Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland

Weekend Links!

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* I’m heading to Zurich later tonight for the From Human to Posthuman? Ethical Inquiry workshop to be held at the Collegium Helveticum. I’ll be talking about the Anthropocene and various versions of The Time Machine, jumping off my Paradoxa “Global Weirding” essay and a loooong forthcoming piece for a Ralahine Utopian Studies collection on “Science Fiction and Utopia in the Anthropocene.”

Faculty Favorites: Books to Add to Your Shelf This Spring. With a book recommendation from me, among others!

* Marquette’s Center for the Advancement of the Humanities will host a 12-week seminar on the work of Bob Dylan.

* All Hail her most Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Kronos, Regina Andor, All Hail Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius.

* How democracies die.

* Analyzing Elections Since Trump Won the Presidency. Here’s everything Republicans could be doing to stop Trump. Are you a Saturday Night Massacre or a Saturday Night Massacan’t? Trump Launched Campaign to Discredit Potential FBI Witnesses. Trump’s Friends and Advisers Are Terrified of What He Might Say to Mueller. Elite opposition to Trump is collapsing.

* More great Le Guin remembrances from Karen Joy Fowler, Kim Stanley Robinson, adrienne maree brown, Jo Walton, Jacob Brogan, Matthew Cheney, and many others…

* And in a rather Le Guin mode: Read the Into the Black Contest’s Winning Story, Set in a Future Where Economics Are Also Humane.

* I hadn’t realized the Aronofsky adaptation for HBO was cancelled, but MaddAddam is coming to TV, again.

For many years now, tuition-dependent institutions — notably small private colleges and regional public universities — have grappled with such existential questions. Many find themselves in a difficult, complex market, with rising costs in operations, pressure to keep tuition down, increasing competition, an insufficient supply of traditional-age students, and national doubts over the value of college. Naturally, those factors have prompted many observers to take a dour view of the institutions’ future. Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded higher education’s outlook from “stable” to “negative,” noting that demographic challenges, weak revenue growth, and rising labor costs will bedevil colleges in the near term.

* Life transformed into data is life permanently mobilized for capital.

We Are Truly Fucked: Everyone Is Making AI-Generated Fake Porn Now.

As ICE Targets Immigrant Rights Activists for Deportation, Suspicious Vehicles Outside Churches Stoke Surveillance Fears. ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US.

Research has identified embedded racism in IQ tests. Now, prosecutors in at least eight states are using that research—to legalize more executions.

Prisons, as the journalist Tom Wicker once wrote, “have a dual function: to keep us out as well as them in.”

On the fifth floor of a beloved New York institution, the @AMNH, the remains of 12,000 people sit in cabinets and cardboard boxes.

The female price of male pleasure.

* The gig economy and sexual harassment.

* They should carve Aly Raisman’s entire statement into the walls of the lobby of every athletic organization in the world.

* Post-Presidency Benefits at Michigan State. NCAA president Mark Emmert was alerted to Michigan State sexual assault reports in 2010.

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die.

* Some monkey news: First Primate Clones Produced Using the “Dolly” Method. 10 Monkeys and a Beetle: Inside VW’s Campaign for ‘Clean Diesel.’ Paris zoo evacuated after 52 baboons escape enclosure.

* Trump vs. migratory birds. Trump vs. the air itself.

* Oh no.

The world’s richest 2000 billionaires could wipe out extreme poverty with one seventh of what they gained last year.

Ghost towers: half of new-build luxury London flats fail to sell.

State of the climate: how the world warmed in 2017.

* A world without Holocaust survivors.

* A world without football.

* There’s only one story and we tell it over and over.

The Short-Lived Normalization of Breastfeeding on Television.

* On the greatness of Swastika Night.

* California doing its best to prove the libertarians right.

And are Dungeons & Dragons Players in a Cult? These Hilarious Warning Signs From 1989 Prove It.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

Quick Sunday Links

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* CFP: Edited collection: Late Capitalism and Mere Genre. As someone who read more of these types of books than I can remember, from Dragonlance to Lone Wolf to tons of Star Trek and Star Wars novels, I’m in love with this proposal.

