Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault

Wednesday Links

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original* Apocalypse now: Nearly One In 10 U.S. Watersheds Is ‘Stressed.’

* Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa explains why the show is just going to get worse and worse and worse.

The protest took the form of three words, or three letters, scribbled onto equipment tape or actual equipment last Saturday during college football games. All Players United, or A.P.U., it read.

* Sensationalized bullshit gets around the world before nuance even has the chance to get its shoes on: Are Tenured Professors Really Worse Teachers? A Lit Review.

In 2006, however, Eric Bettinger and Bridget Terry Long published a book chapter that did address the graduation rate question by looking at student data. Analyzing the records of 43,000 undergraduates at public, four-year colleges in Ohio, they reached the “straightforward and unambiguous” result that freshman taught by adjuncts were more likely to drop out….

Of note here: The big divide wasn’t between tenured and non-tenured professors, but part-time vs. full-time.

Four years later, Bettinger and Long published a second study that added some interesting nuances to their findings. Ohio freshmen, they found, were actually more likely to take additional classes in a career-oriented field (think business, journalism, or computer science) if their first course was taught by an adjunct. In more academic departments (think English or History) students taught by adjuncts were less likely to come back for more. Once they looked beyond freshmen year, the authors found that adjuncts had a positive effect on student interest in every field, though it was still strongest in pre-professional areas of study.

Digital Craft and Humanistic Perspectives Beyond Academia.

  • We need to avoid the mentality of academic self-propagation – graduate studies should not focus on producing more academics, we should assume the norm is to form students for non-academic jobs (much as we do at the undergraduate level).
  • We need to better valorize the masters as a terminal degree – these aren’t the academic dropouts, they are super-graduates who have chosen not to further specialize.
  • We should explore an enhanced masters (or other designation) that fills an enormous gap between the short masters and the long doctorate.
  • We should, through example, encourage students to think of the value of their humanities knowledge, to be able to express it to others, and in some cases to imagine entrepreneurial opportunities for their expertise (have students feel empowered to create a job rather than searching for one).
  • We need to set a higher standard of digital literacy for humanities programs in simple recognition that graduates will be searching for employment in an information age (and more generally participating in a digital society).
  • We need to provide far more opportunities for humanities graduate students to become creators of contentbeyond text-based academic scholarship – producing such tangible works (digital or otherwise) can be valuable in a portfolio and lead to the development of differentiating skillsets on the job market.
  • We need to disrupt the dominance of the classroom-centric, multi-course per term format which seems to persist far more out of bureaucratic habit and convenience than pedagogical soundness. An alternative model is the “block plan” at Quest University, where students take intensive three-week courses. Graduate students might be expected to spend several consecutive days absorbing the more relevant and thought-provoking materials available, from published articles and monographs to blog posts and online videos. There may even be room for a MOOC-like component to provide some core concepts in highly produced and polished form (yes, as heretical as it may sound, I do believe that some aspects of knowledge in the humanities can be fairly neatly packaged, especially in a hybrid model where there are also more intensive small-scale interactions).

* Doin’ it wrong: Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth. UPDATE: An apology (kind of). UPDATE UPDATE: Hazlit has now published the full interview.

* Reforming campus rape culture and sexual assault unreporting.

* Public service announcement: Harvard is ridiculously rich. Please do not donate money to Harvard.

* Ballard, Miéville, Seinfeld, and the pornography of infinity.

Real-world Civilization game shows impact of war.

* It’s the utterly pointless prequel you’ve been dying to see, almost the ultimate crystallization of what’s wrong with this trend: Commissioner Gordon.

* 18 Products You’ve Been Using Wrong. At least one or two of these is actually helpful!

* Gawker announces plan to solve the privilege hierarchy once and for all.

* And a diver has finally captured our first photographic evidence of the creature scientists call “the Cookie Monster of the Sea.”

Stove Pipe Sponge, Aplysina archeri

Tuesday Night!

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* Run the university like a business! Efficiency! Synergy! Dynamism!

Due to its 2010 renovation of Memorial Stadium, Cal Athletics is obligated to pay annual interest of $18.1 million until principal starts to be paid back in 2032. According to the new financial model within the report by professors from the Haas School of Business, the debt payments may rise to as high as $81.9 million in 2053.

* NCAA Reduces Penalties On Penn State For Sandusky Scandal.

* The NFL ripoff.

Taxpayers fund the stadiums, antitrust law doesn’t apply to broadcast deals, the league enjoys nonprofit status, and Commissioner Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year. It’s time to stop the public giveaways to America’s richest sports league—and to the feudal lords who own its teams.

* As I work to organize adjunct faculty in Ohio and nationally, my own biggest fear is that any successes we have will erase our collective memory of our adjunct experience and desensitize us to the reality of the least advantaged of our students. If our efforts re-gild instead of reclaim the ivory tower, then we will have failed our students and ourselves. Adjuncts, Class, and Fear. Casual Labor and the Future of the Academy. Adjunct professors are the new working poor.

