Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Avengers

Saturday Morning Links!

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* Sci-Fi Author Ted Chiang on Our Relationship to Technology, Capitalism, and the Threat of Extinction.

So intelligent species burn out too quickly to make intergalactic headway—I have to ask, do you think that’s what will happen to us?

I don’t know. We used to think that the biggest threat we faced as a species was nuclear war. Now it looks like it’s global warming. If we survive that, it’d be tempting to think that it’ll smooth sailing afterwards, but any consideration of this question is primarily a reminder of how much we don’t know.

A math equation that predicts the end of humanity.

* America is crumbling.

The struggling US media industry is facing its worst year for job layoffs in a decade as news organizations continue to cut staff and close shop, according to a new survey. And this is before the coming recession hits.

* University Of Alaska Readies For Budget Slash: ‘We May Likely Never Recover.’ Alaska Isn’t a Bellwether. It’s a Swan Song.

Two professors at Miami University are suddenly at risk of losing their jobs over a plant that has been in their collection for over a decade.

* Remembering the strike that brought teachers unions back from the dead.

* A brief history of busing.

* Defeated in the courts, Trump may issue an executive order to try to rig the Census. There are no laws in America, only power.

The anger and hate that spews from 8chan is not a conscious extension of the anger and hate of its creator – though he had plenty – but an inevitable byproduct of the dark structure he built. The story of 8chan’s founder, Fredrick Brennan, is a perfect expression of this: born with a profound disability and shuttled in and out of foster care, his creation of the site was born not out of cold calculation or political ambition, but from a need to find community in loneliness. 8chan is a monster, but its creator had no idea what it would become. He was just a kid.

These profiteers and bureaucrats of the immigration-industrial complex were fresh from the 2019 Border Security Expo—essentially a trade show for state violence, where law enforcement officers and weapons manufacturers gather, per the Expo’s marketing materials, to “identify and address new and emerging border challenges and opportunities through technology, partnership, and innovation.”

* Former ICE Chief Counsel Gets 4 Years In Prison For Stealing Immigrants’ Identities.

* Border officials had known about the secret Facebook group for up to three years, according to a Homeland Security official.

* Meet the people fighting for health care access for disabled kids detained at the border.

DHS watchdog details dangerous conditions for migrants at border centers. What a Pediatrician Saw Inside a Border Patrol Warehouse. The Treatment of Migrants Likely ‘Meets the Definition of a Mass Atrocity.’ “The Whole Facility’s Culture Is Rotted From the Core”: What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Saw Inside the El Paso Camps. The department is seeking 20-year leases for most of the sites, signaling they don’t expect challenges to fade.

Trump administration ending in-person interpreters at immigrants’ first hearings.

The Exceptional Cruelty of a No-Hugging Policy.

Drawings by migrant children in detention show them in cages.

* ICE Threatens Immigrant in Sanctuary in Chapel Hill With $314,000 Fine.

At a crowded Mexican shelter, migrants wait months to claim asylum. Some opt to cross the river instead.

* “Seth Donnelly was one of the many inmates Texas prison officials use as prey for dog hunts. He died from heatstroke after collapsing on the job in Abilene.” I’m gonna need you to start from the top.

Scholars Push Back on Holocaust Museum’s Rejection of Historical Analogy.

* Happy 4th! Here are some readings on concentration camps.

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

Europe’s Bold Plan for a Moon Base Is Coming Together. How will we deal with squatters on the Moon?

* World’s most full of shit people nearly terminally full of shit.

* Scientists warn that losing another fifth of Brazil’s rainforest will trigger the feedback loop known as dieback, in which the forest begins to dry out and burn in a cascading system collapse, beyond the reach of any subsequent human intervention or regret. This would release a doomsday bomb of stored carbon, disappear the cloud vapor that consumes the sun’s radiation before it can be absorbed as heat, and shrivel the rivers in the basin and in the sky.

* If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I’d plant a tree today.