A solid majority of college presidents agree with 2/3rds of faculty that MOOCs are a negative force in higher ed, which is not something that I for one would have predicted even six months ago.

* We’re Not Loving It: Low-wage workers fight to make bad jobs better.

It’s the Austerity, Stupid: How We Were Sold an Economy-Killing Lie. Even the idea that “we” were “sold” on this, or that economic policy has any coherent relationship with representality at all, misses the point.

* I have never read even a single thing about contemporary schooling practices that didn’t make me want to home-school my kid. Today’s entry: My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.

* Switzerland considers a basic income.

* And WIC, which serves an astonishing 53% of babies in the US, has funds to stay open until November.

Tuesday Night

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* The machine that runs the roulette tables in Vegas so you always lose is on the fritz.

* So it turns out Switzerland is rigged to explode if anything bad happens. The more you know!

* Elite New York publishing empire: no more elites!

In our pay-to-play society, many of those toward the bottom of the educational pyramid are getting fleeced; others, though, are getting a leg up. Because it’s callous and unreasonable to ask the disadvantaged to decline opportunities to advance, subverting credentialism must start at the top. What would happen to the price of a bachelor’s degree if the 42,000 high school valedictorians graduating this spring banded together and refused to go to college? And is it too much to ask the Democratic Party to refrain from running any candidate for national office who holds a degree from an Ivy League school?

Then there are our own credentials. Che Guevara once declared that the duty of intellectuals was to commit suicide as a class; a more modest suggestion along the same lines is for the credentialed to join the uncredentialed in shredding the diplomas that paper over the undemocratic infrastructure of American life. A master’s degree, we might find, burns brighter than a draft card.

Yeah, that’ll solve it.

The Romney 2012 campaign will be a big test for the national news media. Is it possible to stonewall and lie shamelessly throughout an entire presidential election campaign without being called on it in a significantly damaging way?

* To repeat: I resign. I want no part of this ongoing fiasco. More UVA here and here.

* A quick Fringe tease: John Noble told reporters that the final season will pretty much all take place in 2036 — with the occasional flashback or bit of “found footage” to fill in the tragic events of the present day.

* Don’t believe the hype! Arts Graduates Are Generally Satisfied, Employed.

* And In Focus goes to China.

Monday Night!

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* The latest Detroit atrocity: Detroit mayor shoots down idea for Robocop statue. When will that poor city finally get a leader with some vision?

* How “The Fridge” lost his way: Elegy for William “The Refrigerator” Perry.

* Football vs. labor: Will the NFL play next year?

* Dystopia watch: Disney Now Marketing To Newborns In The Delivery Room.

* David Cole plays “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?”—almost by name!—in the New York Review of Books.

As Judge Hudson sees it, the health care reform law poses an unprecedented question: Can Congress, under its power to regulate “commerce among the states,” regulate “inactivity” by compelling citizens who are not engaged in commerce to purchase insurance? If it is indeed a novel question, there may be plenty of room for political preconceptions to color legal analysis. And given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, that worries the law’s supporters.

But the concerns are overstated. In fact, defenders of the law have both the better argument and the force of history on their side. Judge Hudson’s decision reads as if it were written at the beginning of the twentieth rather than the twenty-first century. It rests on formalistic distinctions—between “activity” and “inactivity,” and between “taxing” and “regulating”—that recall jurisprudence the Supreme Court has long since abandoned, and abandoned for good reason. To uphold Judge Hudson’s decision would require the rewriting of several major and well-established tenets of constitutional law. Even this Supreme Court, as conservative a court as we have had in living memory, is unlikely to do that.

The objections to health care reform are ultimately founded not on a genuine concern about preserving state prerogative, but on a libertarian opposition to compelling individuals to act for the collective good, no matter who imposes the obligation. The Constitution recognizes no such right, however, so the opponents have opportunistically invoked “states’ rights.” But their arguments fail under either heading. With the help of the filibuster, the opponents of health care reform came close to defeating it politically. The legal case should not be a close call.

* Did Bush cancel a trip to Switzerland out of fear of criminal prosecution? Probably not—but isn’t it pretty to think so?

* The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party finds another RINO: godfather of neoconservatism Bill Kristol.