* Tenure nightmare: A cautionary tale for those needing a Green Card to work in the U.S.

H. Adam Ackley, Transgender Theology Professor, Asked To Leave California’s Azusa Pacific University.

* Ninth Circuit Clarifies First Amendment Rights of Public University Professors.

* And the world’s largest tortoise found. Whoa. THE WORST NEWS SINCE @horse_ebooks.

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Wednesday MOOCs, Strikes, Scandals, Snubs, and Flubs

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* The fast food workers’ strike hits Milwaukee.

MOOCs and For Profit Universities: A Closer Look. Aaron’s put the extended text of his talk up at TNI: The MOOC Moment and the End of Reform.

The first thing I want to do, then, is slow us down a bit, and go through the last year with a bit more care than we’re usually able to do, to do a “close reading” of the year of the MOOC, as it were. Not only because I have the time, but because, to be blunt, MOOC’s only make sense if you don’t think about it too much, if you’re in too much of a hurry to go deeply into the subject.

U-Va. MOOC finds high attrition, high satisfaction. Georgia Tech goes full-on MOOC Masters Degree.

* Obama student loan policy overcharging student borrowers by at least 51 billion dollars.

IRS Sent Same Letter to Democrats That Fed Tea Party Row. Gasp! You mean this whole scandal isn’t?

* Adam Kotsko on the US as a party state.

The really disturbing thing is that the party duopoly renders both parties above the law. We can see this in the IRS scandal that is currently unfolding: although there are very good reasons to suspect Tea Party organizations of being less than completely upright when it comes to taxes, the formal state apparatus is likely to back down and sanction the agents who carried out those investigations, because the appearance of neutrality vis-à-vis the two parties is more important than the rule of law. Similarly, one cannot prosecute Bush-era war crimes, because that would be an illegitimately “partisan” move. Given that Clinton and Obama have both committed similar atrocities, one might have some sympathy with the inevitable Republican whining that would accompany a Bush prosecution — it genuinely wouldn’t be “fair.” But it’s when one asks why we don’t just prosecute Bush and Obama that we realize that the two parties are truly above the law — a bipartisan agreement on foreign policy trumps even the most sacred norms of international law.

Six Reasons Why Race-and-IQ Scholarship is an Intellectual and Moral Dead End, with bonus followup.

In the US, it’s common to think of sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition, as a “black disease,” and in fact statistics on prevalence bear that out — black Americans are far more likely than whites to carry the sickle cell gene. But that fact, it turns out, is a result of ethnicity and history, not race.

Sickle cell is common in some parts of Africa, and some parts of Europe, but not others. As it turns out, most American blacks have ancestral origins in areas of sickle-cell prevalence, and most American whites do not. But if the geographic distribution of Americans’ ancestors were different — if, for instance, the country had been settled by South African blacks and Sicilian whites — the incidence of sickle cell in the white population would be higher than the incidence in the black population.

Race is a form of shorthand, in other words. It’s an approximation. In some situations, for some purposes, it’s a useful approximation. If you’re trying to tell someone which of your several friends named Jim you’re referring to, specifying that you mean “the white Jim” may be helpful, and if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck in a sickle-cell awareness media campaign, targeting black media may have merit.

But the fact remains that Nelson Mandela is at less risk of sickle cell than Al Pacino.

See also Race and IQ: That Old Canard.

* Even the Onion wouldn’t stoop this low for a bit: Soldier In Charge of Sex Assault Prevention Accused of Abuse, Pimping.

* Homeland Security goes after Bitcoin.

Media Matters humiliates itself.

* And xkcd reports on which running jokes the aliens are just finding out about.

interstellar_memes

Weekend Links

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* Science fiction in Africa: Here’s a 23-minute BBC World Service documentary about science fiction in Africa, hosted by Zoo City author Lauren Beukes, who speaks to various luminaries, writers and commentators, including District 9 creator Neill Blomkamp.

* Emily Yoffe: I was sexually assaulted three times before I was 20. Here’s why I never told my family or the police.

* So you’ve decided to make a Sandusky prison rape joke.

* Tim Kreider wants you to like A.I.

* We need to recognize that the tax cutters were snake oil salesmen, the Federal Reserve an enabler of damaging debts and that bilateral trade deals are written of, by and for global financiers, not workers. To paraphrase the Huey Lewis song, we need a new policy.

* Sorkin’s ‘Newsroom’ Is No Place For Optimism.

* When you touch goo, you shouldn’t have gloves on you: science training from the Weyland Corporation.

* And just because it’s Saturday: some recent photos of my daughter, for people who love things that are adorable…

Late Night Monday

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* While my cousin was visiting last weekend we saw both Toy Story 3 and Exit Through the Gift Shop, both of which I endorse for entirely different reasons. What I find most interesting about Exit is the possibility that large swaths of the documentary, perhaps even the whole thing, are a high-concept Banksy prank; what I like best about Toy Story 3 is how bravely it faces down the themes of mortality and obsolescence that have always been the subtext of the series. That the toys (spoiler alert) receive their inevitable reprieve is ultimately a small consolation; in the end, we must admit Lotso had it right.