* “Plan to ban seagulls from the sea suspended.”

* Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’.

* Heatstroke warnings in Anchorage.

* Your map to Twitter.

 

How Washington’s Elite Learned to Love Policy Wonks.

* When your email spies on you.

* The arc of history is long, but.

This week, a new law went into effect in Mississippi. The state now bans plant-based meat providers from using labels like “veggie burger” or “vegan hot dog” on their products. Such labels are potentially punishable with jail time. Words like “burger” and “hot dog” would be permitted only for products from slaughtered livestock. Proponents claim the law is necessary to avoid confusing consumers — but given that the phrase “veggie burger” hasn’t been especially confusing for consumers this whole time, it certainly seems more like an effort to keep alternatives to meat away from shoppers.

Scientists are searching for a mirror universe. It could be sitting right in front of you.

Geoengineer the Planet? More Scientists Now Say It Must Be an Option.

* Netflix vs. storytelling.

* Here, the truth is made plain: the childlike nature of corporate branding isn’t a random trend, but part of the mindset that consumers ought to be treated like children. Details are the sinister machinations of faceless authority figures; friendly colors and geometric letters like those on a toddler’s building blocks are comforting by contrast. That each brand looks more or less like the next is only for the better: the world is a little smaller that way, less likely to confuse or frighten. As Jesse Barron wrote for Real Life magazine in 2016, “We’re in the middle of a decade of post-dignity design, whose dogma is cuteness.” Cuteness, employed as these companies do, talks down to you without words.

The Impact of a World Without The Walking Dead.

* The Harry Potter franchise is going to take another crack at a prequel.

* What’s missing in Spider-Man: Far from Home.

* Another take: Far from Home as metafiction.

* And nothing gold can stay: The end of MAD.

Tuesday Links!

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The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism interviews my friend Ramzi Fawaz about his exciting new book on the X-Men in the 1970s: The New Mutants.

* David Foster Wallace’s blurbspeak.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Story of Kullervo Will Be Published In October.

Scientist studies Diplomacy game to reveal early signs of betrayal.

* US Education Reform and the Maintenance of White Supremacy through Structural Violence.

* Whatever happened to Gary Cooper: You’ve heard of women’s studies, right? Well, this is men’s studies: the academic pursuit of what it means to be male in today’s world. Dr. Kimmel is the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, which will soon start the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies.”

* The fire next time: The Pension Crisis at Public Universities.

* The Clinton plan for college. This summary leaves out all the awful disruptivation and neoliberalization stuff that will be part of any actual plan, so it sounds great.

Widespread use of private email revealed a day after Wise resigns. The Revelations in Phyllis Wise’s Emails. Legal experts react. It’s so bad the board is going to vote on whether to pull her $400,000 golden parachute.

Academic Freedom at UIUC: Freedom to Pursue Viewpoints and Positions That Reflect the Values of the State.

* More on Duquesne’s proposition that adjunct unions would interfere with its Catholic mission.

SeaWorld sees profits plunge 84% as customers desert controversial park.

The Making of the American Police State.

* The Socrates of the National Security Agency.

Police Union In Missouri Declares ‘Darren Wilson Day’ On Shooting Anniversary. Yankees’ Minor League Affiliate Holds ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Event On Anniversary Of Michael Brown’s Death.

One Holdout Juror Was Likely Why James Holmes Avoided Death Penalty.

This Woman Was Awarded $685,737 After Learning Her Boyfriend (And Father of Her Child!) Was an Undercover Cop Sent to Spy on Her.

* Comic book movies and the forgotten art of the ending. You heard it here first!

* Astro Boy and the atom.

* The big Superman reveal (from the pre-52 DC Universe) that DC never got around to revealing.

Always a Lighthouse: Video Games and Radical Politics.

No girl wins: three ways women unlearn their love of video games.

Netflix’s Dystopian Show 3% To Be Developed Entirely In Brazil.

