Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Culture

Weekend Links!

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But at least one line in the tax form gives pause: The college lost roughly $4-million in investment income compared with the previous year, for unknown reasons. That year the college posted a deficit of $3-million, compared with a $325,000 deficit the previous year. I certainly hope someone follows up on that little oddity.

* Of course, it’s not entirely insane: How Larry Summers lost Harvard $1.8 billion.

* Academia and the Advance of African Science Fiction.

* SimCity, homelessness, and utopia.

It seems we all now live in a Magnasanti whose governing algorithm is to capture all work and play and turn them not only into commodities but also into data, and to subordinate all praxis to the rule of exchange. Any data that undermines the premise that this can go on and on for 50,000 years, has to be turned into non-data. If there’s work and play to be done, then, it’s inside the gamespace that is now the world. Is there a way that this gamespace could be the material with which to build another one?

* Parenting and the Profession: Don’t Expect Much When You’re Expecting.

Higher Education and the Promise of Insurgent Public Memory.

While the post-9/11 attacks have taken an even more dangerous turn, higher education is still a site of intense struggle, but it is fair to say the right wing is winning. The success of the financial elite in waging this war can be measured not only by the rise in the stranglehold of neoliberal policies over higher education, the increasing corporatization of the university, the evisceration of full-time, tenured jobs for faculty, the dumbing down of the curriculum, the view of students as customers, and the growing influence of the military-industrial-academic complex in the service of the financial elite, but also in the erasing of public memory. Memory is no longer insurgent; that is, it has been erased as a critical educational and political optic for moral witnessing, testimony and civic courage. On the contrary, it is either being cleansed or erased by the new apologists for the status quo who urge people to love the United States, which means giving up any sense of counter memory, interrogation of dominant narratives or retrieval of lost histories of struggle.

* Precarious / Stability.

158 Private Colleges Fail Government’s Financial-Responsibility Test.

* Down to zero in Arizona.

* The gangsters of Ferguson. But even this is still not “proof!”

The Ferguson PD is NOT medieval. It’s modern white supremacy.

Judge who invented Ferguson’s debtor’s prisons owes $170K in tax.

* It’s Not Just the Drug War: Progressive narratives about what’s driving mass incarceration don’t quite add up.

Sotomayor May Have Saved Obamacare.

A video poker machine dealt Justin Curzi a strange hand. Now he’s calling the Oregon Lottery’s bluff.

* Designing The Grand Budapest Hotel with Marquette alum Adam Stockhausen.

Why Is Milwaukee So Bad For Black People?

* “Rahm Emanuel pays the price for not pandering.” Why should the poor man be voted out of office just because his policies are horror-shows that no one likes?

* A corrupt politician from New Jersey? What will they think of next?

* Wow: Ringling Bros. Circus Will Stop Using Elephants By 2018.

* Life imitates Breaking Bad.

Cities Are Quietly Reviving A Jim Crow-Era Trick To Suppress Latino Votes.

Hartford, CT says friends can’t room together unless some of them are servants.

This Is What It’s Like To Go To Prison For Trolling.

* Brianna Wu vs. the Troll Army.

* Short film of the weekend: “Chronemics.”

* Gasp! Science proves men tend to be more narcissistic than women.

The Time That Charles Babbage Tried To Summon The Devil.

Mary Cain Is Growing Up Fast.

Wellesley Will Admit Transgender Applicants. Planet Fitness Under Fire For Supporting Trans Woman, Kicking Out Transphobic Member. Students seeking to redesignate restrooms as “all gender” face harassment and police detention at UC Berkeley. US Army eases ban on transgender soldiers.

* The headline reads, “Decades of human waste have made Mount Everest a ‘fecal time bomb.’”

Colonization: Venus better than Mars?

* On Iain M. Banks and the Video Game that Inspired Excession: Civilization.

* Get it together, Millennials! “Millennials like to spank their kids just as much as their parents did.”

