Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the debt

Wednesday Wega-Links!

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* Ken Burns presents: The Humanities.

* My Pop Culture Series might have to be all Harry-Potter-themed this fall: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child comes out in July, then the Fantastic Beasts screenplay in November…

* I was hoping the other magic schools wouldn’t have four houses. But just tell me which one is Ravenclaw and get it over with.

* Something happens to you out there: Astronauts and the Overview Effect.

* On The Fall of the Faculty.

…administrators have effectively developed a hidden curriculum that they exclusively control to further sideline the faculty. Never mind that the courses offered in this hidden curriculum focus on life skills and various types of political indoctrination related to race, gender, and ethnicity, subjects that the deanlets and deanlings are hardly qualified to teach. Add to this, speech, civility and anti-harassment codes, which administrators use with great effectiveness to silence faculty and student critics who interfere with administrative designs. These same administrators often rely upon outside agencies and licensure groups to discipline the faculty with outside assessment measures, threatening the faculty with the school’s possible loss of accreditation. Administrators often interfere with well-running programs, attempting to change their structure to the point of ensuring their failure.

Banned instructor sues Inver Hills Community College, saying he was defamed. Just incredible.

* Political science department chair Eric Schickler said in an email that there was no longer a bond of mutual trust between faculty and the administration. He added that there were concerns among faculty that major donors were being steered toward supporting the Berkeley Global Campus project in Richmond rather than core campus research and teaching missions. “Shared governance requires a shared vision and shared trust between faculty and those at the top,” Schickler said. “Many of us believe that the chancellor’s poor decisions have eroded that trust to the breaking point.”

Call for Provocations: Stealing from the University – extended deadline.

This is our first call for provocations that demand we go beyond familiar complaints and challenge ourselves to organize. Recent student-led uprisings at Missouri, Ohio State, Duke, Appalachian State, and UC Davis, among many others, open up possibilities of re-purposing university-based resources for radical movements. How can we take the relay from these uprisings to expand insurgent practices of studying-in-movement?

* And it looks like it’s that time of the semester again: “Should I go to grad school in the humanities?”

* Dark Posthumanism: The Weird Template.

When Teller directed The Tempest.

* Today in exciting political developments: Trump Selects a White Nationalist Leader as a Delegate in California. At least nothing else incredibly dangerous and destabilizing is happening!

West Virginia is neither a secret socialist stronghold nor a racist fever-dream. It is one of several bleeding edges of a sharply unequal country, where people who never had much are feeling as pressed as they can remember ever being. Some are bigots. Many are not. Some, no doubt, find that Trump’s cocktail of arrogance and disgust, grievance and triumphalism, reassuringly resembles their own psychic survival strategies, blown up into world-historical dimensions. Others are voting for the socialist for the same reason they voted for the Chicago community organizer: a desire for a more equal society, born out of the lived experience of inequality. Maybe future organizing and leadership, like the decades-long fight that first built the unions and the Democratic party in the coalfields, will show that they are not alone in that. What West Virginia Is Saying.

* Data visualization in the Anthropocene.

5_9_16_Andrea_TempSpiralEdHawkins

One in five of world’s plant species at risk of extinction. Sea Level Rise Is Here, And Is Gobbling Up Islands.

* Sold in the room: Philip K. Dick Is Getting an Anthology Show, Courtesy of Bryan Cranston and Ronald D. Moore. Elsewhere in TV news: Locke & Key! Uh, Wheel of Time, I guess? Krypton, really?

* And elsewhere in PKD news: One of the TAs in an Artificial Intelligence Class Was Actually an A.I.

How Do You Put Out A Subterranean Fire Beneath A Mountain Of Trash? Stop me if you’ve heard it.

* How Marvel did it.

* Oof.

* And oof.

Our Awful Prisons: How They Can Be Changed.

The one thing rich parents do for their kids that makes all the difference. The answer may shock you!

This GIF of pre-CGI superhero jumps proves actors are just okay at jumping. The best thing on the Internet this year.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Poor People Don’t Stand A Chance In Court.

* Huge, if true: School principal: ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ cause brain damage.

* Someone’s been watching too much Game of Thrones: “Ultimately, There Is No Narrative without Death.”

Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy.

If Philosophy Won’t Diversify, Let’s Call It What It Really Is. A reply.