* This short but intriguing post from Crooked Timber compares the Toy Story franchise to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, concluding (as we must) that Stinky Pete is the existential hero of the series, the only character who is genuinely free.

* World Cup supervillain Koman Coulibaly apparently fired.

* Steve Benen and Ezra Klein look at how a utilities-only compromise on cap and trade might work. Here too is Brad Plumer on what EPA regulation can and cannot accomplish.

* If I’m reading this correctly, Matt Yglesias wants to turn Detroit into District 9. More on Detroit and this week’s U.S. Social Forum here and here.

* Speaking of District 9: Will Neill Blomkamp direct The Hobbit?

* There’s something about this piece on spiked anti-rape protection in South Africa that gets people talking. I can’t count how many times it’s shown up in my Facebook feed.

* One day late for Father’s Day: “Daddy, could we have our planet back now?”

* Pandagon highlights a study linking sexual aggression and heavy porn use.

* Why the Right is fantasizing about a 2012 primary challenge.

It’s easy to see why conservatives would be salivating at the thought of a Hillary primary challenge. Presidents who face serious primary challenges—Ford, Carter, Bush I—almost always lose. The last president who lost re-election without a serious primary challenge, by contrast, was Herbert Hoover. But in truth, the chances that Obama will face a primary challenge are vanishingly slim, and the chances that he will lose re-election only slightly higher. No wonder conservatives are fantasizing about Hillary Clinton taking down Barack Obama. If she doesn’t, it’s unlikely they will.

* And so it’s come to this.

Unimaginable

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The depravity of some crimes challenges your hope for humanity. I’m sorry for posting this, but I feel punched in the gut for having read it.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 5, 2009 at 6:04 am

McCain LieWatch for Saturday, September 13

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Here’s a list of McCain camp lies I’ve seen exposed in articles I’ve read just in the last half-hour.

* Lying about their crowd sizes.

McCain aide Kimmie Lipscomb told reporters on Sept. 10 that an outdoor rally in Fairfax City, Virginia, drew 23,000 people, attributing the crowd estimate to a fire marshal.

Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it. Wilson, in an interview, said the fire department does not monitor attendance at outdoor events.

In recent days, journalists attending the rallies have been raising questions about the crowd estimates with the campaign. In a story on Sept. 11 about Palin’s attraction for some Virginia women voters, Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign.

* Lying about the Bridge to Nowhere even more egregiously than we thought.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has portrayed herself as a foe of pork-barrel spending, pointing in particular to her role in killing the $398 million “Bridge to Nowhere” between Ketchikan (pop. 7,400) and its airport on Gravina Island (pop. 50). I “told the Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,'” she said in her speech accepting the Republican vice presidential nomination. “If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves.”

But Gov. Palin’s administration acknowledges that it is still pursuing a project that would link Ketchikan to its airport — with the help of as much as $73 million in federal funds earmarked by Congress for the original project.

* Lying about her “trip to Iraq.”

Sarah Palin’s visit to Iraq in 2007 consisted of a brief stop at a border crossing between Iraq and Kuwait, the vice presidential candidate’s campaign said yesterday, in the second official revision of her only trip outside North America.

Following her selection last month as John McCain’s running mate, aides said Palin had traveled to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq to meet with members of the Alaska National Guard. During that trip she was said to have visited a “military outpost” inside Iraq. The campaign has since repeated that Palin’s foreign travel included an excursion into the Iraq battle zone.

* Lying about Future Combat Systems.

“He promised them he would, quote, ‘slow our development of Future Combat Systems,’” McCain said, according to wire reports. “This is not a time to slow our development of Future Combat Systems.”

Flashback to July, however, when his campaign furnished McCain’s economic plan to The Washington Post, declaring that “there are lots of procurements — Airborne Laser, [C-17] Globemaster, Future Combat System [sic] — that should be ended and the entire Pentagon budget should be scrubbed.”

* Lying about book-banning at the local library.

So, what do we know at this point? Time reported last week that Palin asked Emmons about the process for banning library books. Emmons was reportedly “aghast” at the question. Soon after, Palin fired Emmons, and news reports from the time indicate that Palin thought Emmons hadn’t done enough to give her “full support” to the mayor. (Palin reversed course on Emmons’s dismissal after a local outcry.)

ABC News added a report this week, explaining that Palin took office thanks in large part to the strong backing of her church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, which, right around the time Palin took office, “began to focus on certain books” the church wanted to see removed from shelves.

And now we know Palin repeatedly broached the subject of banning books, and locals acknowledge that Palin, as mayor, “brought pressure on the library.”

* Lying about the truly despicable practice of making women in Wasilla pay for their own rape kits.

Despite denials by the Palin campaign, new evidence proves that as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin had a direct hand in imposing fees to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams conducted by the city to gather evidence.

Palin’s role is now confirmed by Wasilla City budget documents available online.

They will lie without shame, as long as the media will not shame them.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 13, 2008 at 5:55 pm