3% takes place in a world where most of the population lives in “Hither”: a decadent, miserable, corrupt place. When people reach 20 years of age, they go through the “Process”, the only chance to get to “Thither” – the better place, with opportunities and promises of a dignified life. Only three percent of the applicants are approved by the Process that will take the applicants to their limit, putting them in terrifying, dangerous situations and testing their convictions through moral dilemmas.

* More incredibly bad behavior in SF fandom. A little more context here.

* Judge Faults University for Requiring Student to Prove He Was Innocent of Sexual Misconduct. Colleges Under Investigation for Sexual Assault Wonder What Getting It Right Looks Like.

* Peter Thiel, übermensch.

* Here come the automated trucks. Kids today don’t even want to drive anymore (or their helicopter parents won’t let them)!

* The Amazonization of Everything.

* On Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon.

* Point: Please don’t have sex with robots. Counterpoint: Humans should be able to marry robots.

* Point: They clearly should have let Max Landis write Fantastic Four. Counterpoint: The Fantastic Four Are Jerks.

* Two interesting essays on sex work and sugar daddies from TNI’s “Daddy” issue: “Letter to a Young Baby” and “You Deserve It, Sweetie.”

* Atlas Shrugs Google Rebrands.

Natalia’s tweet became a whole great blog post on modernism, childhood, and tech.

* When Shakespeare toked.

* Why do hotels have ice machines?

* Why do pro wrestlers die so young?

* Did they find Croatoan?

* Prison-industrial-wildfire complex: Nearly half the people fighting wildfires wreaking havoc across California are prison inmates.

Sandernistas would do well to reflect on one thing.  In a few months’ time, Sanders’s campaign will be gone. He will not win. … But Black Lives Matter, or rather the movement with which it has become synonymous, isn’t going to go away.  And it is far more important to America’s long-term future. A useful corrective, I think, though my intuition remains that this is one brand of underpantsgnomism competing with another for underpants-gnome supremacy.

* Diseases of the twenty-first century: Foot Orgasm Syndrome.

* This could actually be interesting: Harvard Professor Larry Lessig To Explore Democratic Presidential Run.

* Because you demanded it: Werner Herzog’s Ant-Man.

* Science has discovered a new pentagon.

* And while the lion still remains at large, Milwaukee remembers its polar bear.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 11, 2015 at 10:20 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Links!

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* Don’t miss my flash review of The Avengers: Age of Ultron! As I say in the update, thanks to my friend Ryan Vu for priming the pump (and look for his brilliant review of Captain America 2 in a few months in SFFTV).

Why Avengers: Age of Ultron Fills This Buffy Fan With Despair. Nerd Plus Ultron: There Has to Be More to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Than Printing More Money.

* Notes on the coming DC disaster: In the early going, some in Hollywood are questioning whether Warners has acted too much in haste without having fleshed out the world on which so much hinges.

These Imaginative Worlds and Parallel Universes Will Forever Change How You Think About Africa.

2030 is set largely in the titular year, 100 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City. The initial title card establishes that 80% of the population has been evacuated due to the rising sea level as an effect of global warming.

* Great university boondoggle reporting from Freddie deBoer.

Late last week, using the hashtag #talkpay, people began tweeting about how much money they make—a radical thing to do in a culture that treats disclosing your salary as the ultimate taboo.

Dear Superprofessors: The experiment is over.

I’ve been buried in final book manuscript revisions, and have been noticing that I’m increasingly using the term “management” rather than “administration” in my analyses of university governance.  Part of the reason is that my employer, the University of California, uses Senior Management Group as a formal employment classification. But it’s also because the friendlier aspects of the term “administration” seem decreasingly part of everyday academic life. Friendliness was administration as support structure, as collaborator, as partner, as the entity that did not take orders from obnoxious egocentric faculty prima donnas the way that frontline staff often had to do, but that accepted balanced power relations  and a certain mutual respect that could make decisions move relatively quickly and equitably. It would avoid command and control of the kind that prevailed in the army and in most corporations, where executive authority consisted of direct rule over subordinates.