The Catholic Church Opposes the Death Penalty. Why Don’t White Catholics?

What’s Next After “Right to Work”?

* David Graeber talks about his latest book, The Utopia of Rules.

* The Pigeon King and the Ponzi Scheme That Shook Canada.

Conservative columnist can’t mourn Nimoy’s death because Spock reminds him of Obama. Is there nothing Obama can’t destroy?

* 9 Social Panics That Gripped America.

How Unsafe Was Hillary Clinton’s Secret Staff Email System?

* To whatever extent Doctor Who series 8 was a bit rocky, it seems like it’s Jenna Coleman’s fault.

* Making teaching a miserable profession has had a completely unexpected effect.

Why Are Liberals Resigned to Low Wages? What could explain it?

Is Yik Yak The New Weapon Against Campus Rape Culture?

* Tilt-shift effect applied to Van Gogh paintings.

* They say we as a society are no longer capable of great things.

* And the kids are all right.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 7, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning Links!

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* You’ve been waiting for it: the inevitable “Too Many Cooks” followup, “Unedited Footage of a Bear.” Here’s your instant criticism on the Adult Swim infomercial phenomenon.

* I got hooked on this after a Facebook recommendation, so why shouldn’t you? Papers, Please.

* No one could have predicted: Cuban Oil May Prove A Boon For U.S. Companies.

* NYT: Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses.
* Andrew Liptak at Kirkus has your brief history of the Culture.

* UW-Superior to suspend 5 academic programs.

* Your guide to academic interviewing from The Professor Is In: The Question Is Not the Question. It’s a little hard for me to believe how absolutely clueless I was about all this back when, but this lesson was by far the most helpful thing I learned from my mock interview. Absolutely do a mock interview if you have the option.

* M.F.A.s: An Increasingly Popular, Increasingly Bad Financial Decision.

* Dissent on the invention of jaywalking.

* Tragedy in Brooklyn as two police officers are assassinated. Aside from how horrible this event is in itself, I’ve been stunned how immediately and how viciously this has been politicized, not just by known bad actors like Giuliani but even by middle-of-the-road empty suits like Pataki.

* NYPD Officer Repeatedly Punches 12-Year-Old Black Boy As Colleagues Subdue Him, And A Lawyer Sees The Whole Thing. Prosecutor Says He Knew Some Witnesses Were Lying To The Ferguson Grand Jury. Meet the Pro-Slavery Fairview Park Auxiliary Cop. Family of toddler critically injured by SWAT team facing $1 million in medical bills. Woman Tries To Trademark ‘I Can’t Breathe’ To Sell Merchandise. “I Can Breathe,” and the Occasional Fear of Covering Protests.

High incarceration may be more harmful than high crime.

* Appeals Court Rules People Institutionalized for Mental Illness Still Have Right to Guns.

* If Apple Were A Worker Cooperative, Each Employee Would Earn At Least $403K.

* In Defense of Economic Disobedience.

* Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her.

* #realtalk: Serial Sucked And Wasted Everyone’s Time. I’ll allow it, SNL.

How the NFL leaves players broken — and broke.

* Incognito mode: Americans aren’t getting married, and researchers think porn is part of the problem.

* It’s almost 2015, which means it’s time to convince ourselves that the Obama administration hasn’t been a complete and total disaster. Over to you Matt.

Indeed, this is one of the crowning lessons of Pay Any Price: that the United States is suffering from a widespread crisis of accountability, one that transcends distinctions between the public and private sectors and that encompasses both. The sources of power, real power, seem more remote and mysterious to Americans than ever before. It is no coincidence that this November’s midterm elections saw the lowest voter turnout in 72 years (a pathetic 36.3 percent). Most Americans now spend their lives hostage to forces they can neither understand nor control nor hope to shape in any meaningful way. People see themselves as objects to be acted upon, not as thinking subjects. If the architects of our post-9/11 politics believed they were subverting democracy in order to save it, that we should pay any price to keep our people safe, they should be applauded for succeeding in at least one, crucial, part of their proposition. We have paid, again, and again, and again.

