Posts Tagged ‘terraforming’
* Also in Marquette news! Marquette to host ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ conference in April.
* Becoming a parent forces you to think about the nature of the problem — which is, in a lot of ways, the problem of nature […] the realities of aging and sickness and mortality become suddenly inescapable. […] [My wife] said something during that time I will never forget. “If I had known how much I was going to love him,” she said, “I’m not sure I would have had him.” Mark O’Connell on transhumanism and immortality.
* From the great Ali Sperling: Reading Lovecraft in the Anthropocene. And this review of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem from the great David Higgins!
* The liberal arts at Harvey Mudd College, whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford.
* Chaos, again. This is fine. Even James Comey. Twilight of Reince Preibus. Ten Questions for President Trump. Ten More Questions for President Trump. Remember when it was scandalous that Obama, years before he became a politician, once sold his house?
* It is through the Justice Department that the administration is likely to advance its nationalist plans — to strengthen the grip of law enforcement, raise barriers to voting and significantly reduce all forms of immigration, promoting what seems to be a longstanding desire to reassert the country’s European and Christian heritage. It’s not an accident that Sessions, who presumably could have chosen from a number of plum assignments, opted for the role of attorney general. The Department of Justice is the most valuable perch from which to transform the country in the way he and Bannon have wanted. With an exaggerated threat of disorder looming, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency could become a machine for trying to fundamentally change who gets to be an American and what rights they can enjoy.
* The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”
* An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the American government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed on Saturday. Profiles of immigrant arrested in Austin. Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws. (Note this lawsuit was filed in 2014.) This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World. And if it were a book, it’d seem laughably contrived: A letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Resisting ICE. Here we go again.
* And while we’re on the subject: The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation. I think this is a very good reminder of the need to stay calm and detached from the chaos of the news cycle.
* Instead, a new model is proposed: the president keeps everyone in a constant state of excitement and alarm. He moves fast and breaks things. He leads by causing commotion. As energy in the political system rises he makes no effort to project calm or establish an orderly White House. And if he keeps us safe it’s not by being himself a safe, steady, self-controlled figure, but by threatening opponents and remaining brash and unpredictable— maybe a touch crazy. This too is psychological work, but of a different kind.
* Democrats keep trusting demographics to save them. It hasn’t worked yet — but maybe this time…
* Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.
* No! It can’t be! Researchers have found strong evidence that racism helps the GOP win.
* “These devices don’t have emotional intelligence,” said Allison Druin, a University of Maryland professor who studies how children use technology. “They have factual intelligence.” How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants.
But these second-order obstacles aren’t enough to explain the current collapse of poll-driven political certainty. They’re just excuses, even if they’re not untrue. Something about the whole general scheme of polling—the idea that you can predict what millions of undecided voters will do by selecting a small group and then just simply asking them—is out of whack. We need to think seriously about what the strange game of election-watching actually is, in terms of our relation to the future, our power to choose our own outcomes, the large-scale structure of the universe, and the mysteries of fate. And these questions are urgent. Because predictions of the future don’t simply exist in the future, but change the way we act in the present. Because in our future something monstrous is rampaging: it paces hungrily toward us, and we need to know if we’ll be able to spot it in time.
When I said that opinion polls are sibyls and soothsayers, it wasn’t just a figure of speech. Opinion polling has all the trappings of a science—it has its numbers and graphs, its computational models, its armies of pallid drones poring over the figures. It makes hypotheses and puts them to the test. But polls are not taken for what they are: a report on what a small number of people, fond of changing their minds, briefly pretended to think. Instead, we watch the tracking graphs as if the future were playing itself out live in front of us. The real structure of the electoral-wonk complex is more mystical than materialist: it’s augury and divination, a method handed down by Prometheus to a starving and shivering humanity at the faint dawn of time. Behind all the desktop screens and plate-glass of his office, the buzz of data and the hum of metrics, Nate Silver retreats to a quiet, dark, and holy room. He takes the knife and slits in one stroke the throat of a pure-white bull; its blood arcs and drizzles in all directions. He examines its patterns. And he knows.
* There’s a never-ending fount of stories you can write about when someone is breaking away from canon or not, and create many controversies all the way through preproduction and production and even until a movie opens, about whether or not they’re breaking canon. Is it a blasphemous movie or not? At some point, you gotta stop and say, Is there this expectation that it’s like we’re doing Godfather Part I and II, only it’s going to nine movies? And we’re just gonna cut them into this kind of Berlin Alexanderplatz that never ends? We’re gonna suddenly take a moment to really savor the fact that these movies exist in an identical tone? The reality to me is that you can’t have interesting movies if you tell a filmmaker, “Get in this bed and dream, but don’t touch the pillows or move the blankets.” You will not get cinema. You will just get a platform for selling the next movie on that bed, unchanged and unmade. James Mangold on Logan.
* Commencement speech bingo. More links below!
* Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries. Well, yes, I’m definitely worried. That’s madness.
* “Hood disease.” My God, don’t call it that.
* It places the United States in the top spot, ahead of Sweden and Canada, which come in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Yet when the scores are adjusted for national levels of income, the United States drops to 15th place, behind such developing countries as China and Serbia.
* If you want to help low-income students succeed, it’s not enough to deal with their academic and financial obstacles. You also need to address their doubts and misconceptions and fears.
* The proposed rule would cut off student aid to career-focused programs at for-profit and nonprofit colleges if the program’s student-loan default rate reached 30 percent or if half of its graduates failed two student-loan debt standards.
