Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland

Time Travel Will NEVER Be Canon on gerrycanavan.wordpress.com, and Other Tuesday Links

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* Dialectics of Black Panther: By sliding between the real and unreal, Black Panther frees us to imagine the possibilities — and the limitations — of an Africa that does not yet exist. Ultimately, “Black Panther” does what all superhero movies do: It asks us to place faith in the goodness of individuals rather than embracing revolutionary structural change. In effect, the Wakandan Kingdom is caught between two bleak visions of America: walling itself off, or potentially imposing on other nations. The Afrofuturistic Designs of Black Panther. ‘Black Panther’ offers a regressive, neocolonial vision of Africa. Africa is a country in Wakanda. What to Watch After Black Panther: An Afrofuturism Primer. I was asked to write a short piece for Frieze building on my blog post from the weekend, so look for that as early as tomorrow…

* Adam Kotsko’s talk on Rick and Morty and BoJack Horseman is now streaming from mu.edu.

* Major nerd news: Star Wars: Rebels just introduced time travel into the main canon for the first time. There were minor, often debatable incidents before, but never in the “main plot,” and never as a key incident in the life of a character this important to fans. I’m surprised: I used to use “no time travel in Star Wars” as an example of how franchises police themselves — though as I was saying on Twitter this morning the recent introduction of true time travel to both Star Wars and Harry Potter suggests it may in fact be what happens to long-running fantasy franchises when they grow decadent. Now Tolkien stands alone as the only major no-time-travel SF/F franchises, unless I’m forgetting something — and Tolkien considered a time travel plot for a long time, and actually promised CS Lewis he would write one, but abandoned it…

Leaving Omelas: Science Fiction, Climate Change, and the Future.

Half of world’s oceans now fished industrially, maps reveal. North Pole surges above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists. What Land Will Be Underwater in 20 Years? Figuring It Out Could Be Lucrative. Scott Pruitt’s EPA.

In order to do this I propose a test. A favorite trope among the administrative castes is accountability. People must be held accountable, they tell us, particularly professors. Well, let’s take them at their word and hold themaccountable. How have they done with the public trust since having assumed control of the university?

Lecturers on Strike.

Disaster Capitalism Hits Higher Education in Wisconsin.

Anonymous faculty group threatens to take down Silent Sam.

West Virginia Teachers Walk Out.

Markelle Fultz — along with a slew of huge names and top college basketball programs — have been named in a bombshell report into NCAA hoops corruption involving illegal payouts to players. The Real Lesson of the Weekend’s NCAA Scandals Is That College Basketball Coaches Should Be Dumped in the Ocean.

* Meanwhile.

What directional school is the most directionally correct? A case study.

* The Yale student who secretly lived in a ventilation shaft.

How the Activists Who Tore Down Durham’s Confederate Statue Got Away With It.

The teenagers from Stoneman Douglas are fearlessly reimagining how to effect change in the Trump era.

* Coming soon: Muppet Guys Talking.

Disney’s Frozen musical opens on Broadway: ‘More nudity than expected.’

* Greenwald v. Risen re: Russia.

“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?” technologist Aviv Ovadya warns.

* Despite the NPR’s handwringing about threats and vulnerability, the United States already possesses the most responsive, versatile, and deadly nuclear strike forces on the planet. In essence, the Pentagon now proposes to embark upon an arms race, largely with itself, in order to preserve that status.

* Simulating nuclear war.

* The case against tipping culture.

The Tipped Minimum Wage Is Fueling Sexual Harassment in Restaurants.

* Monica Lewinsky in the Age of #MeToo.

Life Without Retirement Savings.

Americans’ reliance on household debt ─ and poor people’s struggles to pay it off ─ has fueled a collection industry that forces many of them into jail, a practice that critics call a misuse of the criminal justice system.

Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection.

* Gerrymandering a 28-0 New York.

On Being a Woman in the Late-Night Boys’ Club.

In the article, Sally Payne, a pediatric occupational therapist, explains that the nature of play has changed over the past decade. Instead of giving kids things to play with that build up their hand muscles, such as building blocks, or toys that need to be pushed or pulled along, parents have been handing them tablets and smartphones. Because of this, by the time they’re old enough to go to school, many children lack the hand strength and fine motor control required to correctly hold a pencil and write.

* Understand your user feedback.

Switzerland makes it illegal to boil a live lobster.

* The U.S. Border Patrol’s violent, racist, and ineffectual policies have come to a head under Trump. What can be done? Mother and daughter are now at detention facilities 2,000 miles apart. Warning of ICE action, Oakland mayor takes Trump resistance to new level.

The City & The City coming to TV in 2018 (again).

* BoJack Horseman and modern art.

* Legitimately teared up.

* The future sucks.

* Let’s see what else is in the news. Wisconsin exceptionalism. Mister Sun, why do you wear sunglasses?

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?