Is string theory revealing reality’s deep laws? Or, as some detractors have claimed, is it a mathematical mirage that has sidetracked a generation of physicists?

* An orangutan held in an Argentine zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom, local media reported on Sunday.

* And why do you hate the South? I don’t! I don’t hate it! I don’t hate it!

Wednesday Links!

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* Today at Marquette! Dr. Robin Reid, “Conflicting Audience Receptions of Tauriel in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

* Tomorrow at Marquette! The English Department pop culture group geeks out over The Hunger Games.

* Solving prostitution the Swedish way.

“In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem… gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them.”

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 13: Engagement.

The point of engagement in this sense is not to involve the public in making decisions, but make them feel involved in decisions that others will make. That this may be done with the best of intentions is important, of course, but ultimately besides the point. Like “stakeholder,” “engagement” thrives in a moment of political alienation and offers a vocabulary of collaboration in response. So if civic engagement is in decline, one thing that is not is the ritualistic performance of civic participation. The annual election-cycle ritual in American politics is a case in point here. In one populist breath, we routinely condemn the corruption of politicians who, it is said, never listen to the average voter. And in the next, we harangue the average voter for failing to participate in a process we routinely describe as corrupted. So it’s not the “apathy” or “disengagement” of the public that we should lament or criticize—it’s the institutions that give them so many reasons to be disengaged in the first place.

* A Few Questions About the Culture: An Interview with Iain Banks.

JR: In the past you have said that you are a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist. Could you expand on this a bit: why are you pessimistic about the short term? What changes do you anticipate taking place between the near and far futures that change your pessimism to optimism?

IB: On a personal level, it’s damage limitation; a sanity-keeping measure. Expect the worst and anything even only half-decent seems like something to celebrate. The pessimism comes from a feeling that as a species we seem unable to pass up any opportunity to behave stupidly, self-harmfully (the Copenhagen climate talks being but the latest example). The long-term optimism comes from the the fact that no matter how bad things seem and how idiotically and cruelly we behave. . . well, we’ve got this far, despite it all, and there are more people on the planet than ever before, and more people living good, productive, relatively happy lives than ever before, and—providing we aren’t terminally stupid, or unlucky enough to get clobbered by something we have no control over, like a big meteorite or a gamma ray buster or whatever—we’ll solve a lot of problems just by sticking around and doing what we do; developing, progressing, improving, adapting. And possibly by inventing AIs that are smarter and more decent than we are, which will help us get some sort of perspective on ourselves, at the very least. We might just stumble our way blindly, unthinkingly into utopia, in other words, muddling through despite ourselves.

* “Gamechanging” climate deal that seems radically insufficient to the scale of the crisis. What could go wrong?

* Think Progress has a good rundown on King v. Burwell, the case that could kill Obamacare. Eight Reasons to Stop Freaking Out About the Supreme Court’s Next Obamacare Case.

* The growth of auxiliary activities was the primary driver in spending increases by the schools, the report concludes. From 2005 to 2012, $3.4 billion was spent on instructional and research facilities. The cost for nonacademic auxiliary facilities was $3.5 billion from 2002 to 2012. Limit athletic fees, check construction to control college costs, study says.

* The State Funding Sleight-Of-Hand: Some Thoughts on UC’s Proposed Tuition Hike.

* The Vitae Adjunct Retirement Survey.

* ProQuest says it won’t sell dissertations through Amazon anymore.

* Why Wall Street Loves Hillary

* It’s a start: Massachusetts Town Proposes First Complete Ban On All Tobacco.

* Inside America’s inept nuclear corps.

* The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) is under attack by critics who say academe is colluding with the mainstream media to push a feminist agenda in video games. How deep does this conspiracy go?

