Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘speedup

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!

Wednesday (Nothin’ But) Links

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Tuesday!

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* Grieving, From Asbury Park. Clarence Clemons and the History of the Rock Sideman. With Clarence Clemons, the notes that mattered most weren’t on the saxophone.

* Mysteries of Göbekli Tepe.

Discovering that hunter-gatherers had constructed Göbekli Tepe was like finding that someone had built a 747 in a basement with an X-Acto knife. “I, my colleagues, we all thought, What? How?” Schmidt said. Paradoxically, Göbekli Tepe appeared to be both a harbinger of the civilized world that was to come and the last, greatest emblem of a nomadic past that was already disappearing. The accomplishment was astonishing, but it was hard to understand how it had been done or what it meant. “In 10 or 15 years,” Schmidt predicts, “Göbekli Tepe will be more famous than Stonehenge. And for good reason.”

* Of course you had me at Barthelme in Space.

* Mother Jones and a brief history of the speedup.

Webster’s defines speedup as “an employer’s demand for accelerated output without increased pay,” and it used to be a household word. Bosses would speed up the line to fill a big order, to goose profits, or to punish a restive workforce. Workers recognized it, unions (remember those?) watched for and negotiated over it—and, if necessary, walked out over it.

But now we no longer even acknowledge it—not in blue-collar work, not in white-collar or pink-collar work, not in economics texts, and certainly not in the media (except when journalists gripe about the staff-compacted-job-expanded newsroom). Now the word we use is “productivity,” a term insidious in both its usage and creep. The not-so-subtle implication is always: Don’t you want to be a productive member of society? Pundits across the political spectrum revel in the fact that US productivity (a.k.a. economic output per hour worked) consistently leads the world. Yes, year after year, Americans wring even more value out of each minute on the job than we did the year before. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Except what’s good for American business isn’t necessarily good for Americans. We’re not just working smarter, but harder. And harder. And harder, to the point where the driver is no longer American industriousness, but something much more predatory…

* UNC gets hit with a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.

* And really, honestly: how much jewelry does Newt Gingrich buy?