Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the humanities

Infinite Sunday Infinite Reading

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* From last week, a rare “actual content” post: White Male Critic Asks Why If Wonder Woman Is Really So Great Why Didn’t She Prevent the Holocaust.

* Princess Buttercup Became the Warrior General Who Trained Wonder Woman, All Dreams Are Now Viable. The Strange, Complicated, Feminist History of Wonder Woman’s Origin Story. Who mourns for the space kangaroos? I’m Pretty Sure Steve Trevor Lied About His Dick Size in Wonder Woman. Classic DC.

* Black Panther next! Everything We Learned From the Black Panther Teaser Trailer.

Why you should go to the Octavia Butler sci-fi conference at the Huntington. I’ll be there!

Bob Dylan Delivers His Nobel Prize Lecture, Just in Time.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Evergreen.

* Evergreen headlines: Humanities Majors Drop.

Eight reasons why universities can’t be the primary site of left organizing.

* Academics at UNC want to know what was wrong with plans for a class dealing with athletics scandals, including one at Chapel Hill.

UWSP student asks court to force poetry professor to give her an A.

The Poverty of Entrepreneurship: The Silicon Valley Theory of History.

* Fifty years of One Hundred Years of Solitude. No Magic, No Metaphor.

* Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general.

* Corbynmania! How Labour Did It. Why Corbyn Won. Theresa May’s desperation could undo peace in Northern Ireland.

* Excerpts from James Comey’s Opening Statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee or from Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day? The Comey testimony was riveting reality TV. I asked 6 legal experts if Trump obstructed justice. Here’s what they told me. Trump Can Commit All the High Crimes He Wants. Republicans Aren’t Going to Impeach Him. How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money into His Business. Trump’s DOJ says Trump can still get paid. Our A.I. President. A Noun, a Verb, and Vladimir Putin. All this and Trumpcare isn’t even dead. What Will Happen to Us? Four Cartoonists on A Life Without the Affordable Care Act.

Reporter Covering Inauguration Protests Now Faces 75 Years in Prison.

* I think we may have had the Russians all wrong.

* Noam Chomsky explains the twentieth century.

What if Your Cellphone Data Can Reveal Whether You Have Alzheimer’s?

* What’s really warming the world?

* Candidate opposing Steve King drops out of race citing death threats and a possible inability to get health insurance. America!

* Twilight of the comics direct market.

Before I go: A mother’s hopeful words about life in its waning moments.

The toddler survived with some scar tissue—but not everyone who gets Powassan, POW for short, is so lucky. With no treatment available, half of all people who contract the virus suffer permanent brain damage; 10 percent die. And while POW is nowhere near as prevalent as that other tick-borne summer scourge—Lyme—it is starting to show up more often.

People tend to avoid sick people, even if they don’t consciously now that they are sick, according to a new study published in PNAS.

* The addicts next door. Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever. In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War did. The last words of a ‘heroin junkie’: There seems to be no escape.

* Not only will this happen in your lifetime — this tweet has accelerated the process.

* Shock finding: Tax evasion is shockingly prevalent among the very rich.

* On dying alone.

On Aug. 15, 1977 at 10:16 p.m. ET Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope detected a curious signal from deep space. Nearly 40 years later, we finally know what caused it and, sadly, it’s not aliens.

* Donald/Donald. Don’t stop till you find the panda. How to succeed. Now my story can be told. Should we be concerned about that? What’s the problem with Florida? Can I interest you in a war on non-transport accidents? If you want a vision of the future. The state is that human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Zoos.

* In tiny Townville, S.C., first-graders are haunted by what they survived — and lost — on a school playground. Gut-wrenching.

How Bostonians Defeated the Olympics.

White supremacists love Vikings. But they’ve got history all wrong.

* The Myth of General Lee.

* Peanuts and the Civil Rights Movement.

‘Life or death for black travelers’: How fear led to ‘The Negro Motorist Green-Book.’

* For the first time ever, a video game has qualified for an Academy Award.

* When David Fincher nearly directed a Star Wars sequel trilogy.

I always thought of Star Wars as the story of two slaves [C-3PO and R2-D2] who go from owner to owner, witnessing their masters’ folly, the ultimate folly of man…

How Wookieepedia Tackles the Insanely Difficult Task of Chronicling the Entire Star Wars Universe.