When we think about the collapse of communism, we should emphasize and celebrate the attractiveness of a social market economy — not free enterprise.

Can You Gentrify America’s Poorest, Most Dangerous City?

Today, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced through the New York Times that it may stop making arrests for low-level marijuana possession, opting instead to issue tickets without detaining the suspect. This would feel like an important step toward reasonable weed policy if New York state hadn’t already mandated it 37 years ago.

The seminars offered police officers some useful tips on seizing property from suspected criminals. Don’t bother with jewelry (too hard to dispose of) and computers (“everybody’s got one already”), the experts counseled. Do go after flat screen TVs, cash and cars. Especially nice cars. Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize.

* One in every 8 arrests was for a drug offense last year.

* Milwaukee Public Museum’s Sci-Fi Film Fest gathers large audience.

Running a school on $160 a year.

* Is Pre-K academically rigorous enough? That’s a real question this real article is asking.

Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry.

Grace Dunham is now an adult and she read this book before it was published. She is managing her sister’s book tour and they are best friends. Are we really going to overlook this?

* Also on the subject of Lena Dunham: this is an extremely clickbaity headline, but the testimony from a juvenile sex offender is fascinating and horrible.

* Sorry I Murdered Everyone, But I’m An Introvert.

* “Before the Internet, it would be really difficult to find someone, sit them down for ten minutes and get them to work for you, and then fire them after those ten minutes.”

In America, today’s parents have inherited expectations they can no longer afford. The vigilant standards of the helicopter parents from the baby boomer generation have become defined as mainstream practice, but they require money that the average household earning $53,891 per year— and struggling to survive in an economy in its seventh year of illusory “recovery”— does not have. The result is a fearful society in which poorer parents are cast as threats to their own children.

Although it looks like a traditional typeface, Dyslexie by Christian Boer is designed specifically for people with dyslexia.

Scientists Have Finally Found The First Real Reason We Need To Sleep.

* Wes Anderson might be making another movie with puppets.

In its gentle sadness, its deceptively light tone, and its inherent contradictions, this is the perfect ending to The Next Generation.  One of these days, the crew will be dispersed.  The Enterprise will be put in mothballs.  Starfleet will complete its transformation into a body that none of them particularly want to serve in.  But for now, their voyages continue.

* Peak Prequel: Sony Rumored to Be Prepping Aunt May Spider-Man Spin-Off Movie.

* And the best news ever: HBO Will Make Asimov’s Foundation With Interstellar‘s Jonathan Nolan. I may lose my mind over this show. I may even do a podcast. And a lot of what went wrong with Interstellar wasn’t even Jonathan Nolan’s fault!

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Day-Old Weekend Reading, Still Perfectly Good

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* Deadline getting very close: CFP: Foundation, special issue on Science Fiction and Videogames (30 Apr 2014).

* CFP on Iain M. Banks. CFP for the Journal of Ghosthumanities.

“It Continues Not To End”: Time, Poetry, and the ICC Witness Project.

* The work of torture in video games. Is it immoral to kill video game characters? Video games as ideological training.

* Rare Indian Burial Ground Quietly Destroyed for Million Dollar Houses.

* Chris Newfield goes inside Georgia Tech’s financials to figure out if MOOCs really save any money. You’ll never believe what happened next!

* Is a key piece of Faulkner scholarship a hoax?

* In what English departments is Baldwin falling out of favor? They should lose their accreditation!

“The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills.”

* Driver Who Fatally Injured Teen Now Suing Dead Teen’s Family.

It was recently brought to public attention that of the UK’s 18,510 university professors, only 85 are of black origin.

*Amateur sports is a relation that has existed for so long, with the general public’s acquiescence if not outright approval, that it’s hard to imagine an alternative. Even the most rational commentators struggle for another way to do business, not just cartoonish right-wingers like Alexander — a man who’s clearly happy to keep making less than the football coach, but not so enamored with the idea of a Tennessee running back being able to feed himself.

