Authorities believe they’ve captured the individual responsible for most of the JCC bomb threats. The Slip-Up That Caught the Jewish Center Bomb Caller.

With a 10-day supply of opioids, 1 in 5 become long-term users. Drugs are killing so many people in Ohio that cold-storage trailers are being used as morgues.

With Trump Poised to Change the Legal Landscape, the Clock May Be Ticking on Graduate Unions. The shamelessness with which college administrations have courted this outcome is amazing, even by college administration standards.

How One Family Is Beating the NCAA at Its Own Game.

Here’s the Important Stuff That Happens in Iron Fist So You Don’t Have to Watch It. Netflix and Marvel’s Iron Fist is an ill-conceived, poorly written disaster. The Iron Fist TV Series Is Marvel and Netflix’s First Big Failure. Five Comments on Iron Fist.

* Paranoia in the Trump White House. Trumpism and academia. Trump’s Cuts. A day in the life of a poor American under Trump’s proposed budget. North Korea. The Incredible Cruelty of Trumpcare. Trumpcare goes down. Democrats Will Filibuster Neil Grouch’s Nomination. What to ask about Russian hacking. New York Attorney General Steps Up Scrutiny of White House. Why they voted Trump. r/Donald. It’s a better time to be doing any kind of leftist politics than it was a decade ago. Well, we’ll see…

* It’s hard in all this mess to pay attention to the little things, but man.

* My fascism will be big, beautiful, and sustainable, or it will be bullshit.

Overall, Obama’s performance in office looks like most American presidencies since Reagan, not altering all that much at home while pressing ahead with imperial tasks abroad—in effect, a largely conventional stewardship of neo-liberal capitalism and military-diplomatic expansionism. No new direction for either society or empire emerged under him. Obama’s rule was in this sense essentially stand-pat: business as usual. On another plane, however, his tenure was innovative. For he is the first celebrity President—that is, a politician whose very appearance was a sensation, from the earliest days of his quest for the Democratic nomination onwards: to be other than purely white, as well as good-looking and mellifluous, sufficed for that. Catapulted into the White House on colour charisma and economic crisis, and commanding the first congressional supermajority since Carter, Obama in office continued to be an accomplished vote-winner and champion money-raiser. But celebrity is not leadership, and is not transferrable. The personality it projects allows no diffusion. Of its nature, it requires a certain isolation. Obama, relishing his aura and aware of the risks of diluting it, made little attempt to mobilize the populace who cast their ballots for him, and reserved the largesse showered on him by big money for further acclamation at the polls. What mattered was his personal popularity. His party hardly counted, and his policies had little political carry-through.

What If Students Only Went to School Four Days a Week?

Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.

* Body cameras and the nightmare state.

* When corporations colonize academia.

White, Irish, and undocumented in America.

Children as young as 3 detained 500 days — and counting — in disgraceful immigrant prisons. Rape Victims Aren’t Seeking Help For Fear Of Deportation, Police Say. Banking on Deportation. There was an Africa trade meeting with no Africans because all their visas got denied.

Sheriff David Clarke’s jail forced a woman to give birth while in shackles. The newborn died.

* The long now: A Computer-Generated Coliseum that Will Disintegrate for 1,000 Years.

Scientists Brace for a Lost Generation in American Research.

* A special issue of Orbit devoted to David Foster Wallace.

* Functional illiteracy in Detroit.

* Why Does Mt. Rushmore Exist?

Everybody in the NBA is obsessed with PB&J sandwiches.

* Missing Richard Simmons turned out super gross. Don’t listen.

Congress Moves to Strike Internet Privacy Rules From Obama Era.

* I’ve been really interested in this: A major study finding that voter ID laws hurt minorities isn’t standing up well under scrutiny. A follow-up study suggests voter ID laws may not have a big effect on elections.

* Are we raising racists? Pay attention to what your kids watch on their screens.

* Tomb of Santa uncovered in Siberia.

* Educational attainment in America.

The Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson Marriage Will Never Ever Return “Up To Infinity” Says Dan Slott.

* Or a tweet. Probably a tweet.

A Tale Which Must Never Be Told: A New Biography of George Herriman.

Trans, Disabled, And Tired Of Fighting To Get Into Bathrooms.

* Appliances used to last decades.

A year in Eden: Remaining cast of TV show finally leave their remote Highland home.

Now the remaining cast of a TV show have finally left their remote home – to virtual anonymity.

Instead of being crowned reality TV celebrities and fought over by agents, the 10 who made it through the 12 months have learned that only four episodes have been shown – the last seven months ago.

* Mr. Rogers vs. the Ku Klux Klan.

* Andy Daly reviews Review.

* CFP: Chuck Berry in the Anthropocene.

* The Rise of Bowie Studies.

* SNL quick change, Jeff Sessions to mermaid.