* This week in the richest society in human history.

At $75,560, housing a prisoner in California now costs more than a year at Harvard.

* Make this movie!

* Compatibilism: A Parable.

* I’ve always known this is how it will end for me.

* Everett Hamner will be recapping Orphan Black season five for LARB.

* Some economies just can’t be disrupted. Grilled cheese for instance.

* Pinball’s back, baby!

* So is — Mary Poppins? Fine, I guess.

C. L. R. James in the Age of Climate Change.

The Unexpected Afterlife of American Communism.

* Al Franken was a great guest on Marc Maron, if you missed it. Crazy to say it, I think he might actually run for president. Then again, why not him?

* RIP, My Batman.

West’s Batman/Bruce Wayne is, and will always remain, the single most important screen incarnation of the character, for better or worse: For better because it was the most surprising, at times confounding, interpretation of the Caped Crusader, feather-light and hilarious precisely because of the character’s seeming lack of self-awareness; for worse, in the eyes of some fans, because it encouraged millions of people who had never picked up a Batman comic, or any comic, to be amused by the sight of adults dressing up in wild outfits and pretending to punch each other in the face. Every subsequent, high-profile reinvention of Batman, whether in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke, Tim Burton’s alternately perverse and sincere Batman and Batman Returns, Christopher Nolan’s operatic trilogy, and Zack Snyder’s funereal Batman vs. Superman, is, first and foremost, a reaction against the Adam West–driven Batman series.

* And the bad news never stops: Sleeping In Is Deadly, Popular People Live Longer, Adolescence Lasts Forever, and So Does High School.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 11, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet, Look at what I put on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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* Extrapolation 58.1 is out! With articles on Octavia Butler, Aldous Huxley, Neal Stephenson, and Celu Ambsterstone. I’ll give a special endorsement to  Donawerth and Scally’s Butler article, which is not only the first article to cite my book (that I know of) but also a truly great study tracing Butler’s footsteps research Kindred in Maryland. Check it out!

* CFP: Utopia, Now!

* Jeff VanderMeer in conversation with Cory Doctorow.

* William Gibson after Trump.

The result is “Agency,” Mr. Gibson’s next novel, which Berkley will publish in January. The story unfolds in two timelines: San Francisco in 2017, in an alternate time track where Hillary Clinton won the election and Mr. Trump’s political ambitions were thwarted, and London in the 22nd century, after decades of cataclysmic events have killed 80 percent of humanity.

Mr. Gibson never set out to write a sequel, but the plots of “Agency” and “The Peripheral” converged unexpectedly last fall. He had spent about a year writing “Agency” when the 2016 election rendered the fictional world he had created obsolete. “I assumed that if Trump won, I’d be able to shift a few things and continue to tell my story,” he said. But when he tried tinkering with the draft, he realized that the world had changed too drastically for him to plausibly salvage the story. “It was immediately obvious to me that there had been some fundamental shift and I would have to rebuild the whole thing,” he said.

The difference between utopia and dystopia isn’t how well everything runs. It’s about what happens when everything fails. Here in the nonfictional, disastrous world, we’re about to find out which one we live in.

Wes Anderson’s latest, Isle Of Dogs, gets a release date and poster. Warm up your power rankings now!

* I’m Wes Anderson, and I’m Directing This FBI Investigation into Russia and the Trump Campaign.

* If the police do it, it isn’t murder: Inmate’s water cut off for 7 days before his death in the Milwaukee County Jail.

* Purdue Has Bought Kaplan — for $1. The weird fall of Burlington College. Rand Paul Stealing My Bit. When 51 Years Experience Isn’t Good Enough.

* CBS is apparently fully committed to ruining Star Trek: Discovery in every possible way.

* More on the Cal audit that reveals massive administrative blight.

* Tracking White Collar Crime Zones.

* The March for Science wasn’t.

* Charter schools as corporate perk.

* What’s the matter with Nintendo?

* Apple’s Promise to End Rare Earth Mineral Mining Is ‘100 Percent Unattainable Today.’ Haters! Apple can do anything.

25 percent of young Britons have lied about reading Lord Of The Rings, poll reveals. I want to know how many have said they didn’t read it when they did!

Corbynism or barbarism. Inside Corbyn’s Office.

We May Have Uncovered the First Ever Evidence of the Multiverse.