* The end of the DLC. My inclination is to say “make sure you bury it at a crossroads so it can’t come back,” but of course Ezra’s more or less right: the DLC can safely disband because it won.

* The city-states of America, “those states where the majority of their populations lie within a single metropolitan area.” Via Yglesias, which has some light speculation on the politics of all this.

* On the Soviet Union’s rather poor plan to reach the Moon.

* Star Wars, with all those pointless words and images taken out. Note: falsely implies Chewbacca received a medal at the end of the film.

* Charles Simic: Where is Poetry Going?

“Poetry dwells in a perpetual utopia of its own,” William Hazlitt wrote. One hopes that a poem will eventually arise out of all that hemming and hawing, then go out into the world and convince a complete stranger that what it describes truly happened. If one is fortunate, it may even get into bed with them or be taken on a vacation to a tropical island. A poem is like a girl at a party who gets to kiss everybody. No, a poem is a secret shared by people who have never met each other. Compared to the other arts, poets spend most of their time scratching their heads in the dark. That’s why the travel they prefer is going to the kitchen to see if there is any baked ham and cold beer left in the fridge.

* An evening with J.D. Salinger. It ends pretty much exactly as you’d expect:

The three of us got into the cab. Joe gave the driver my address and when the cab began to move Salinger began walking, then running, alongside, still asking us to change our minds. He hit the cab—with his fist, I supposed—and the driver braked.

Joe said, “Drive on!” Salinger was looking in through the window beside me. “Stop. Please come back!” He was shouting now in the quiet street.

The cab moved and got through the intersection. Joe said angrily, “He’s absolutely crazy.”

* And the headline reads: Global food crisis driven by extreme weather fueled by climate change. Enjoy the century.

On Switzerland

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm

A Few More

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A few more missing links from the last few days.

* What sort of game are Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld playing? First the pilot for Curb Your Enthusiasm is a preemptive parody of Comedian, several years before the fact—now Jerry Seinfeld has signed with NBC to do a reality TV show that sounds like nothing so much as Curb Your Enthusiasm.

* Supermen of Pre-Golden-Age SF.

* How they made The Godfather.

* Is Switzerland the next Iceland?

* The Milky Way Transit Authority.

* Simulation of a black hole destroying a star.

* And is the FiveThirtyEight.com brand ruined?

Nightime Politics

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Nighttime politics.

* Great chart from Ezra Klein and Grist about the incredible insignificance of off-shore drilling.

* “Bush Doctrine” is the buzzword coming out of Sarah Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson—she seemed to not know what it was.

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view?

GIBSON: No, the Bush Doctrine, enunciated in September 2002, before the Iraq war.

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership — and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

GIBSON: The Bush Doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense; that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

Here’s the video. A lot of people are quoting Marc Ambinder’s Twitter feed on this: “deer-in-the-headlights.” A Republican in P.R. gives her a B- at TNR, writing:

I would give her a B or better, B-. I liked her confidence, combativeness but the answers were scripted, she had to repeat one mantra over and over again. What it shows about the way McCain’s people are handling her is worse: they are trying to get her to memorize answers rather than being honest, within limits, about what she doesn’t know.

* Sarah Palin dropped the thanks-but-no-thanks-for-that-Bridge-to-Nowhere lie from her speech today in Alaska. Pandering, or did she just know they’d see through it?

* Maybe the last word on Sarah Palin: Rasmussen reports she’s bombing with moderates.

Among all voters:

39% very favorable
17% somewhat favorable
14% somewhat unfavorable
26% very unfavorable

Gee, approval ratings are just a few points off of 60% for the “wildly popular governor.” But, let’s look a little closer at those numbers. Conservatives love her, but what about moderates? Those numbers paint a different picture:

20% very favorable
15% somewhat favorable
26% somewhat unfavorable
35% very unfavorable
3% not sure

* Switzerland: the greenest country in the world.

* Followup on themes from the week: More numbers that suggest McCain can’t win outside the South. Meanwhile, Daniel Nichanian at the Huffington Post talks more about the underappreciated importance of Obama’s ground game.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 12, 2008 at 1:30 am