Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘so long and thanks for all the fish

All the Monday Links (A Ton)

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* You can read my review of Dan Hassler-Forest’s Capitalist Superheroes (“No Dads: Cuckolds, Dead Fathers, and Capitalist Superheroes“) as the free preview for the Los Angeles Review of Books Digital Edition on Science Fiction.

“We have been dismayed by news reports of a handful of colleges and universities that have threatened to cut the courseloads of part-time faculty members specifically in order to evade this provision of the law,” a statement from the American Association of University Professors reads. “Such actions are reprehensible, penalizing part-time faculty members both by depriving them access to affordable health care as intended by law and by reducing their income.” More at the Chronicle.

18th-Century Connecticutian or Muppet?

Film School Thesis Statement Generator. This is uncannily good.

Mad Men calls into question the post-war crisis of masculinity through its strategic use of narrative ellipses.

* The people vs. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Cathy Davidson explains why she’s teaching a MOOC. Since I know Cathy (a little) and feel bad about disagreeing so absolutely completely with her, I’ll just leave it there.

Socialism, not capitalism, will get kids out of the mines and away from the drive-through window. And we can’t create that future until we stop the present. Gavin Mueller vs. the machines, in Jacobin‘s special issue on work and automation.

It is insufficient to respond by pointing to productivity gains to justify automation — that’s a management trick. Automation’s prime function is to destroy the ability of workers to control the pace of work. The results are bloody. As Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin document in Detroit, I Do Mind Dying, while management attributed productivity gains in the auto industry to automation, black workers credited “niggermation”: the practice of forcing them to work at high speeds on dangerous machinery.

Such shocking terminology underscores a crucial truth. Robots weren’t responsible for those cars; rather, it was brutalized black bodies. A 1973 study estimated that sixty-five auto workers died per day from work-related injuries, a higher casualty rate than that of American soldiers in Vietnam. Those who survived often suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. This bloodbath is directly attributable to the disempowering effects of automation. Had workers retained control, they wouldn’t have worked at such a deadly pace.

Life on Mars to become a reality in 2023, Dutch firm claims.

AIDS ‘Patient Zero’ was a publicity strategy, scholar writes.

* How damaged are NFL players’ brains?

* Violence, mournability, and West, Texas.

* Movies in Color, The Color Palettes of Stills from Famous Films. More links below Stevesie.

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Can slaughterhouses be humane?

* Bad news, everyone.

* Four college coeds dream of trading their rote lecture halls and cinderblock dorms—is this a for-profit university?—for the debauchery of Florida spring break. Standing between them and their escape is a shortage of ready cash. Lacking alternatives like Mastercards, they solve their liquidity crisis by knocking over a local fried chicken joint. Most jarring in these opening moments is not the violence of the robbery, but the obviously incredible possibility that four college students in the United States lack access to easy credit. After all, what is a student today without the potential for indebtedness? “High as Finance,” from The New Inquiry‘s critical supplement on Spring Breakers.

Gunfire Erupts at Denver Pro-Marijuana 4/20 Celebrations, Injuring Three. Gunman Sought After Shootout at Nuclear Power Plant in Tennessee.

* Spoiler alert: They’re going to overfish the Arctic till it dies.

* Graeber vs. austerity.

* The headline reads, “China Wants to Ban Superstition, Mandate Science.”

* Disney said no to Iron Man 3: Demon in a Bottle. The fools.

Despite allegations that he knew about a rape and tried to protect his players who committed it, despite widespread criticism that he didn’t punish his team enough and that he should be fired, and despite a grand jury that could charge him looming next week, the powerful Steubenville High football coach Reno Saccocia has been approved for a two-year administrative contract, the city superintendent confirmed to The Atlantic Wire Monday afternoon.

* Presenting the Calvin and Hobbes app.

* And “university professor” is only the 14th best job in the country. Damn you, actuaries!

Tuesday MOOCs, and More!

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* Professor Leaves a MOOC in Mid-Course in Dispute Over Teaching. The details on this are fascinating:

Gary Matkin, the dean for distance education at Irvine, said the problem had stemmed from Mr. McKenzie’s reluctance to loosen his grip on students who he thought were not learning well in the course.“

In Professor McKenzie’s view, for instance, uninformed or superfluous responses to the questions posed in the discussion forums hobbled the serious students in their learning,” said Mr. Matkin in an e-mail.

Irvine officials, however, “felt that the course was very strong and well designed,” he said, “and that it would, indeed, meet the learning objectives of the large audience, including both those interested only in dipping into the subject and those who were seriously committed” to completing the course.

Twitter user @cjprender has a slightly different take.

* MOOCs: What if the cure is worse than the disease?

Perhaps I’m overly cynical, but I think the real root of MOOC-mania is an edifice complex on the part of university presidents and trustees.  The last time I checked, the average university president in this country served for about four years before moving on to greener pastures.  It used to be that the easiest way to leave a legacy on campus would be to build something.  With bond financing nearly impossible to come by these days, the easiest (but not necessarily least expensive) way to build something is to create a virtual campus.

* ‘8 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment.’ Stupid vital careers necessary for the smooth operation and reproduction of social goods! Why don’t you get paid, son?

* Bérubé: The Humanities, Unraveled.

large_4ca6295c0ca1b_1These serene Chinese landscapes are actually photographs of landfills.

* Don’t Panic, But Thousands of Dolphins Were Spotted Swimming Away Off the Coast of San Diego.

* Don’t hate the player; hate the game.

Alligator OK to eat on Lenten Fridays, archbishop clarifies.

* Being Ken Jennings.

Forthcoming Film Is Defense of For-Profit Colleges, Critics Say.

The narration for one of the film’s early promotional trailers includes references to the “attack” on the proprietary sector by policy makers, politicians, unions, and other critics who “protect the flawed status quo.”

“Many politicians continue to manipulate the truth and serve the interests of the unions in order to keep the private sector from serving adult learners, creating a virtual, permanent underclass,” says the narrator in one clip that was on the Web site of Fractured Atlas but was replaced afterThe Chronicle inquired about it.

Unions! I hate those guys.

The End of Fish

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Still Unhappy About It

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Back from Canada Links

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Scenes from the Apocalypse

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Thousands of dead fish have washed up on beaches in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Low oxygen levels in warm water is believed to be to blame.

It Isn’t Over Just Because You’ve Stopped the Leak

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When the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, BP was presented with a stark choice: Let the oil float to the surface, reach the shore, and allow the world to see the full scope of the damage; or hit as much of the oil as possible with toxic substances called dispersants to break it up into trillions of tiny droplets, keeping some of it from reaching the surface and making landfall—but also potentially killing more sea life than the oil might have destroyed by itself. The company chose the latter.

Mother Jones has a huge report this month focusing on both the long-term effects of the BP spill (including the overuse of dispersant primarily for PR reasons) as well as the company’s attempts to cover these unhappy facts up.