Pay hike at McMaster University for female faculty.

Lawmakers back away from increased course loads for UNC professors.

Fewer professors, more managers work on Cal State campuses.

* …Carey has produced a sloppy polemic, a revenge fantasy that tries to turn personal resentment and cynicism into public policy.

* Horrifying, literally unbelievable story of peer review gone awry. More here.

* Well, I guess that settles it: In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans.

Study: Climate Change Threatens One in Six Species With Extinction.

Babies born 3 miles apart in New York have a 9-year life expectancy gap. 15 Baltimore neighborhoods have lower life expectancies than North Korea.

The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Protest, 1965-1975.

Rikers Island meatloaf did have rat poison.

An Empty Stadium in Baltimore. A Brief History of Pro Sports Played in Empty Stadiums.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 18: Descending into Violence.

‘Rough Rides’ and the Challenges of Improving Police Culture.

New ACLU Cellphone App Automatically Preserves Video of Police Encounters.

The particularity of white supremacy.

* It’s hard out there for a gifted kid.

* “No one has walked on the moon in my lifetime,” I told them. “Yet you try to tell me that it’s my generation who has lost their wonder?  That it’s the young people of today who have let everything slip and fall into ruin? You don’t understand. You had the dream and the potential and the opportunities, and you messed it all up. You got hope and moon landings and that bright, glorious future. I got only the disasters.”

In some ways Ex Machina may be considered a feminist film by sheer dint of our low standards, the scarcity of stories that explore female desire beyond the realm of sex and romance.

Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Cat’s Cradle’ to Be Developed as TV Series By IM Global.

The Secret Mountain Our Spies Will Hide In When Washington Is Destroyed.

A 7-Year-Old Girl Got A New 3D-Printed Left Hand For The Wonderful Price Of $50.

This 5-year-old girl knows a lot more about presidents than you do. At this point I say put her in charge.

If you’re 33 or older, you will never listen to new music again—at least, that’s more or less what a new online study says. The study, which is based mainly on data from U.S. Spotify users, concludes that age 33 is when, on average, people stop discovering new music and begin the official march to the grave.

How Old Is Old? Centenarians Say It Starts in Your 80s; Kids Say Your 40s.

“How Does a Stand-Up Comedian Work?”

* Whiteness and the Apple Watch.

* The arc of history is long, but Cheez-Its is finally going to sell a box of just the burned ones.

* The same joke but with this Iceland law allowing anyone to murder any Basque on sight.

* “NASA has trialled an engine that would take us to Mars in 10 weeks.”

* The most racist places in America.

* Daddy, there’s a monster under the bed.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine James Cameron directing Avatar sequels, forever.

* And the same joke but with 21 Jump Street sequels.

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 3, 2015 at 9:00 am

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Lesser Whedonia 2: Age of Corporate Directives

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LATER-THAT-NIGHT UPDATE: I hadn’t realized when I wrote this how strongly it was influenced by the great review of Captain America 2 that Ryan Vu wrote for us for Science Fiction Film and Television, but reflecting on it a few hours later I really see Ryan’s review as the clear precursor to this. Look for his review in a few months! It’s really smart.

In my five-sentence Avengers review from a few years ago I wrote:

Of course I deeply enjoyed The Avengers, but my sense is it’ll be up to The Avengers 2: Avengers Reveng’d! to salvage the series from the scrapheap of Lesser Whedona. … Though certainly funny and engaging, and on occasion very clever, The Avengers is more or less superheroes completely by-the-numbers, almost entirely lacking in the deconstructive self-awareness that characterizes more artistically ambitious Whedon creations like Buffy, Firefly, and especially Cabin in the Woods and the too-neglected Dollhouse. The film has zero critical purchase on its genre, and precious little Whedonesque irony about itself.