If those text reproduce ideology, and therefore reproduce empire’s projects of conquest, enslavement, and colonialism, then we can’t just say “nothing is intrinsically wrong.” We in fact have to be open to the notion that these texts are entangled in the most violent, destructive ideas in world history. That they are rooted in whiteness and what whiteness meant in those moments: the right to murder and steal and subjugate.

Civilization 6 Has Been Announced And It’s Out This Year.

The Vision and the Scarlet Witch Have Had Marvel Comics’ Most Fucked-Up Superhero Romance.

* And all hail the Childlike Empress.

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May 11, 2016 at 2:59 pm

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Bask in the Warm Glow of Martin Luther King’s Dream with These Exciting Sunday Links

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* CFP: Modernism’s Child (Centre for Modernist Studies, University of Sussex, April 20, 2015).

* CFP: Obsidian Call for Submissions: Speculating on the Future: Black Imagination & the Arts.

* Martin Luther King’s other dream: disarmament.

* Our most cherished MLK Day ritual: remembering there is no figure in recent American history whose memory is more distorted than Martin Luther King Jr.

* 13 Words of the Year from Other Countries. Another set of possible candidates.

5. DAGOBERTDUCKTAKS, NETHERLANDS

In the Netherlands, the Van Dale dictionary group chose dagobertducktaks, “Scrooge McDuck tax,” a tax on the super rich. The “youth language” category choice wasaanmodderfakker (someone with no ambition in life, from a blend of aanmodderen, “muddle,” and motherf***er). The “lifestyle” category choice was vergeetverzoek, “forget request,” a request to a search engine that sensitive information be removed.

* For-Profit College Investor Now Owns Controlling Share of Leading Education Trade Publication. IHE’s ownership statement says that editors retain full editorial independence.

* Aaron Bady told me “Trust Us Justice: 24, Popular Culture and the Law” was a great talk forever ago, but I didn’t have time to get to it until this week. But it was indeed great, and something that will be useful in my classroom to boot.

* Comics studies is not a busman’s holiday. Great rant. This goes for science fiction studies too! It’s hard and miserable work and you should leave it all to us!

Photomediations Machine: Exploring the Anthropocene.

* Lili Loofbourow in the New York Times: “TV’s New Girls’ Club.”

Above all, promiscuous protagonism is interested in truths that are collectively produced. Its greatness stems not from a single show runner’s bleak and brilliant outlook but from a collaborative vision of art that admits a spectrum of shades. The central question driving this movement forward is no longer “How did these mad men come to be?” but rather “How did these women get so good at staying sane?”

* If anything I think Matt Reed’s concerns about the inevitable cuts to #FreeCommunityCollege don’t go far enough.

* Behold, Phase 2! That was quick.

* Free Community College Is Nothing to Celebrate, or What Piketty Means for Education.

* And from the leading light of the anti-schooling left: The hidden costs of free community college.

One of the ways we talk about the value of education is in terms of a student’s future “competitiveness.” It sounds like it should correlate directly with wages, but they’re competing against other workers like them. And from a worker’s perspective, a rising educational tide keeps wages under control for all boats. More schooling doesn’t necessarily mean better jobs, it means more competition for the same set of jobs. The so-called “skills gap” is a myth; if employers needed educated labor so badly, they would pay like it. Instead, the costs of training more productive workers have been passed to the kids who want to be them, while the profits go to employers and shareholders. The state assuming some of those costs for some of those students doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. Rather, it’s another boon for the ownership class.

Philly’s adjuncts seek to rewrite their futures.

* New talk of splitting off Madison from the rest of the UW system.

Mikalsen said the most persistent rumbling of late is that the universities would operate as a public authority, with the state playing a much reduced role in overseeing hiring practices, construction bids and other internal matters that university officials have long said could be done more efficiently and cheaply with more autonomy. The trade-off would come in reduced state aid, Mikalsen said.

* Louisiana is going to gut its state university system so Bobby Jindal’s no-hope presidential campaign has something to talk about. Unreal.

* And it sounds like UNC is next.

1970s Film: Vintage Marquette University. More links below the video!

It’s a bit of a weird way to be selling the world’s biggest sporting event—and we’re gonna build a super-cool stadium and then tear it down again because everyone knows stadiums suck—but points for honesty, at least.

* The second interesting thing about the Packers, or football, I’ve ever heard. Here of course was the first. Go Pack, times two!

Nobody Expects the Facebook Inquisition. Also from Burke: An Ethic of Care.