* I still believe in a place called Duckburg.

* No.

* Respectfully disagree.

* Action Lad and the Living Sword!

* And the arc of history is long, but there’s an Attack from Mars pinball machine remake coming later this year.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 25, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Closing Every Tab Because My Computer Will Barely Work Right Now Links

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proxy

Sorry I’ve been so quiet! Between summer teaching and wrapping up a few big projects it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Here’s every tab I had open!

* CFP: Hamilton: A Special Issue of Studies in Musical Theatre.

* 2016 World Fantasy Award Finalists and Shirley Jackson Award Winners.

Marquette one of five universities in nation selected for the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.

Graduate students in literary studies may often feel despair, even deadness and meanness, but an excess of cool seems like an especially implausible explanation. Far more damaging are bad mentoring, crippling overwork, social and geographic isolation, and the absence of opportunities to join the profession after spending a decade training. For too many graduate students, whether critical or postcritical, earning a PhD is the end — not the beginning — of a promising academic career. The skepticism that threatens graduate students and young faculty members results, therefore, not from the skepticism of academic theorists but from the skepticism of legislatures, administrators, donors, austerity-loving think tanks, and taxpayers. The Hangman of Critique.

* Jeff Vandermeer: Hauntings in the Anthropocene.

The Legendary Ted Chiang on Seeing His Stories Adapted and the Ever-Expanding Popularity of SF.

The Year’s Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories Have Been Determined.

100 African Writers of SFF.

* The Best of Science Fiction (1946) and The Big Book of Science Fiction (2016).

* Cleveland Police Are Gearing Up for Mayhem at the GOP Convention. Case Western in the News: Changes to campus operations during RNC. What’s a University For? Meet the Student Fighting Case Western U. for Shutting Down Campus to House 1,900 Police Officers.

* At least the convention went great.

* “Secretary Clinton Is A Different Person Than Donald Trump,” Says Bernie Sanders in Ringing Endorsement. GOP Establishment Relieved After Conventionally Abhorrent Beliefs Make Way Onto Presidential Ticket.

* Clinton has 945 Ways to Win. Trump Has 72.

* A Brief History of Turkey and Military Coups. The view from inside the bunker. Turkey ‘suspends 15,000 state education employees’ after attempted coup, including 1,577 deans at all universities.

US air strike in Syria kills nearly 60 civilians ‘mistaken for Isil fighters.’

* Bleeding the poor with fees and fines, Virginia edition.

* The end of Roger Ailes. The Drudge Era.

* Now, Baton Rouge. A 538 Special on Gun Deaths in America. The Tamir Rice Story: How to Make a Police Shooting Disappear. “One group is responsible for America’s culture of violence, and it isn’t cops, black Americans, Muslims or rednecks.” No lives matter. And from the archives: A Manifesto from People Reluctant to Kill for an Abstraction.

* Donald Trump’s Deals Rely on Being Creative with the Truth. Donald Trump Heads Into The Convention With Barely Any Campaign At All: Many of the numbers listed for his state offices don’t even work. Did you ever have to make up your mind? Donald Trump’s Announcement of Mike Pence in 18 Tweets. “Trump’s campaign logo mocked on Twitter.” He’s Really Pretty Bad at This. Being Honest about Trump. Jeb! We Play the Trump Board Game So You Don’t Have To. Republicans Keeping Their Dignity.  Teach the controversy: Is Trump Working for Russia? Understanding Trump Supporters: The Machine of Morbius. Back to the Future in Cleveland. The Last GOP President?

Won’t it be great when Donald Trump becomes president because you wrote a fucking BuzzFeed article daring him to run? Confessions of Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter.

Donald Trump Said Hillary Clinton Would ‘Make a Good President’ in 2008. Donald Trump should talk about Hillary Clinton’s email all the time. Here’s why. Pollster Frank Luntz: GOP has ‘lost’ the millennial generation.

There are about 20 households where she now lives. Like Susie, most of the residents in Snowflake have what they call “environmental illness”, a controversial diagnosis that attributes otherwise unexplained symptoms to pollution.

* Newborn Ducklings Judge Shape and Color.

* Small Arms, Long Reach: America’s Rifle Abroad.

Education Department’s proposed rule for student debt forgiveness could threaten traditional colleges as well as for-profits, particularly over its broad view of what counts as misrepresentation. College and the Class Divide. Wicked Liberalism.

As a result, in one of the richest countries that has ever existed, about 15 percent of the population faces down bare cupboards and empty refrigerators on a routine basis.

* Dying in America, Without Insurance.

* When Not to Get Married: Some 19th Century Advice.

* The Ontology of Calvin and Hobbes.

* Understanding Cousin Pam.

The Fight Between Berkeley’s Academics And Its Football Team Is Getting Ugly.

* A Modest Proposal: Eliminate Email.