* MRA city councilman files Title IX complaint on behalf of U Oregon players arbitrarily kicked off team after DA slow-walks the process to protect their eligibility for March Madness and then declines to bring charges, thereby completing the circle of shitshow.
* According to faculty accounts, deans received an email from the administration on the evening of May 5, alerting them to a meeting the next day about staffing issues. At that meeting, deans in certain colleges were told they needed to cut a prescribed number of full-time faculty positions. Of 16 total cuts, 11 were to come from the College of Arts and Sciences, faculty members said. Deans were given two days – until Thursday – to consult with their department chairs about which faculty members to terminate. Affected instructors were notified that day.
* The best way to think of the dilemma is keeping in mind the three things Obama wants his regulations to accomplish: He wants them to effectively reduce carbon pollution, he wants them not to cost consumers too much, and he wants to be sure they can survive legal challenge. The trouble is that he can only pick two of these. And the primary question weighing on administration regulators as they make their decision will be how to read the mind of Anthony Kennedy.
The voluntariat performs skilled work that might still command a wage without compensation, allegedly for the sake of the public good, regardless of the fact that it also contributes directly and unambiguously to the profitability of a corporation. Like the proletariat, then, the voluntariat permits the extraction of surplus value through its labor.
But unlike the proletariat’s labor, the voluntariat’s has become untethered from wages. The voluntariat’s labor is every bit as alienable as the proletariat’s — Coursera’s Translator Contract leaves no doubt about that — but it must be experienced by the voluntariat as a spontaneous, non-alienated gift.
* Medical nightmare of the week: Morgellons disease.
* Speculative genetic explanations for social phenomena have an old and undistinguished history, some of which Wade reviews superficially, presumably to demonstrate his skill at reviewing topics superficially. The common thread, though, is that such explanations have always been (1) put forward to establish a bio-political point, to draw imaginary limits around the social progress of certain human groups; (2) accompanied by the dissimulation that they are not political statements, but merely value-neutral science; and (3) false.
* The Bay Area author of an upcoming book shatters the image of California’s historic missions as idyllic sites where Franciscan friars and Indians lived in harmony. Speaking before about 100 people Saturday at the American Indian Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz, Elias Castillo, author of “A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions,” said in reality the missions were “death camps.”
* He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun. What could possibly go wrong?
* Shock decision: Federal Judge Rules That Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal in Utah. I’m hoping this is finally the watershed. In Striking Down Utah’s Gay Marriage Ban, Judge Gives Scalia Big Bear Hug.
* #slatepitches we can believe in: There Are Two Americas, and One Is Better Than the Other.
* Aaron Bady deconstructs the Twitter “event” of the week, #HasJustineLandedYet.
* Another good post on education policy from Freddie de Boer: Is there such a thing as static teacher quality?
Now, these numbers are particularly stark, but this is not really a surprising result, if you been paying attention. Why did New York end its teacher performance pay program in the first place? In large part because of incoherent results: teachers would be rated as terrible in one class and excellent in another, within the same semester. Teachers that had been among the top performers one year would be among the worst performers the next. Teachers that were believed by administrators and parents to have serious performance issues would be rated highly; teachers that were believed by administrators and parents to be among a school’s best would be rated poorly. On and on.
* Fracking chemicals disrupt human hormone functions, study claims. FDA should be looking into this in about forty years.
* Rogue death scene cut from Days of Future Past, it looks like.
* “Where we’re losing them is at the full professor rank,” she continued. “Somehow we’re losing women.”
* A 54-year old American woman was given increasingly invasive and fruitless cavity searches after a drug dog was instructed to “alert” in front of her by U.S. border guards. The victim, according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, was then ordered to consume laxatives, endure x-rays and other scans, and subjected to further medical rectal and vaginal probes—all conducted by doctors at University Medical Center El Paso over over her protests and without any form of warrant.
* A court in Canada has ruled Ecuadorean farmers and fishermen can try to seize the assets of oil giant Chevron based on a 2011 decision in an Ecuadorean court found it liable for nearly three decades of soil and water pollution near oil wells, and said it had ruined the health and livelihoods of people living in nearby areas of the Amazon rainforest.
* Great moments in neocolonialism: Is It Time to Make Knowledge of English a Human Right?
* Florida is sticking with legal murder: Florida Man Who Shot Acquaintance For Threatening To Beat Him Won’t Face Charges, Judge Rules.
* Finally, the story of Harry Potter’s years of neglect and staggering abuse can be told. BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT.
* Dibs on the screenplay: Under Seattle, a Big Object Blocks Bertha. What Is It?
* Peter Singer, maximum-utility troll: “How Many Kids Died Because of Batkid?”
* And MetaFilter has a mega-post all about the great Alice Sheldon, a.k.a. James Tiptree, Jr.
* 13 little-known punctuation marks we should be using. At right: the rhetorical question mark.
* Reddit vs. Gawker: whoever wins, we lose. Snark aside, they ought to burn reddit down if it won’t take cast out jailbait and creeper subreddits. It’s 2012.
* Our brains work in interesting ways: What number is halfway between 1 and 9? Is it 5 — or 3?
* Walmart Workers Are Threatening To Strike On Black Friday. On a national holy day? How dare they.
* You love being creative for your work. You love your job. That’s why you’ve got a Mac. Precarious labor, post-Fordism, and Apple.
* LARoB considers Homeland. It’s been next in my Netflix queue forever, so I couldn’t read too much of this.
* And you know who else flubbed their closing statement after a piss-poor debate showing? No, not him. The other one. Gasp: New Polls Suggest Democratic Freakout May Be Premature.