Perhaps that means “check your privilege” is a phrase to retire because it invites that kind of ease, a lack of awareness about what that statement hopes for and requires. If it’s not an expression of an ethic of care, trying to radar-ping the world around it to find out who else shares or might share in that ethic, and not a threat with power behind it, then what it usually leads to is the moral evacuation of a conversation and the production of a sort of performative austerity, of everyone in a community pretending to virtue they do not authentically embrace and avoiding the positive or generative use of the forms of social power they might actually have genuinely privileged access to.

* Eric Holder ends the scandal of civil asset forfeiture, at least for now.

Florida police use images of black men for target practice.

“Our policies were not violated. There is no discipline that’s forthcoming from the individuals regarding this,” Dennis said.

While the ire of environmental activists remains fixed on the Keystone XL pipeline, a potentially greater threat looms in the proposed expansion of Line 61, a pipeline running the length of Wisconsin carrying tar sands crude. The pipeline is owned by Enbridge, a $40 billion Canadian company, which has been responsible for several hundred spills in the past decade, including one in 2010 near Marshall, Mich., reportedly the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in American history.

The stark disparities of paid leave: The rich get to heal. The poor get fired.

Few New Parents Get Paid Time Off.

* “Carry bolt cutters everywhere”: life advice from Werner Herzog.

Last night “The Daily Show’s” Jessica Williams delved into a baffling Alabama law: HB 494. The law takes state funds — funds that are scarce in the Alabama justice system — to appoint lawyers for fetuses.

How Gothic Architecture Took Over the American College Campus.

Solar Is Adding Jobs 10 Times Faster Than the Overall Economy.

* “Zero Stroke Was A Mental Illness That Affected An Entire Country.”

* Love, marriage, and mental illness.

The $4 billion worth of subsidies represents a record high outlay at the very time Christie says budget shortfalls are preventing him from making actuarially required pension payments. What could explain it this incomprehensible paradox? It’s been thirty-five years and the media is simply incapable of admitting that when Republicans claim to care about deficits they are lying.

* Some bad news, y’all, overparenting doesn’t work either.

Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone.

I’ll never punish my daughter for saying no.

* Group projects and the secretary effect.

* Making the school day longer will definitely fix it. I suppose every generation feels this way but I really feel like the 1980s and 1990s were the last good time to be a kid.

* Teach the controversy: Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk, say scientists. Meanwhile, everything in the ocean is dying.

* But it’s not all bad news: Ron Howard recording new narration for recut of Arrested Development season four.

* Ghost stores of Wal-Mart.

The biggest downside to a Walmart opening up in your community is that after all the protests, the negotiations, and, almost inevitably, the acceptance, the retail giant might just break its lease, pack up shop, and move a mile down the road. The process starts all over again, and Walmart’s giant, hard-won original behemoth of a structure sits abandoned, looming over its increasingly frustrated neighbours.

Duke University announced it would broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from its iconic chapel, then backed down after threats of violence.

Kepler has given many gifts to humanity, but we should be careful throwing around words like “habitable” when talking about worlds 1,000 light years away, about which we only know sizes and orbits. It’s not my intention to put a damper on things, or to take the wonder and imagination out of astronomy. Science requires both imagination and creativity, but also analytical thought and respect for observational evidence. And after only 20 years of exoplanet discoveries, the observational evidence is rich, beautiful, and stands on its own. We don’t know the odds that life will arise on other worlds, but we’ve got a few tens of billions of rolls of the cosmological dice.

“What Are the Children Who Grow Up to Become Police Officers Learning in School?”: Lessons from Philadelphia’s Mandatory African American History Classes.

* Kotsko shrugged: The perpetual adolescence of the right. Along the similar lines, but thinking of ethics instead of intellectualism, I always think of David Graeber’s “Army of Altruists” from Harper’s, almost a decade-old now, on the way elites have cordoned off all meaningful work for themselves and their children alone.

Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty. But wait! Let’s quibble about the numbers!

* Hidden laborers of the information age.

* The Cathedral of Consumption: We’re Not Living in an Algorithmic Culture So Much as a Computational Theocracy.

* Just this once, everybody lives: Netflix Renews Deal for ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Luther,’ More BBC Series.

* Around the mid 2000s it became popular in Sweden for teenage boys to wear rubber bands around their legs on top of their jeans. The more rubber bands you had and variety in colors the more alpha you became to the other teenage boys.