* Trump Wants to Send a Man to Mars During His Presidency. The next launch window isn’t until the 2030s, so this is a worrying declaration indeed. Here’s the plan.

Record-breaking climate events all over the world are being shaped by global warming, scientists find. What will Earth look like when all the ice melts?

* I Got Hacked So You Don’t Have To.

Artist attaches Trump’s quotes about women to sexist 1950s ads and they fit too well. Into the shadows in Trump’s America. A GOP Lawmaker Has Been Revealed As The Creator Of Reddit’s Anti-Woman ‘Red Pill’ Forum. How the Ivy League Collaborates with Donald Trump. Killing Obamacare, Again (with an asterisk). In the richest country that has ever existed. We all gonna die. And the worst news yet: US considers cabin laptop ban on flights from UK airports.

We Asked ICE About the Prank Calls to Their Anti-Immigrant Hotline and They Kind of Lost Their Shit. 100 Days of Democratic Rage. Donald Trump Has Made Socialism Cool Again. Trump supporters are the most overrated force in American politics. The Anatomy of Liberal Melancholy. Could Your Teen’s Meme Be a Red? Texas Is The Future.

To clarify: it is perfectly possible that some collusion between Trump’s agents and Russian hackers did indeed occur. But at this point, the empirical question of whether or not it happened is secondary to the deeper psychological need for media pundits, policy wonks, and the professional-managerial strata to maintain their sense of self when the objective historical conditions in which they flourished are being actively dissolved. For liberals, the continued libidinal investment in the drama of the as-yet invisible Trump-Russia scandal actively blocks any realization that the neoliberal order they are trying to restore is already dead on its feet, and that Trump is the uniquely bizarre American expression of a visible worldwide trend: the virulent, deepening nationalist backlash against a financially-integrated global economy based on the relatively free movement of commodities and people. His ascent is a death knell for an entire era and the basic assumptions about economic and political life that shape the worldview of contemporary liberals.

* Organize. Syllabus prep. The Tenure-Track Professor. Should I Go to Grad School? Ikigai. Legolas, what do your elf eyes see?

* Against buckraking. But what does Obama’s willingness to take the money in the first place say about progressive centrism, if we stipulate (as I think MY would likely agree) that Obama is probably as good as progressive centrists are likely to get? The left neoliberal hit against standard liberal-to-left politics in the 1980s was that it fostered sleazy interest groups and tacit or not-so-tacit mutual backscratching between these interest groups and politicians. If the very best alternative that left neoliberalism has to offer is another, and arguably worse version of this (Wall Street firms, unlike unions, don’t even have the need to pretend to have the interests of ordinary people at heart), then its raison d’etre is pretty well exploded.

* Disney will just take all your money, thanks.

* How Marvel Killed Marvel.

* Building blocks of our weird future: artificial wombs.

* Warner Brothers Might Have to Pay $900 Million If It Can’t Prove Ghosts Are Real.

* The AI Cargo Cult.

* More bad press for United. It’s like they’re trying to go bankrupt.

* “Twitter” is an oversimplification. There are many twitters, which is also part of the problem: my twitter and yours are different, but they can come into contact with each other and overlap, and do. We can each think the other person is a holographic projection into our living room, and the rooms are similar enough that we can overlook the ways they are different (and then blame the other person for coming into our house and acting like an asshole). But this also means that talking about what “twitter” is or isn’t, or does, or doesn’t, is a similar exercise in polemic misunderstanding. If the underlying structure of the program is a constant, the conversational norms and practical methods we bring to it will vary, radically and dramatically. Some of the problem is the latter thing: people not only use twitter differently, but they sometimes regard other people’s use of it as illegitimate or wrong. Policing other people on twitter can become particularly heated and vicious, if a police from one jurisdiction comes into another, without knowing it, and attempts to apply one set of laws to someone who thinks they’re operating in another. It rarely ends well. And yet if we keep pretending that there is one twitter (ours), we’ll keep crashing into each other and insisting that it’s the other car that came into my lane. Twitter road rage.

* Great Artists at 8.

* Oh, I see the problem: Americans don’t read.

* And I know things seem dark, darker than they’ve ever been, but Illinois fixed it. Kudos.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Morning Links!

