Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the BBC

Sunday Links for the Sunday Reader

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* This president delivers compassion with a kind face and from a decorous and understated height. And that seems to be the role he prefers to play in the world too. It was doubtless the posture from which he would have liked to address the Arab Spring, and for that matter the civil war in Syria, if only Assad had obeyed when Obama said he must go. Obama has a larger-spirited wish to help people than any of his predecessors since Jimmy Carter; though caution bordering on timidity has kept him from speaking with Carter even once in the last five years. Obama roots for the good cause but often ends up endorsing the acceptable evil on which the political class or the satisfied classes in society have agreed. He watches the world as its most important spectator.

* Meanwhile: Obama Steps Up Efforts To Deport Unaccompanied Children Crossing The Border. And all at the low, low cost of just $2 billion!

* Local news:  Wisconsin second only to Alabama in cuts to education funding, study shows.

* On college debate, race, and the very idea of rules.

* You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

* …the only definitive statement I can make about Game of Thrones has less to do with what was happening on screen, and more with the popular and critical reaction to it, the fact that the fourth season was the one in which a critical mass of people suddenly noticed just how rapey this show is.

The point is that Godzilla is not an external menace. Godzilla is built into the system. Godzilla is our way of life.

* Whoa if true.

* The secret world of oil.

* Academia and disability: Why Are Huge Numbers of Disabled Students Dropping Out of College?

* The New York Times has a followup Q&A on its controversial piece about student debt from last week.

* “Far from being complacent about higher education, America is the site of a perpetual crisis narrative about our colleges.”

* In November 2012, when Kamel’s lawyers showed the video evidence to the assistant district attorney handling his case, the prosecutor dropped the charges immediately, motioning for a dismissal. The case was built on police testimony that was clearly false. But though Perez’s untrue statement had forced Kamel to endure months of anxiety and trial preparation, and sent prosecutors most of the way towards trying him, the officer suffered no consequence for his actions. On police perjury.

* Arizona State Universities takes the side of a cop abusing one of its own professors on video. Arizona Professor Body Slammed By Police During Jaywalking Stop, Now Charged With Assaulting Officer.

* Today, the UCPD is, as the university told me in a statement, “a highly professional police force,” and one of the largest private security forces in the country. Hyde Park “remains one of the safest neighborhoods in the city,” according to the statement sent to me by the University, and, “All of the neighborhoods patrolled by the University of Chicago benefit from the extra service.”

* Three Ways (Two Good, One Bad) to Fight Campus Rape.

* It Took Studying 25,782,500 Kids To Begin To Undo The Damage Caused By 1 Doctor.

* An illustrated history of Westeros.

* Independent Weekly catches Counting Crows phoning it in in Raleigh.

* Poor whites and the left.

* Advocacy in the Age of Colorblindness.

* This is a land of peace, love, justice, and no mercy: Hate Crimes Against The Homeless Jumped 24 Percent Last Year.

U.S. Pledges To Stop Producing New Landmines. The dream of the 1990s is alive.

* Mexico tried giving poor people cash instead of food. It worked.

* How Sci Fi Visionary Octavia Butler Influenced This Detroit Revolutionary.

* Britain’s Nuke-Proof Underground City.

* When the Amish get rich.

* “Can anyone say no to this?”

* The Golden Gate Bridge will get suicide nets.

* Against the Fermi Paradox.

Psychologists Find that Nice People Are More Likely to Hurt You. I knew those dicks were hiding something.

* On Facebook science: The real scandal, then, is what’s considered “ethical.”

* Why Are All the Cartoon Mothers Dead?

* Ripped from the pages of the Colbert Report: NC General Assembly Allows Possum Drop Exception.

* And Martin Freeman says no more new Sherlock until December 2015.

Christmas Hangover Links

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* I knew there was a loophole! Pope says atheists are OK with Jesus, so long as they “do good.”

Why bother? On family obligation. On institutional breakdown.

* Folks, we need to talk: The Creepy Surveillance of Elf on a Shelf.

* Canada issues Santa Claus a passport.