* Like Uber, but for veillance. Of course the university is at the cutting edge:

We’ve got an early warning system [called Stoplight] in place on our campus that allows instructors to see what a student’s risk level is for completing a class. You don’t come in and start demonstrating what kind of a student you are. The instructor already knows that. The profile shows a red light, a green light, or a yellow light based on things like have you attempted to take the class before, what’s your overall level of performance, and do you fit any of the demographic categories related to risk. These profiles tend to follow students around, even after folks change how they approach school. The profile says they took three attempts to pass a basic math course and that suggests they’re going to be pretty shaky in advanced calculus.

* #FeministSexualPositions. (NSFW, obviously.)

* I guess I just don’t see why you’d bring your baby to work.

Top 10 Biggest Design Flaws In The U.S.S. Enterprise. I can’t believe “elevated warp nascelles perched on extended towers are super vulnerable to attack” didn’t even make the top ten.

Space, ze final frontière.

* Dave Goelz explains how to Gonzo.

* Apocalypse zen: photos of stairs in abandoned buildings.

* And I guess that settles it. Little Boy Who Claimed to Die and Visit Heaven Admits He Made It Up.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm

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I Just Can’t Believe It’s December Links

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* Over the weekend, of course, we celebrated the first Star Wars Trailer Day in a decade. Your shot-for-shot dissection. A deeper look. Digging deeper still. The George Lucas Special Edition. Elsewhere on the Star Wars beat: Physicist Proves That R2D2 Is Lighter Than Styrofoam.

* English and foreign language jobs are down nearly 10% again, down almost 40% since 2007.

New NEH Grants Will Promote Popular Scholarly Books.

Call for Papers: Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor.

* Why colleges haven’t stopped binge drinking.

* Donors getting bold in Illinois: U. of Illinois Could Lose Big Gift by Rehiring Adjunct.

* A long, interesting piece on an anti-bullying measure passed by Madison faculty.

When Black Friday devours Thanksgiving, capitalism consumes one of its sustaining myths. Black Friday, Or the Circulation of Commodities.

In not one of those cases did a coal mine owner face criminal charges for the loss of life. That history ended in November, with the indictment of Donald L. Blankenship, the chief executive whose company owned the Upper Big Branch mine near here, where an explosion of methane gas in 2010 spread like a fireball through more than two miles of tunnels, feeding on illegally high levels of coal dust.

* Afrofuturism: The Sonic Companion.

Putting The Sidekick In The Suit: Black Captain America, Female Thor, And The Illusion Of Progress.

Six Myths About Climate Change that Liberals Rarely Question.

But where does it come from? My new answer: nobody builds a megadungeon. Megadungeons build themselves. They are the guilty conscience of rulership; the truth commission against power. Great power corrupts, and absolute power does what we’ve been told. Even those who want to rule well feel the attraction of expedient murder and petulant torture, the convenience of imprisoning one’s enemies without trial, buying off the priesthood and covering it all in a glaze of ceremony and pretty words. On this world, this eventually provokes its own reaction. Beneath the seats of power – castle; trading house; senate building – the accumulated sins happening above begin to literally undo the foundations. Dungeons grow. It might not be so tidy as: 60 starved prisoners in the last few decades means 60 skeletons, with hallways for them to roam through; 20 goblins and some rooms for them to squat in appear as a direct result of last year’s punitive expedition against the recalcitrant border villages; one ghoul for each speech in which you cloak your appetites in the honeyed words of dead philosophers, etc.

B3qKigCCQAAbo8O* How many people are locked up in the United States?

Officers Who Shot 12-Year-Old Holding Toy Gun Refused To Give Him First Aid. The video that caught the cops lying about Tamir Rice. White Cops File Suit, Claim They Are Punished Too Much For Shooting People.

Grand Jury Won’t Indict Officers In Ohio Wal-Mart Shooting, Either.

* Missouri almost out of money to attack Ferguson with. St. Louis police officers’ group demands Rams players be disciplined for ‘hands up, don’t shoot. Ferguson: Message from the Grassroots. No healing.

Why Every Struggle Is Now a Struggle Against the Police.

Similar cases yield very different results in Wisconsin prison system.

Georgia’s Top Court Reins In Private Probation Firms For Illegally Extending Sentences. Reined in! The arc of history is long, but!