Black Dishwasher at Yale University Loses Job After Shattering “Racist, Very Degrading” Stained-Glass Panel. Yale Rehires. Broken window theory: Corey Menafee and the history of university service labor.

* Ghostbusters (2016) and The Fan. Fake Controversy, Terrible Comedy. Ghostbusters‘ nostalgia problem. And from the archives!

Ghostbusters more than any other film highlights the growing devaluation of public-sector jobs at the hands of privatized for-profit entities operating for mercenary reasons. The protagonists of this movie spend their time removing unwanted, unpaying residents from spaces they occupied their whole lives (and longer) and placing them into a form of prison at the behest of the current owners who can get more rent from more affluent persons and don’t like the neighborhood being ‘brought down’ by those now-undesirable who lived there first. Not only that, but budget cuts have forced the New York Public Library to retain the dead as current employees, cutting into what should have been their final retirement, and the entire crux of the film comes from belittling and mocking elected officials’ uselessness in the face of corporations who can solve the city’s problems for cash and without all the useless regulation tying up the mayor, firefighters and police. Ghostbusters is essentially Blackwater for the dead, cleaning up the town of its unwanted past, making life safe for the corporate oligarchies.

* A Zero Star Review of The Secret Life of Pets.

‘Pokémon Go’ and the Persistent Myth of Stranger Danger. If Pokémon Go could resemble the best of childhood, it might have some value. What it actually does is very different.

* We Are All Queer Now.

* Did Wes Anderson Design North Korea?

How Sexual Harassment Halts Science.

Why rich parents are terrified their kids will fall into the “middle class.”

* Prepare to cry: Appleton teen makes heartbreaking decision to die.

To recap, the idea behind the Reverse Turing Test is that instead of thinking about the ways in which machines can be human-like we should also think about the ways in which humans can be machine-like.

* “He noted that further research is needed”: Women Wearing Low-Cut Tops In Application Photos Are 19 Times More Likely to Land a Job Interview.

* Penn State Football really should have gotten the NCAA death penalty.

* Am I a man, dreaming he is a Pokémon, or am I a Pokémon dreaming he is a man? Here’s All the Data Pokémon (Was) Leeching From Your Phone. Resist Pokémon Go. And as Adorno said: To catch Pokémon after Auschwitz is barbaric.

* OK, just take my money: Nintendo’s next assault on nostalgia is a mini-NES with 30 built-in games.

* Canon Police: Sulu’s Sexuality. But, you know, let’s not lose our heads. J.J. Abrams Won’t Re-Cast Anton Yelchin’s Role in ‘Star Trek’ Movies. For Some Baffling Reason, This Star Trek Beyond TV Spot Spoils the Big Twist. But the next one will be good, we swear.

* That piece I’m writing on Star Wars and canonicity will just never, ever be finished: Grand Admiral Thrawn Joins Rebels and the New Star Wars Canon.

* The headline reads, “Gonorrhea may soon be unbeatable.”

* Cancer, or, death by immortality.

Hacking the brain in Silicon Valley.

This blind Apple engineer is transforming the tech world at only 22.

Comic Books Are More Popular Now Than They’ve Been in 20 Years.

* Presenting the Apollo 11 Code.

* 67 Years of LEGO — by the numbers.

legos-are-graying

Darwin’s Kids Doodled All Over His “Origin of Species” Manuscript.

Neanderthals Ate Each Other and Used Their Bones as Tools.

* The Films Rian Johnson had the Episode 8 Cast Watch.

* This sizzle reel from Rogue One is the best.

* Treaty loophole might let someone claim ownership of the Moon.

Should You Quit Your Job To Go Make Video Games?

* Understanding endings.

A civil servant missing most of his brain challenges our most basic theories of consciousness.

* And Mightygodking pitches the dark, gritty Sesame Street reinterpretation you didn’t know you needed.

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 22, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Surprise Sunday Links! Watch Out!

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* The route Google Maps recommends if you’re headed to Ferrum College from the west involves what may be the loneliest and most roller-coaster-like stretch of roadway ever to earn a state route number from Virginia. It’s a narrow ribbon of pavement with no center line, a twisting trail you drive imagining that if you go over the edge, weeks could pass before anyone found the wreckage. Only at the other end do you spot a yellow sign that reads, “GPS Routing Not Advised.” Small, Rural Colleges Grapple With Their Geography.

* A friend recommended the short Cuban SF novel Super Extra Grande to me, which I liked a lot. Some profiles on the author: 1, 2.

* Horrific terror attack at historic Orlando gay night club leaves 20 dead.

* Scientists think they’ve figured out the Antikythera Mechanism.

* Being Tig Notaro.

* In search of Cervantes’s grave.

* Old and busted: AI. New hotness: IA.

* Landscaping in the Anthropocene.