In short, The Avengers is what Buffy would have been, if it were only fight scenes and quips.

Age of Ultron, like The Avengers before it, is fine, though if anything the film actually doubles down on the hollowed-out anti-cinema of the first film: it’s even fightier and much, much quippier, with very little heart (the paltry attempts at character development are exhaustively cloying) and excruciatingly little self-awareness about the genre it is participating in (it really pales in comparison to Captain America 2 on that front, as you knew it would).

A film like this seems to me to defy either aesthetic or political response. What is there to say about it that it isn’t already screaming at maximum volume? Even the film itself can barely muster the energy to care about its own setup or execution, breezing over the only character choice that has any genuine stakes (the initial creation of Ultron) in the span of five or so minutes (and then assiduously refusing to return to it under any circumstances).

The only really interesting thing about the film, to me, is its metatextual participation involving the endless shifting around of pieces in the MCU for a climax that will never arrive. When I watch Age of Ultron my major critical response is in trying to reverse engineer the corporate directives that Whedon was handed when he started to break out this story, and then trying to imagine other ways he might have tried to move the pieces into the proper places instead. What else could he have gotten away with? What did they make him rewrite or reshoot? What was allowed, and what was forbidden?

Of course this is always fantasy franchise-running, but we can be certain that the #1 directive here was “clear the decks.” The primary point of this film is to get rid of characters who won’t appear in the franchise until the next Avengers film at the end of “Phase 3.” In this sense Age of Ultron culminates “Phase 2,” like The Avengers culminates “Phase 1,” but here the climax is more like a toilet flushing than a fireworks spectacular. The central narrative concern here is to remove the blockage of investment in characters played by too-expensive actors so a new crop of rather less famous stars can run through their own four- or five-picture contracts in due course.

What else, besides that? I’d wager Whedon was given orders to soften the surface anti-Americanism of Winter Soldier, perhaps combined with a stick-a-thumb-in-DC’s-eye directive to “do something that will force reviewers compare this movie favorably to the ending of Man of Steel whether they want to or not.” Other than that: Give us some action figures? Make sure you leave some narrative gaps for the video games and the tie-in comics and Agents of SHIELD to play with later? Make sure that you complete the narrative return-to-origin so utterly that, even within the terms of your own diegetic universe, it’s as if the film never happened at all? There’s really hardly anything here, as (again!) perfectly enjoyable it is for the two hours it is on the screen.

It seems to me that Age of Ultron exemplifies a new type of narrative in this kind of media. First we had the franchise film; then we had the prequel trilogy; now every film is a prequel to a film that hasn’t been written yet, a film that will itself merely set the table for the fantasy of still another sequel or series or reboot or tie-in down the line. The real climax, the real pleasure, is permanently deferred, always another greenlight away.

To me a film like Age of Ultron invites speculation about Marvel/Disney’s thirty-year-plan to the exclusion of all other criticism or critique. We need a new theory of artistic creation to explain how films get made in this mode. It isn’t auteurism, it isn’t even really in the hands of individuals at all: it’s a kind of automatic, autonomous process using the combination and recombination of preexisting building blocks, almost on the order of an algorithm, or an artificial intelligence. We have this intellectual property that we think we can monetize more aggressively than we’re monetizing it currently; we have these and those prior narrative elements; now, JARVIS, build me a story.

Weekend Links Absolutely Positively Guaranteed to Help You Find Love This Valentine’s Day

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Was this a luxury? Sure. But it was also the steppingstone to a more aware, thoughtful existence. College was the quarry where I found it.

* Move over, Wisconsin, North Carolina wants in: Tea Party Legislature Targets University of North Carolina In Major Assault On Higher Learning.

Walker aide: UW System cuts are flexible, complaints unwarranted. Oh, okay.

The Art of the Deal, or the Man Who Would Be King: University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross.

The UW: Update from the Struggle.