* Full Nihilism: “Six Reasons I’m Thankful for a Republican Congress.” Two of the six were “I’m bored.” Media professionals!

* One of the worst “errors” of the Obama presidency was the pivot to deficit reduction, when literally no one cares about deficit reduction.

Like uninsured New Agers afflicted by terminal illness, journalists facing the collapse of their industry are turning in desperation to faith healers, quacks, and hucksters of all sorts. Amway Journalism.

* Abolish the Senate.

* Officials with a Northern California school district expelled a live-in nanny’s 9-year-old daughter after hiring a private investigator to ascertain where she lived, the Contra Costa Times reported. Having been caught, the school district has now reversed itself.

* Life after people: Someone Flew a Drone Through Chernobyl and the Result Is Haunting.

* Science proves people who still read fiction really are just better.

How Often Do “Disruptive” Business Practices Actually Mean “Illegal” Business Practices? The Uberiest thing Uber’s done yet.

Philanthropic Poverty: Bono and other philanthropic capitalists push charity to defend property.

When an assisted living home in California shut down last fall, many of its residents were left behind, with nowhere to go. The staff at the Valley Springs Manor left when they stopped getting paid — except for cook Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the janitor.

The Super Mario 64 Goomba Nobody Has Ever Killed. The Coin That Took 18 Years to Collect.

* The real roots of midlife crisis, or, the second decade of this blog is going to be a shame. At least we have Charlie Stross’s thought experiments to comfort us.

* How Not to Get Away with Murder.

My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK.

* An Open Letter to the Administration of Vassar College.

* This TNR piece on the Rolling Stone UVA exposé actually raises some relevant journalism questions, but my sense is this happens entirely by accident in the course of a kneejerk attempt to discredit the story.

The false rape accusation as witchcraft.

. CTRL-F revenue, CTRL-F income, CTRL-F profit: Vox Media Valued at Nearly $400 Million After Investment.

The 22-year-old appeared to have killed himself, police said. A handgun was found near his body inside the dumpster. The text he sent said he was sorry, “if I am an embarrassment, but these concussions have my head all f—ed up.”

Even a single season of high school football might have harmful impacts on the brain.

* Your panel-by-panel breakdown of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Watchmen pastiche Pax Americana #1, this year’s instant-classic comic book.

* You don’t have to beg, borrow, or steal anymore: Black Mirror is finally on Netflix.

* Wanderers. Time Trap. Five Minutes.

* And finally, we get to the meat: Pope’s astronomer says he would baptise an alien if it asked him.

MULTIVERSITY-Cv4-05

 

Written by gerrycanavan

December 2, 2014 at 10:02 am

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Weekend Links

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* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Unreturned library books can mean jail time.

It’s intuitive but wrong to picture the public debt as private debt we’re all on the hook for. In reality, public debt isn’t really properly thought of as borrowing at all, according to Frank N. Newman, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Clinton. Since the U.S. doesn’t need to borrow back the dollars it originally spent into existence in order to spend them again, the purpose of issuing Treasuries is really just for “providing an opportunity for investors to move funds from risky banks to safe and liquid treasuries,” he writes. Investors aren’t doing the U.S. a favor by buying treasury securities; the U.S. is doing investors a favor by selling them. Otherwise, without the option “to place their funds in the safest most liquid form of instrument there is for U.S. dollars,” would-be bondholders “are stuck keeping some of their funds in banks, with bank risk.”

We frack the places we’ve already abandoned.

Sherlock Holmes, First Published in 1893, Is Officially in the Public Domain in the US.

* Twitter account of the night: @ClickbaitSCOTUS.

* The problem with white allies.

* …added up, this is a picture of massive corruption and cowardice at the top levels of our law enforcement agencies.

An Open Letter to the Makers of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf Himself. How the “Wolf of Wall Street” Is Still Screwing His Real-Life Victims.

Institutional Prestige and the Academic Caste System.

* “If we’re hyperanxious about college access, costs, and returns, it is because we’re hyperanxious about the fissures in our social contract that college is supposed to patch up.”

What happens to workers when jobs becomes gigs? The Fear Economy.

An administrative law judge in Florida this week upheld new rules by the State Department of Education that require significantly more of state college faculty members — particularly in the areas of student success — for them to earn continuing contracts (the equivalent of tenure).

* Slate covers the US’s insane hostility towards presymptomatic genetic testing.

* Connecticut just hands ESPN sacks of money every year.