As an added experiment, the researchers applied their model to the current distribution of human populations on Earth. They found that, under all the same assumptions, 12.5 percent of the global population would be forced to migrate at least 1,000 kilometers, and up to a third of the population would have to move more than 500 kilometers. 

In a paper published in the May issue of the journal Astrobiology, the astronomer Woodruff Sullivan and I show that while we do not know if any advanced extraterrestrial civilizations currently exist in our galaxy, we now have enough information to conclude that they almost certainly existed at some point in cosmic history.

…what our calculation revealed is that even if this probability is assumed to be extremely low, the odds that we are not the first technological civilization are actually high. Specifically, unless the probability for evolving a civilization on a habitable-zone planet is less than one in 10 billion trillion, then we are not the first.

Twitter must fix this. Its brand is increasingly defined by excessive harassment.

* More on The 7-1/2-Hour O.J. Simpson Doc Everyone Will Be Talking About This Summer.

Because poetry is considered so small, so irrelevant, it’s tempting for poetry critics to look for the BIG themes in poems to demonstrate that poetry matters. I continue to learn from critics who take on this labor. However, because ALL African literary criticism is assumed to matter the more it focuses on the BIG SOCIOPOLITICOECONOMICDISASTERTHATISAFRICA, I am inclined to turn to quieter moments—spaces for the intimate, the friendly, the quiet, the loving, the depressed, the depressing, grief, and melancholy. I’m drawn to the register that is not the shout, and never the headline. I linger at the quotidian to insist that the African imagination considers livability and shareability.

For everyone, he claims, is shortchanged when the guiding principle and “key driver” of the institution is no longer thought, but money (ix). Faculty are silenced, yes, by the drive to conformity and homogeneity. But students are also cheated when they are treated simply as “human capital”: “When the university is reduced to the function of preparation for jobs and not for life, life itself gets lost under the jobs” (85). Most broadly and seriously of all, society as a whole suffers as the university abandons its traditional role as “that institution that has a responsibility to counter the incipient violence of natural force” (40). The fate of the university is bound up with the fate of democracy and citizenship at large. If society is to change, and injustice and inequality challenged, we need now more than ever an institution whose role is to be “’critical’ of the existing world state of affairs, dissident with respect to it” (6).

* I sometimes wish tenure were what its enemies believe it is.

* White supremacist PACs and Trump. The stain of Trump. “A GOP senator might vote for Hillary Clinton. Here’s how rare that is.” Trump has underperformed the real estate market by a mere 57% since 1976. Alas, Mitt.

* I’m calling it: Trump will drop out of the race by July 5 at the latest. He will blame the unfair media and political correctness, allude to some wack-ass conspiracy involving Black Lives Matter and/or Hezbollah, and go to his grave telling everyone he knows that if he had stayed in the race, he would’ve beaten Clinton.

* You may be done with your quasi-legal homebrew server, but your quasi-legal homebrew server is not done with you: The FBI has been conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information for months.

We narrowed Clinton’s vice-presidential possibilities to 27. Now you pick one. For a long time I’ve thought it definitely be one of the Castro brothers, probably Julian, but Elizabeth Warren has made such a push lately I’ve started to think it could actually be her. Of course you can pick Trump’s too, from such a weak field it includes his own daughter.

Let me close with a broad statement. In the news you will see some rather hysterical statements about how all bets are off this year. That is true to an extent: on the Republican side, the national party’s positions and their rank-and-file voters’ preferences are far out of whack. In a deep sense, their decision process in 2016 became broken. But that does not mean that opinion is unmeasurable. Far from it. In the aggregate, pollsters still do a good job reaching voters. And voters are still people whose opinions move at a certain speed. To my thinking, polls may be the best remaining way to assess what is happening.

* But just in case: I Spent the 90s Fighting Fascists on the Streets of Warsaw.

* According to multiple federal complaints, young black students in New York City are being forced out of school after being sexually assaulted.

* If you’re not sick of these yet: What Hamilton Forgets About Hamilton.

* The gentrification of Sesame Street.

* Review: Warcraft Is The Battlefield Earth Of The 21st Century. Warcraft, Hollywood, And The Growing Importance Of China’s Box Office.

* Because you demanded it! Kevin Smith Says That His Mallrats Sequel Will Be a 10-Part TV Series.

* Same joke but for The Passion of the Christ 2.

Sixty Million Car Bombs: Inside Takata’s Air Bag Crisis: How the company’s failures led to lethal products and the biggest auto recall in history.

* The case for Lady Stoneheart showing up in season six of Game of Thrones. Let me say I have my doubts.

* What to do if you find a goose than lays golden eggs. Machine Learning: A Flowchart. If you read Kafka’s stories backwards, they all make great kids’ movies.

* And the moral cowards at Wikipedia have moved to suppress my work again.

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning Links!

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