* Neoliberalism and the rise of the sports management movie.

* Tuesday, five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders filed suit against their own team, alleging that the Buffalo Jills were required to perform unpaid work for the team for about 20 hours a week. Unpaid activities included: submitting to a weekly “jiggle test” (where cheer coaches “scrutinized the women’s stomach, arms, legs, hips, and butt while she does jumping jacks”); parading around casinos in bikinis “for the gratification of the predominantly male crowd”; and offering themselves up as prizes at a golf tournament, where they were required to sit on men’s laps on the golf carts, submerge themselves in a dunk tank, and perform backflips for tips (which they did not receive). The Buffalo Jills cheerleaders take home just $105 to $1,800 for an entire season on the job.

* Alyssa Rosenberg continues her exploration of how the Game of Thrones show differ from the novels, including reference to the improved script for last week’s Jaime-Cersei scene.

* How the Military Collects Data on Millions of High School Students. How Big Data Hurts the Poor.

* 21 Things You Didn’t Know About Rushmore. I must confess I knew nearly all of these.

* Jedediah Purdy reviews Capital in the Twenty-First Century at LARoB.

* Rape culture horror at Brown. At Swarthmore. College Campuses Are Treating Rape Like A Crime Without Criminals.

* Meanwhile, at the Supreme Court.

* As Atwood said: Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Disney World.

* Studies the charter school scam collapsing in record time.

* The special exemption preventing unionization at religious universities appears to be a thing of the past. The Fight To Unionize College Athletes Could Also Expand Union Rights For Graduate Students. A specter is haunting precarity. End College Legacy Preferences. We Refuse to Accept That Violence Against Us Is Necessary to the Sustenance of Our EducationGive the Customers What They Want.

* The workplace: prison or sanctuary?

* Lawrence & Wishart & the Marxists Internet Archive.

* For North Dakota, drones a possible growth market. But in possible upside news: Kenya’s new drone program could put a virtual end to poaching. How We Read a NYTimes Story on Drone Strikes in Yemen.

* Everybody knows the college debt regime is insane–but is it insane enough? Vox reports.

* Peak Voxplaining: “The real world is marred by terrible killing, including death by drone-fired missile. But it’s much, much better than the world of Game of Thrones.”

* EXPLAINER: Is China a communist country?

* It’s official: Justice League will be a terrible film. Elsewhere in nerd mourning: the Star Wars Expanded Universe is officially dead.

How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future.

* Great progressive hope Elizabeth Warren on why she used to be a Republican until ugh just forget it.

* Bring on the mass pardons.

* Fineable Offenses for Naughty 18th-Century Students at Harvard.

* The bleaching of San Francisco.

* “Life: It’s literally all we have. But is it any good?” Spring’s best new comedy is free on YouTube.

* Fascinating. The devices appear to stimulate the reward centers of their tiny brains.

* Google goes back to its core competencies.

* And the Internet is doomed. Enjoy your BUFFERING BUFFERING BUFFERING HAVE YOU TRIED THE NEW KFC DOUBLE DOWN? DOUBLE DOWN ON FUN! BUFFERING week.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 28, 2014 at 9:54 am

Monday Morning Links!

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* With this the Culture / Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality fanfic, culture is hereby perfected forever. Please deposit your 3D glasses in the receptacle on your way out of the theater.

* What Iuliano found was that the reality of student loan discharge in bankruptcy was that four out of 10 people that attempted to discharge their loans were successful. Granted, a 40 percent rate is not success for the majority, but it’s not inconsequential either. More disturbingly he found that in just the one study year, 69,000 debtors would have been good candidates to receive some or full relief from their student loan debt but they never even tried to discharge the loans. In fact few ever try to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy. “99.9 percent of student loan debtors in bankruptcy never attempt to get a discharge,” says Iuliano.