Degenerate, Inc.: The Paranoid and Obsessive Life of a Mid-Level Bookie.

Reality Pawns: The New Money TV.

Why I voted for an academic boycott of Israel.

* Wisconsin finds another use for cheese.

* The kids are all right — they’re abandoning Facebook.

The 38 Most Haunting Abandoned Places On Earth. Some new ones in the mix here.

* And good news everyone! Your dystopian surveillance nightmare is legal again.

shipwreck

Wednesday Links Have Been Deemed an Essential Service

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* MetaFilter has your shutdown megapost, including the list of all the “nonessential” government services that will be closed during the shutdown, including WIC, NIH, the CDC, and the EPA. Here (via Twitter) is the memo from 1995 by which OMB makes its determinations. But don’t worry; progress wealth transfer to rich people continues even in the face of this disaster. zunguzungu: “Essentially Vicious.”

* “Where the GOP Suicide Caucus Lives.” They will rule or ruin in all events. Blame the Constitution for this mess.

* Meanwhile, liberals have already been rolled on spending cuts with respect to the shutdown and it’s likely to only get worse.

* Recentering Science Fiction and the Fantastic: What would a non-Anglocentric understanding of science fiction and fantasy look like?

* Peter Frase takes up Graeber’s “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.”

* One in ten [student] borrowers across the country, 475,000 people, who entered repayment during the fiscal year ending in September 2011 had defaulted by the following September, the data showed. That’s up from 9.1 percent of a similar cohort of borrowers last year.

* Louisiana refuses to release former Black Panther despite court order.

Herman Wallace, who was held for more than 40 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana jails, is still being confined inside the prison although Judge Brian Jackson ordered on Tuesday that he be immediately released. Wallace, 71, is suffering from lung cancer and is believed to have just days to live.

* The charter school mistake.

We should do what works to strengthen our schools: Provide universal early childhood education (the U.S. ranks 24th among 45 nations, according to the Economist); make sure poor women get good prenatal care so their babies are healthy (we are 131st among 185 nations surveyed, according to the March of Dimes and the United Nations); reduce class size (to fewer than 20 students) in schools where students are struggling; insist that all schools have an excellent curriculum that includes the arts and daily physical education, as well as history, civics, science, mathematics and foreign languages; ensure that the schools attended by poor children have guidance counselors, libraries and librarians, social workers, psychologists, after-school programs and summer programs.

Schools should abandon the use of annual standardized tests; we are the only nation that spends billions testing every child every year. We need high standards for those who enter teaching, and we need to trust them as professionals and let them teach and write their own tests to determine what their students have learned and what extra help they need.

* The words men and women use on Facebook.

* American wages have declined 7% since 2007.

* DDoS attack on the health care exchanges? Or just a whole lot of people wanting to buy insurance?

* What The Monopoly Properties Look Like In Real Life.

* The Occupy Visa.

Tuesday Links Soldier On

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* The tragedy of Cooper Union.

Then, when you turn the corner and look at what hulks across the street from the main Cooper Union building, you can see where a huge amount of the money went: into a gratuitously glamorous and expensive New Academic Building, built at vast expense, with the aid of a $175 million mortgage which Cooper Union has no ability to repay.

The bland name for the building is a symptom of the fact that Cooper’s capital campaign, designed to raise the money for its construction, was a massive flop: no one gave remotely enough money to justify putting their name on the building. It’s also a symptom of the fact that no one on the board had any appetite for naming it after George Campbell, the main architect of the scheme which involved going massively into debt in order to construct this white elephant.

Campbell, pictured grinning widely in a now-notorious 2009 WSJ article, claimed that Cooper was a financial success story when in fact it was on the verge of collapse. He’s the single biggest individual villain in the Cooper story, and it’s a vicious irony that Cooper’s latest Form 990 shows him being paid $1,307,483 in 2011 — after he left Cooper’s presidency. (Cooper Union explainsthat the amount represents six years of “deferred compensation/retention payments”, but the timing couldn’t be worse.)

Campbell’s enablers and cheering squad were a small group of trustees, many of them Cooper-trained engineers gone Wall Street, who had so internalized the ethos of the financial world that it never occurred to them that they shouldn’t be constantly trying to get bigger and better and shinier. Campbell was paid $668,473 in his last year at Cooper — he was one of the highest-paid college presidents in the country, despite running a naturally small institution with serious space and money constraints. Board-member financiers enabled his dreams of growth and glory, hoping that some of the glamor from the newly-revitalized institution would reflect back on themselves. Naturally, when the whole project turned out to be a disaster, they scurried ignobly off the board as fast as they could.