How is it anything more than laughable that an otherwise reasonable person could believe that this shooting had more to do with a parking space than skin color and religion? How could it be that there is not only silence but active efforts to complicate and explain away something as utterly predictable as white man plays God? Any single instance of white supremacy, whether it is this shooting or the maintenance of de facto segregation in my city, is over-determined. There are dozens of “just so” arguments that stand ready to supplant a direct identification of racial violence at work. White supremacy itself is a coward who hides behind historic contingencies.

Inside Edition Used The Chapel Hill Homicides To Set Up A Segment On How To Find Parking At The Mall.

The study, published this week in Science Advances, is based on hand-curated data about placements of 19,000 tenure-line faculty members in history, business and computer science at 461 North American institutions with doctoral programs. Using a computer-aided, network-style analysis, the authors determined that just 25 percent of those institutions produced 71 to 86 percent of tenure-line professors, depending on discipline. Here’s a link to the full article, which has a definition of “merit” (as/against “prestige”) I can’t make heads or tails of.

* Being Yanis Varoufakis.

The grievously neglected American poet Winfield Townley Scott, who had once loved Lovecraft’s work and written beautifully about it, eventually came to feel that Lovecraft’s fiction was “finicky,” “childish,” and “antagonistic to reality.” But its very childishness and hatred of reality are central to it. If, as Thornton Wilder once claimed, no true adult is ever really shocked, that being “shocked” is always a pose, then Lovecraft never achieved adult status. But he held on tightly to the truths of adolescence: that the universe does not wish us well; that love is not to be found anywhere; and resurrection, if it ever truly occurs, would be a catastrophe.

* If you aren’t reading Jason Shiga’s Demon, you really should start; chapter 11 just went out to subscribers and it’s great.

The social network’s ideal model is for ads to make up about one in 20 tweets that the average user sees — the same level that Facebook strives for. “We’re well below that now,” he said. I’m sure if you keep up what you’re doing you’ll get there faster than you think.

* Also on the comics beat: The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity – one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Earth is about to meet a new god. And he’s a communist.

Universities are struggling to determine when intoxicated sex becomes sexual assault.

An undergraduate student was found responsible for sexually assaulting Camila Quarta, CC ’16, in April 2013. Since then, 481 undergraduate students have taken courses in which he has served as a teaching assistant. I have mixed feelings about the desire to use employment as a proxy for justice, but preventing this sort of thing from happening does seem to me to fall well within the requirements of Title IX.

* At LARoB, the deeply unpleasant task of historicizing incest.

To Restore Academic Integrity in Sports, Hold Head Coaches Accountable. “Restore.” You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means…

* Shocked, shocked to find out admissions are being manipulated at a university.

I’m Brianna Wu, And I’m Risking My Life Standing Up To Gamergate.

When Girls of Color Are Policed Out of School.

* MetaFilter post on the Coup in Yemen.

Why Jon Stewart Was Bad for the Liberals Who Loved Him. I’ve come around to the inevitable conclusion that this is all just a very clever viral marketing campaign for Hot Tub Time Machine 2. 

* Do humans need air to live? Look, I’m not a scientist.

Tricknology is the word she used to describe how the AHA got its way. Hightower and her neighbors wanted to see an end to the stigma associated with living in public housing. They wanted the projects to become as they once were: stable family neighborhoods where “you didn’t know you were poor.” But the AHA had other plans. It had chosen to view public housing as unfixable.

* Good Magazine has your guide to the legendary Saved by the Bell Hooks Tumblr.

* Hey, gadgets: stop snitchin’.

The Weird Specifics Of Marvel And Sony’s Secret Spider-Man Deal.

The FBI is targeting tar-sands activists.

By Age 40, Your Income Is Probably as Good as It’s Going to Get. I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations on Twitter and Facebook in the last few days about the extent to which this applies to (a) academics in general (b) tenure-track academics (c) tenure-track academics in the humanities (d) tenure-track academics in the humanities today as opposed to a generation ago. But I’ve resolved to go ahead and be completely depressed by this fact simply in the interest of precaution and due diligence.