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* The course descriptions for Marquette’s Fall 2017 English classes are up at the department website. Check them out! I’m teaching Tolkien and a grad seminar on utopia. 

* Also in Marquette news! Marquette to host ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ conference in April.

Becoming a parent forces you to think about the nature of the problem — which is, in a lot of ways, the problem of nature […] the realities of aging and sickness and mortality become suddenly inescapable. […] [My wife] said something during that time I will never forget. “If I had known how much I was going to love him,” she said, “I’m not sure I would have had him.” Mark O’Connell on transhumanism and immortality.

* From the great Ali Sperling: Reading Lovecraft in the Anthropocene. And this review of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem from the great David Higgins!

* Adam Roberts reviews New York 2140. Another review, from a climate scientist. And an interview with Stan. My review comes out in LARB this weekend…

The Most Cringeworthy Monuments to Colleges’ Innovation Jargon.

Perverse outcomes: UC Berkeley deletes 20,000 audio and visual lectures in the name of compliance with the ADA.

Speculative Fiction and Survival in Iraq.

* Is it really so hard to understand that when your students go broke just trying to graduate they aren’t exactly moved to donate later?

harcourt_fenton_mudd_2267* The liberal arts at Harvey Mudd College, whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford.

* You-might-be-from-Wisconsin-if at Ask MetaFilter.

President Roosevelt signed the order on February 19, 1942, almost exactly 75 years ago. By spring, American citizens would be arriving at the Fresno and Pinedale camps: our neighbors.

* Wisconsin is apparently harassing trans state employees.

* Chaos, again. This is fine. Even James Comey. Twilight of Reince Preibus. Ten Questions for President Trump. Ten More Questions for President Trump. Remember when it was scandalous that Obama, years before he became a politician, once sold his house?

It is through the Justice Department that the administration is likely to advance its nationalist plans — to strengthen the grip of law enforcement, raise barriers to voting and significantly reduce all forms of immigration, promoting what seems to be a longstanding desire to reassert the country’s European and Christian heritage. It’s not an accident that Sessions, who presumably could have chosen from a number of plum assignments, opted for the role of attorney general. The Department of Justice is the most valuable perch from which to transform the country in the way he and Bannon have wanted. With an exaggerated threat of disorder looming, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency could become a machine for trying to fundamentally change who gets to be an American and what rights they can enjoy.

The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”

* “Forever war, but too much.”

An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the American government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed on Saturday. Profiles of immigrant arrested in Austin. Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws. (Note this lawsuit was filed in 2014.This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World. And if it were a book, it’d seem laughably contrived: A letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Resisting ICE. Here we go again.

* 4chan and the Great Meme War.

* Russia and the Cyber Cold War.

* And while we’re on the subject: The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation. I think this is a very good reminder of the need to stay calm and detached from the chaos of the news cycle.

Instead, a new model is proposed: the president keeps everyone in a constant state of excitement and alarm. He moves fast and breaks things. He leads by causing commotion. As energy in the political system rises he makes no effort to project calm or establish an orderly White House. And if he keeps us safe it’s not by being himself a safe, steady, self-controlled figure, but by threatening opponents and remaining brash and unpredictable— maybe a touch crazy. This too is psychological work, but of a different kind.

* Democrats keep trusting demographics to save them. It hasn’t worked yet — but maybe this time…

NASA unveils plan to give Mars an ‘Earth-like’ atmosphere.

House Republicans Unveil Bill To Repeal Obamacare. The GOP health bill doesn’t know what problem it’s trying to solve.

Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.

* No! It can’t be! Researchers have found strong evidence that racism helps the GOP win.

* Losing West Virginia.

Contrary to What You Learned in Sex Ed, You Can Get Pregnant While Pregnant.

* Mid-decade gerrymander in Georgia.

* Autism and Addiction.

* What We’ve Learned from Giving Dolphins LSD.

In a world first, a teenager with sickle cell disease achieved complete remission after an experimental gene therapy at Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris, researchers say.

* Possible lynching outside Seattle, in 2017.

* The end of suburbia.

* In the richest country in human history, children have “lunch debt.”

The only way in which a game is guaranteed to end is when the player abandons their device. Everything else is game design.

“These devices don’t have emotional intelligence,” said Allison Druin, a University of Maryland professor who studies how children use technology. “They have factual intelligence.” How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants.