* Scenes from the alternate universe that is Germany: Still, the concept of paying for education remained deeply unpopular with students and the general public, and most states that introduced fees threw them out again in short order, starting with Hesse, in 2008.

*  Ruth Bader Ginsberg agrees with me that the current Supreme Court is one of the most activist in history. Of course where we disagree is my feeling she should resign immediately in time to be replaced with a 35-year-old before Obama leaves off.

* Hans Poertner, professor of marine biology at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, and co-author of a new study of the phenomenon, told the Guardian: “The current rate of [ocean acidification] is likely to be more than 10 times faster than it has been in any of the evolutionary crises in the earth’s history.”

* Yes, there’s a direct correlation between race and school closures in Detroit.

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* The financial industry accounts for about 8% of GDP, but about 32% of corporate profits. These excess profits are extracted from the real economy — consumers and businesses — and constitute a drag on non-financial growth.

* And New York sues Donald Trump over his fake university. Well, I suppose that’s one down…

Monday Links

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The Ambiguous Utopia of Iain M. Banks.

* Steven Chu waves the white flag on the tar sands. This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal… If only Obama had won!

* Colorado to split into two states over gun control? America has become a bad fan fiction of itself.

* The Constitutional Amnesia of the NSA Snooping Scandal: John Judis remembers the 60s and 70s.

* Leak, Memory.

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom.

* And Dan Harmon says he won’t retcon season four. Of course, he hasn’t seen it yet…

All the Sunday Links

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* Sad news: Iain Banks has died. A Few Notes on the Culture. A list of spacecraft in the Culture series.

Screen-Shot-2013-06-07-at-11.01.25-PM* Coffee’s good for you again. Stay buzzed, America.

* This piece on MOOCs from Jonathan Dettman is really interesting, not least of all for its observations on running the university like a business:

According to this paradigm, the years spent at a university are not intended so much as to educate the student (either in the vocational sense or the liberal-arts sense of forming citizen-scholars), but rather to turn as many recruits as possible into “active alumni.” In the meantime, as much profit as possible should be extracted from the student, through amenities, food services, business partnerships, textbook sales, tuition, etc. Image and branding are extremely important to these efforts, but so is information. Universities now build data-driven profiles of prospective students in order to identify and recruit those most likely to be attracted to the university’s own carefully constructed market profile.

As I said on Twitter yesterday: they couldn’t have found a model that sounded a bit less… pyramid-schemey?

On PRISM, or Listening Neoliberally.

* This piece on epigenetics in Discover is really interesting, but my god, the reporting. It’s hard to imagine a piece that sensationalized these findings more.

* Announcing the MOOC Research Institute. Can’t we scale this up? You know, crowdsource it.

* Claire Potter smells a rat in those academic paternity leave studies I’ve blogged about in the past.

Black Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have an unemployment rate of 21 percent, almost triple the national average.

* Simply put, 99 percent of the increase in employed persons seen in the last year was for individuals who had attended at least some college (this removes the negative change in employment for high school grads with no college to not produce a number above 100 percent). Among those who didn’t go to college, we actually lost 284,000 employed persons from May of 2012 to May of 2013. Within the college-going categories, about 60 percent of the increase went to those with a bachelor’s degree and 40 percent to those with an associate’s degree. 

Change in Employed Persons 5-12 to 5-13

* The death of the cliffhanger.

* The screenplay writes itself: Gustl Mollath was put in a psychiatric unit for claiming his wife was involved in money-laundering at the Bavarian bank. But seven years on evidence has emerged that could set him free.

* The headline reads, “New long distance quantum teleportation system ‘extremely reliable.'” So, the ansible is real, then?

Va. Republican Lt. Governor Candidate Said Birth Defects Were Caused By Sin. I give up.

* Because a bunch of us have been rewatching Star Trek lately: Voyager Inconsistencies. By the numbers it’s actually a little better than I thought.

* And the LEGO museum. At least there’s that.