Duke University faculty members, frustrated with their administration and skeptical of the degrees to be awarded, have forced the institution to back out of a deal with nine other universities and 2U to create a pool of for-credit online classes for undergraduates.

The Adjunctification of Academic Librarianship.

At this point, both parties really just represent different fractions of the 1%; Wall Street funds both, but where the Republicans are supported largely by business, especially the extractive industries, the Democratic Party has become that of the upper echelons of the professional and managerial classes: of university administrators, museum board directors, doctors, lawyers, designers and marketing consultants.

The debt debate is reminiscent of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In a grand inversion, minor characters have usurped center stage, while the more important ones are out of sight. The Debt We Shouldn’t Pay.

* Also at NYRoB: Wikipedia’s Women Problem.

* The right to work less: Not only does the U.S. economy tend to produce lots of bad jobs, U.S. workers tend to spend far too much of their time doing them. In 2009, the average U.S. worker worked 1,681 hours compared to 1,390 in Germany. Germany’s experiments withkurzarbeit, a government program that provides income support to workers who accept reduced hours, has helped it avoid the problems of high and long-term unemployment that confront us here in the U.S. Instead of fighting for more work, much of which is likely to be bad, how about fighting for less work for everybody? This could be a very effective way to make sure that there are enough jobs to go around for everyone while limiting the amount of time workers spend in deadening, alienating labor.

* Science! “Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring,” the researchers wrote.

* US soldier found alive after 44 years in Vietnam.

What is the legal justification for signature strikes? What qualifies as a “signature” that would prompt a deadly strike? Do those being targeted have to pose a threat to the United States? And how many civilians have been killed in such strikes? The administration has rebuffed repeated requests from Congress to provide answers – even in secret.

Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin.

* And just in from the local tourism board: 100 things to do in Wisconsin this summer.

Wednesday Night Links: 8,000 Barrels, 0.000025%, 3,387 Men, $100 Bills, and More

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Over a longer time span, say a decade, we would expect about 19 spill incidents with an aggregate spill volume of about 8,000 barrels, enough to fill about half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  We would expect about 1.3 of these spills to be “large,” which means that on average we would expect a “large” spill to occur about once every 8 years or so.  Clearly, based upon reported historical industry performance, spills in general and large spills in particular would not be a rare occurrence for the proposed pipeline.

* Elsevier’s behavior is so egregious that it has provoked a boycott from academics who refuse to write or review papers for its journals. But to focus on one malefactor elides a larger question: Why should academic knowledge — largely produced by academics at public and nonprofit universities and often with government grants — be turned into private property and kept from public dissemination?

Dartmouth College Cancels Classes After Sexual Assault Protesters Receive Rape Threats. More at Student Activism.

* Piranhas are a very tricky species: On Gift Horses and Trojan Horses: The Proposed Aquatics Center.

* Tumblr of the day: Little Girls Are Better at Designing Superheroes Than You.

Women Writers take heed, you are being erased on Wikipedia. It would appear that in order to make room for male writers, women novelists (such as Amy Tan, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt and 300 others) have been moved off the “American Novelists” page and into the “American Women Novelists” category. Not the back of the bus, or the kiddie table exactly–except of course–when you google “American Novelists” the list that appears is almost exclusively men (3,387 men).

“I love to paint. It is — painting has changed my life in an unbelievably positive way,” the unprosecuted war criminal said.

Mad Men’s Misery Problem And How TV Can Handle Characters Who Never Change.

Right Wing Media Exploit Boston Bombings To Attack Government Assistance Programs. West Virginia Republican: Make Kids Work As Janitors For School Lunches.

Feds spend at least $890,000 on fees for empty accounts. That’s a crushing 0.000025% of the federal budget going to WASTE.

Holding Corporations Responsible for Workplace Deaths. And then there’s Matt “Proud Neoliberal” Yglesias.

Rhode Island Becomes 10th State To Approve Marriage Equality.

* A Slavoj Žižek Text Adventure.

* Monster.com bans unpaid internships.

* You majored in STEM? And you thought you’d get a job after graduation? Why didn’t you major in something useful?

* And the new $100 is awful. Good thing I’ll never actually have one.