* Uber and Airbnb monetize the desperation of people in the post-crisis economy while sounding generous—and evoke a fantasy of community in an atomized population.

South Carolina Inmate Receives 37 Years In Solitary Confinement For Updating Facebook.

“If a South Carolina inmate caused a riot, took three hostages, murdered them, stole their clothes, and then escaped, he could still wind up with fewer Level 1 offenses than an inmate who updated Facebook every day for two weeks,” the EFF said in its report.

*Chief backs up officer who shot at suspect, failed to report incident.

The police officer was wearing a body camera during the incident but it was not turned on.

Oh, what terrible luck!

NYPD Beat the Shit Out of a Brooklyn Street Vendor, Then Lied About It.

Mother Has Miscarriage After Cop Beats Her Because He Didn’t ‘Appreciate Her Tone.’

The Imprisoner’s Dilemma.

* Silicon Valley as cult.

Casting some bodies as inherently rational and others as incapable of true speech makes those with bodies most at risk for harm unable to protest.

* The arc of history is long, but: Putin Banned From ‘Mighty Taco’ Restaurant.

* Also the arc of history is long, etc., Little League Team Stripped of Title.

* Arc of history etc. etc. Montana GOP Legislator Wants to Ban Yoga Pants.

* Oh, I give up: Internet Neo-Nazis Are Trying to Build a White Supremacist Utopia in Namibia.

* All-time classic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereals, Hitler edition.

* An oral history of that scene on last week’s The Americans. Standard rules apply, do not click, pretend it never happened.

The Lincoln Memorial could have been a pyramid. See all the forgotten proposals. Wash that “good Vox” taste out of your mouth with this “bad Vox” chaser: The best hope for federal prison reform: a bill that could disproportionately help white prisoners.

Amazing Photo Of An Intoxicated Gorilla About To Punch A Photographer. Exactly what it says on the tin.

* Hulu thoughtfully removes any obligation you may have felt to care about its upcoming 11/23/63 adaptation.

* Somber news this Valentine’s Day.

* And the premiere for the improbably effective Better Call Saul is up on YouTube, if you missed it and want to hop aboard the think piece train before it leaves the station.

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 14, 2015 at 8:18 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Just a Few Monday Links

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* Sarah Kendzior and Rebecca Schuman tee up for the grad-school-backlash-backlash-backlash-honestly-I’ve-lost-count. As always, I’m very glad people are talking about exploitation, but nonetheless the unvarnished, apocalyptic negativity of some of these pieces just doesn’t reflect my own experiences in the academy very well at all. Academia contains multitudes; that’s actually a huge part of the problem.

CEO Pay 1,795-to-1 Multiple of Wages Skirts U.S. Law. Of course, the “law” being skirted is a toothless disclosure requirement, so don’t even sweat it.

* Brave director slams Disney’s sexy Merida makeover.

* Yglesias wept: Bangladesh to allow unions for garment workers.

* The Los Angeles Review of Books explains the Church of Scientology.

Wright proposes that the central document to understanding Hubbard’s psyche is his so-called “secret memoir,” composed around 1947, otherwise referred to as Hubbard’s “Affirmations” or “Admissions.” The document itself has an interesting history: it was found by a former archivist for the Church of Scientology, Gerald Armstrong, who had been tasked with organizing the founder’s personal papers. The more Armstrong read, the less he believed. Convinced that Hubbard was a huckster, Armstrong copied the documents that he discovered in the archives and delivered them to his lawyer. He was thereafter sued by the Church of Scientology. During the trial, Armstrong tried to get on record portions of Hubbard’s “Affirmations,” under the vehement protests of the Church’s lawyers. Since then, the document has leaked to the internet. Among Hubbard’s Affirmations:

“I can write.”

“My mind is still brilliant.”

“That masturbation was no sin or crime.”