Chinese State Media: China’s Air is Too Polluted for Santa to Fly.

* Why NORAD tracks Santa.

The Work of Christmas in the Age of TBS’ “24 Hours of A Christmas Story.

* Christmas and the socialist objective.

* Was Scrooge a neoliberal?

The FBI considered “It’s a Wonderful Life” to be Communist propaganda.

* That Christmas Spirit: US emergency food providers brace as $5bn food stamp cuts set in.

A Map That Reveals the Most Popular TV Show Set in Your Home State.

* We are creating Walmarts of higher education—convenient, cheap, and second-rate.

We’re Constantly in Fear: The life of a part-time professor.

* Bullying in Academia More Prevalent Than Thought.

* College watchdog groups sharpening their teeth.

* Adjunct Nate Silver has been studying the academic job market in German since 2007: who posts jobs, and who gets jobs. Part 1.

* The Year of the Crush: How the Radically Unfair Candy Crush Saga Took Over Our Lives.

* Why we’re doomed: what Obama reads.

Obama does reserve a certain respect for opinion writers such as Tom Friedman and David Brooks of The New York Times, Jerry Seib of The Wall Street Journal, E. J. Dionne of The Washington Post, and Joe Klein of Time. “My impression is that he reads a lot of columnists,” says Brooks, “and therefore he sort of cares about what they say.”

* And then Amazon ate everything, Someday it might even make a profit!

* The Tumblr of forever: sffworthy.tumblr.com.

* Gasp! Judge: Detroit’s Debt Deal Too Generous To Wall Street.

North Carolina’s bad plan to take lawyers away from poor people.

* Trying to learn Arabic is now officially probable cause.

* …even though the Obama administration has called on Western buyers to use their purchasing power to push for improved industry working conditions after several workplace disasters over the last 14 months, the American government has done little to adjust its own shopping habits.

“Choice” is the illusion of power.  Vouchers were not dreamed up to provide choice, but to deny it. We need to avoid confusing a justification with an explanation.

eBay removes anti-Zimmerman artwork the same day Zimmerman’s painting sells for $100k.

Book bannings on the rise in US schools, says anti-censorship group.

More proof that America’s prison epidemic is a complete disaster.

* Why MLB Hitters Can’t Hit Jennie Finch and the Science of Reaction Time.

* Carbon Footprint Of Best Conserving Americans Is Still Double Global Average. Inevitable Milwaukee-based “wait, maybe this isn’t so bad” joke.

* Inevitable “well, there’s always Mars” joke.

The selective disappearance of large animals marks this period out from other extinction episodes, and was the start of what Estes and his fellow authors suggested “is arguably humankind’s most pervasive influence on the natural world”. For Estes, it was the beginning of the sixth mass extinction.

Does the ASA Boycott Violate Academic Freedom? A Roundtable. The ASA, scholarly responsibility and the call for academic boycott of Israel. Why I changed my mind about the ASA boycott.

Billionaire’s role in hiring decisions at Florida State University raises questions.

* Nightmare watch: Teen Girl Shot, Killed by Stepdad While Trying to Sneak Back Into House. Texas School Retaliated Against Student For ‘Public Lewdness’ After She Reported Rape.

* An Oral History of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ Video.

* Merry Paul F. Tompkins.

* Democrats are over (if you want it): Democrats desperately want war with Iran.

* And the BBC has a Sherlock season three minisode. God bless us, every one!

Psychohistory

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 3, 2011 at 1:20 am

Good News Everyone

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Let Us Think the Unthinkable, Let Us Do the Undoable, Let Us Prepare to Grapple with the Ineffable Itself and See If We May Not Eff It After All

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Hitchhikers, be glad: The BBC has announced a Dirk Gently TV show.

