Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘telemarketing

Wednesday, Wednesday

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p0hzpqghfzua11sjdckyNOAA just released its summer outlook, predicting which areas are going to see unusually hotter temperatures this year. Unsurprisingly for those who have been watching the string of heat records that have been falling like dominoes, almost every area of the United States is included. Things Have Gotten Much Worse Since An Inconvenient Truth.

Love in the time of climate change: Grizzlies and polar bears are now mating.

How highways wrecked American cities.

The amount of money it would take to eliminate extreme poverty is now lower than the amount of money spent on foreign aid every year.

Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave? A Gawker Investigation.

* The Democratic primary has entered its Gnostic phase.

The Marijuana Industry’s War on the Poor.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Oberlin. A reasonably good ethnographic study of a subject which seems to have become utterly impossible to talk about dispassionately.

* And speaking of “impossible to talk about dispassionately”: The canon of English literature is sexist. It is racist. It is colonialist, ableist, transphobic, and totally gross. You must read it anyway.

Diversity as a Tenure Requirement?

The Baylor board of regents fired school president Ken Starr on Tuesday amid the sexual assault scandal involving the Bears football team, according to HornsDigest.com. Baylor not commenting on reports of President Kenneth Starr’s firing.

Enrollments Slide, Particularly for Older Students.

The terms “World Science Fiction” or “Global Science Fiction” are becoming legitimate fields of interest at a time where human life is indistinguishable from technological interference and scientific thought. We are technology. We are post-human. And we understand both the “global” and “world” adjectives only through the eyes and screens technology has afforded us. If we loosely understand science fiction as the imaginative exercise with which we deal with science and technology, then it becomes a major tool in understanding a reality that increasingly grows less believable and more fragile, in which crisis has become our quotidian condition. We are desperately looking for others because, in a globalized culture and economy, they might not exist anymore. We might have exterminated them, and we fear our genocidal complicity.

Soviet Brutalist Architecture, Photographed By Frederic Chaubin.

* Some truly crazy news about Peter Thiel and Gawker today.

But if the extremely wealthy, under a veil of secrecy, can destroy publications they want to silence, that’s a far bigger threat to freedom of the press than most of the things we commonly worry about on that front. If this is the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich, few publications will have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.

Here’s the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren’t precarious, we’re unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The recovery hasgone to the top. And what’s worst of all, everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that. The new bright sparks, cheerfully referred to as “Young Gods” believe themselves to be the honest winners in a new invent-or-die economy, and are busily planning to escape into space oracquire superpowers, and instead of worrying about this, the talking heads on TV tell you its all a good thing- don’t worry, the recession’s over and everything’s better now, and technology is TOTES AMAZEBALLS!

* Twitter’s death drive.

* The end of passwords.

* Freddie Gray verdict: US police officers who kill rarely get punished, but they might get rich.

The Do Not Call list was supposed to defeat telemarketers. Now scammy robocalls are out of control. What happened?

* Understanding intelligence.

Would the U.S. Drop the Bomb Again?

* John Scalzi has a new space opera.

Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?, or, “Johnny B. Goode in the Anthropocene.”

But it did guarantee that one rock song will exist even if the earth is spontaneously swallowed by the sun: “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song was championed by Ann Druyan (who later become Sagan’s wife) and Timothy Ferris, a science writer and friend of Sagan’s who contributed to Rolling Stone magazine. According to Ferris, who was the album’s de facto producer, the folklorist Alan Lomax was against the selection of Berry, based on the argument that rock music was too childish to represent the highest achievements of the planet. (I’m assuming Lomax wasn’t too heavily engaged with the debate over the Sex Pistols and “Saturday Night Fever” either.) “Johnny B. Goode” is the only rock song on the Voyager disc, although a few other tunes were considered. “Here Comes the Sun” was a candidate, and all four Beatles wanted it to be included, but none of them owned the song’s copyright, so it was killed for legal reasons.

The Pitch Meeting for Animaniacs.

How One in Ten Humans Could Be Wiped Out Within the Next Five Years.

The Business of Too Much TV.

On the Trail of Nabokov in the American West.

* And presenting Reverse CAPTCHA.

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Jetlag Links

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* Before you stop admitting Ph.D. students, please, read Marc Bousquet. The typically annoying discussion about this can be found at MetaFilter.

* Nonissue watch: The new Siena Poll finds that New Yorkers (everyone in the state) oppose the mosque by a 63-27 margin; they defend the constitutional right to build it by a 64-28 margin. Very sad to see Howard Dean of all people joining the wrong side of history on this:

I believe that the people who are trying to build the mosque are trying to do something that’s good, but there’s no point in starting off and trying to do something that’s good if it’s going to meet with an enormous resistance from a lot of folks.

I want my country back! But not, you know, if it’s going to be a whole big thing.

* At least someone has finally identified the real terrorists: people with COEXIST bumper stickers on their cars.

* Mission accomplished: The last combat troops left Iraq today. But don’t get too excited; 50,000 noncombat troops remain.

* Deconstructing the Twinkie. At left: FD&C Yellow #5.

* Save the words.

* In the future, all teenagers are deaf.

* Change we can believe in: the Obama administration is quietly making it easier to visit Cuba.

* And not exactly the direction we were hoping things would go: Call centre workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the US as they are in India, according to the head of the country’s largest business process outsourcing company.

Midday Politics Links

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As warned, it’s a busy kind of week. Here’s what I’m reading about:

* Obama returns again to North Carolina tomorrow morning in Raleigh.

* The N&O looks at North Carolina’s answer to the butterfly ballot, the straight ticket vote that doesn’t vote straight ticket. This is a very foolish way to design a ballot, but it has a long history in North Carolina, and it’s fairly well-marked both on the ballot and in the polling place. I’m hopeful this won’t be determinative of the outcome here.

* Some three dozen workers at a telemarketing call center in Indiana walked off the job rather than read an incendiary McCain campaign script attacking Barack Obama, according to two workers at the center and one of their parents.

* A PEW Research poll puts Obama up an improbable sixteen points nationally, up 19 among those who have already voted. The RNC has taken to the airwaves in a bid to retain Montana. In Ohio, 22% of the population has already voted, favoring Obama 56%-39%. McCain is only up three points in Arizona. In short, things are looking good.

* Another article looks back to Howard Dean as one of the forces (both before and after “The Scream”) who made Barack Obama’s candidacy (and, one hopes, landslide victory) possible.

* And another classic for the Palin files: forget “diva,” a top McCain adviser says Palin is a “whack job.” More at Washington Monthly, which makes the key point: “To blame Palin is to blame McCain. If the campaign is her fault, then the campaign is his fault.”