“That I do not need to have ulcers any more.”

“That I believe in my gods and spiritual things.”

“That my magical work is powerful and effective.”

“That the numbers 7, 25, and 16 are not unlucky or evil for me.”

“That I am not bad to look upon.”

“That I am not susceptible to colds.”

“That these words and commands are like fire and will sear themselves into every corner of my being, making me happy and well and confident forever!”

Hubbard emerges, in Wright’s account, as a pitiable figure, driven by relentless ambition yet also stalked by an enduring fear of irrelevance. Flawed, prone to tyranny and abusive behavior, he sought to conquer his insecurities by achieving an outsized grandeur. “If one looks behind the Affirmations to the conditions they are meant to correct,” Wright concludes, “one sees a man who is ashamed of his tendency to fabricate personal stories, who is conflicted about his sexual needs, and who worries about his mortality. He has a predatory view of women but at the same time fears their power to humiliate him.”

* Austerity comes to CTU: the new 24 will only have twelve episodes.

* The first trailer for Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to tease Luke Cage.

* And xkcd covers birds and dinosaurs.

Saturday Night Link Fever (No Cure)

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Linkdumps from earlier in the week, Tuesday, Tuesday Night, Thursday, and Friday. There’s also one or six more worth seeing.

* More from the Reddit wars from Jezebel, Chad, Aaron, and Lili.

* Middle Earth: pretty much all dudes.

What is happening is a dramatic policy shift whereby the rights and entitlements the US working class has fought for and come to expect are now declared to be, for the foreseeable future, unreachable and unjustified. To put it in media terms, it is “the end of the American dream,” signifying the historic severance of US capital from the US working class, in the sense that US capitalism is becoming completely de-territorialized and is now refusing any commitment to the reproduction of the US workforce.

* A bit out of their jurisdiction, don’t you think? It’s True: The FBI Urged Martin Luther King to Commit Suicide.

* $134,078.44 lien for unpaid hospital bills filed against unarmed man shot by police while fleeing gunman. In a movie called America 2012, it’d be a little too on-the-nose.

ZeFrank recaps the vice-presidential debate. Bonus Get Your War On.

* Poll panickers relax: Obama is crushing it in Ohio, and Ohio is basically the whole game this year.

PPP’s newest Ohio poll finds Barack Obama leading 51-46, a 5 point lead not too different from our last poll two weeks ago when he led 49-45.

The key finding on this poll may be how the early voters are breaking out. 19% of people say they’ve already cast their ballots and they report having voted for Obama by a 76-24 margin. Romney has a 51-45 advantage with those who haven’t voted yet, but the numbers make it clear that he already has a lot of ground to make up in the final three weeks before the election.

Need more? Fluke, almost certainly incorrect poll puts Obama up in Arizona!

* Okay, go ahead and panic a little: Romney Debate Gains Show Staying Power. For what it’s worth Obama spiked a bit upward on the 538 graphs today.

* Of course there are still those who think the worse, the better.

Why Romney?  Because his transparency as a Neanderthal may, just may, bring people into the streets, while under Obama passivity and false consciousness appear almost irreversible.

Elsewhere on the Web, the affirmative case for Obama has more or less reduced to pure spite.

Do these folks really want their bigoted in-laws and racist YouTube commenters to have the satisfaction of having been right all along? Because that’s what they’ll take away from this.

‘Million Muppet March’ Planned. I’ll allow it, but know you’re on a tight leash.

Side Effects of Global Warming You’re Not Worried About Enough Yet.

Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, says “we can adapt” to global climate disruption. Let’s see him telecommute from the places hardest hit.

* Agent Coulson will return for S.H.I.E.L.D. Then why didn’t Joss use my awesome final shot for The Avengers?

* Isn’t-it-pretty-to-think-so-filter: Why near-death experiences don’t constitute proof of an afterlife.

* And just in case you’re still out there in the cold: Presenting SmartSocks+: the smartest socks in the world.