UPDATE: Hitchhikers be doubly glad; I’ve fixed the link.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2010 at 8:14 am

Links from the Weekend

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* Slate devotes a column to criticizing the U.S. military-based approach to Haitian emergency relief. There’s some attempts at push-back, with varying success, in the MetaFilter thread, particularly about the specifically helpful capacities of the ships that have been sent there, but what can you say about facts like these:

Air-traffic control in the Haitian capital was outsourced to an Air Force base in Florida, which, not surprisingly, gave priority to its own pilots. While the military flew in troops and equipment, planes bearing supplies for the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and Doctors Without Borders were rerouted to Santo Domingo in neighboring Dominican Republic. Aid flights from Mexico, Russia, and France were refused permission to land. On Monday, the British Daily Telegraph reported, the French minister in charge of humanitarian aid admitted he had been involved in a “scuffle” with a U.S. commander in the airport’s control tower. According to the Telegraph, it took the intervention of the United Nations for the United States to agree to prioritize humanitarian flights over military deliveries.

Meanwhile, much of the aid that was arriving remained at the airport. Haitians watched American helicopters fly over the capital, commanding and controlling, but no aid at all was being distributed in most of the city. On Tuesday, a doctor at a field hospital within site of the runways complained that five to 10 patients were dying each day for lack of the most basic medical necessities. “We can look at the supplies sitting there,” Alphonse Edward told Britain’s Channel 4 News.

The much-feared descent into anarchy stubbornly refused to materialize. “It is calm at this time,” Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, admitted to the AP on Monday. “Those who live and work here … tell me that the level of violence that we see right now is below pre-earthquake levels.” He announced that four—four, in a city of more than 2 million—aid-distribution points had been set up on the sixth day of the crisis.

* Some good news: the IMF claims it is “pursuing” the total elimination of Haiti’s foreign debt. And some terrible news: by one estimate (highlighted by Marginal Revolution) a full 8% of Haiti’s population may be orphaned children.

* 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Pinball History.

* From the comments: The Five Dials tribute to David Foster Wallace.

* David’s Cross’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret has been picked up by the BBC. My friend Bill posted a clip from the pilot not long ago, which he played at his recent show at Raleigh.

* Fan art gone terribly wrong/terribly right: Seinfeld Star Wars.

* Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: a case report. (Thanks Neil!)

* Via Ezra Klein, I see Tom Toles has somehow gotten hold of the Democratic playbook.

* Glenn Greenwald has a balanced piece largely in favor of the Citizens United v. FEC. Others are saying this decision may give foreign multinational corporations the right to participate in the American political process. Citizens United is by all appearances the first major domestic political crisis of the ’10s, and it came early; if I had sway in the progressive blogosphere I would suggest we devote ourselves to demanding the introduction of a constitutional amendment that reverses this decision by modifying or eliminating corporate personhood. That fight would not be easy—as Matt points out the total spending on Senate campaigns in 2004, $400 million, was just 17% of the marketing budget of a single American bank, which means our already corporatist ruling class would have every possible incentive to ignore such a campaign—but I don’t see much choice; it’s hard to imagine any sort of functional democracy existing in America while Citizens United remains in full effect.

* Republicans believe that Obama’s problem is that he’s pushing so much government intervention in the economy. That’s undoubtedly part of the story. But Obama’s larger difficulty is that he’s pushing so much change at a time when filibuster threats are so common that it requires 60 Senate votes to pass almost everything — and the minority party won’t provide the president votes on almost anything. We are operating in what amounts to a parliamentary system without majority rule, a formula for futility. Steve Benen has a post on the filibuster reform recently proposed by Tom Harkin here.

* Are Republicans “irrationally exuberant” about November? God, I hope so.

* For what it’s worth Obama’s poll numbers continue to match Reagan’s, and he beats nearly all comers in 2012. The one possible exception is the affable, if politically odious, Mike Huckabee, who beats Obama 45-44 in a PPP poll. And it was Huckabee himself who predicted just this week Obama will win again in 2012.

* NASA says 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record. Good thing climate change is a myth.

* The immortal Neil Gaiman is profiled in the New Yorker.

* The last days of Philip K. Dick.

* And if my estimates are correct, we could hit Peak Crayola as soon as 2018.

Epistemology of the G Spot

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MetaFilter has your epistemology of the G spot. Yes. No.

Kudos to the BBC for their adult, hard-hitting coverage on this.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 5, 2010 at 10:17 am