* Finding a jury of your peers in a racially segregated society.

* A colony in a nation.

Divination hasn’t disappeared; it’s taken over the world.

But these second-order obstacles aren’t enough to explain the current collapse of poll-driven political certainty. They’re just excuses, even if they’re not untrue. Something about the whole general scheme of polling—the idea that you can predict what millions of undecided voters will do by selecting a small group and then just simply asking them—is out of whack. We need to think seriously about what the strange game of election-watching actually is, in terms of our relation to the future, our power to choose our own outcomes, the large-scale structure of the universe, and the mysteries of fate. And these questions are urgent. Because predictions of the future don’t simply exist in the future, but change the way we act in the present. Because in our future something monstrous is rampaging: it paces hungrily toward us, and we need to know if we’ll be able to spot it in time.

When I said that opinion polls are sibyls and soothsayers, it wasn’t just a figure of speech. Opinion polling has all the trappings of a science—it has its numbers and graphs, its computational models, its armies of pallid drones poring over the figures. It makes hypotheses and puts them to the test. But polls are not taken for what they are: a report on what a small number of people, fond of changing their minds, briefly pretended to think. Instead, we watch the tracking graphs as if the future were playing itself out live in front of us. The real structure of the electoral-wonk complex is more mystical than materialist: it’s augury and divination, a method handed down by Prometheus to a starving and shivering humanity at the faint dawn of time. Behind all the desktop screens and plate-glass of his office, the buzz of data and the hum of metrics, Nate Silver retreats to a quiet, dark, and holy room. He takes the knife and slits in one stroke the throat of a pure-white bull; its blood arcs and drizzles in all directions. He examines its patterns. And he knows.

There’s a never-ending fount of stories you can write about when someone is breaking away from canon or not, and create many controversies all the way through preproduction and production and even until a movie opens, about whether or not they’re breaking canon. Is it a blasphemous movie or not? At some point, you gotta stop and say, Is there this expectation that it’s like we’re doing Godfather Part I and II, only it’s going to nine movies? And we’re just gonna cut them into this kind of Berlin Alexanderplatz that never ends? We’re gonna suddenly take a moment to really savor the fact that these movies exist in an identical tone? The reality to me is that you can’t have interesting movies if you tell a filmmaker, “Get in this bed and dream, but don’t touch the pillows or move the blankets.” You will not get cinema. You will just get a platform for selling the next movie on that bed, unchanged and unmade. James Mangold on Logan.

* The making of The Silmarillion.

* And we have but one choice: the Ring must be destroyed.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 7, 2017 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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* A personal announcement: I’ll be the Vice President of the Science Fiction Research Association for the next three years. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

* CFP: “Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince.”

* Huge, if true: Reading Literature Won’t Give You Superpowers. And meanwhile: What’s Wrong With Literary Studies? Some scholars think the field has become cynical and paranoid. Only some?

Use Data to Make a Strong Case for the Humanities.

* They did it: Army Corps of Engineers Statement Regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. More from Vox.

* Is there any branch of literature so insecure, so uncertain of its own status, as science fiction?

Inside the world of Chinese science fiction, with “Three Body Problem” translator Ken Liu.

gerrycanavan_2016-dec-04* Marquette in the ne– oh come on.

* Dan Harmon’s story circle at YouTube.

* Trouble in the Heartland: Listening to Springsteen in Wisconsin in 1979.

* Well, that seems fine: GOP rep: Trump has ‘extra-constitutional’ view of presidency. Donald Trump risks China rift with Taiwan call. BREAKING: US President-elect Trump told Rodrigo Duterte that Philippines was conducting its drug war “the right way.” That’s bad. Trump’s education pick says reform can ‘advance God’s Kingdom.’ What the Nazis were doing was not describing what was true, but what would have to be true to justify what they planned to do next. A People’s History of the Third Reich: How Great Man theory allows us to abdicate collective responsibility. Facts are stupid things: Here’s Where Donald Trump Gets His News. Trump and the coming failed state. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Now Is The Time To Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About. Another visit from the goon squad. Trump and the Bush Legacy.

New SPLC reports reveal alarming pattern of hate incidents and bullying across country since election. Note the category just labeled “Trump —  general.”


* Identity politics and the alt-right.

Premised on the possibilities of political struggle, here was the Douglass Option: “a party in the Southern States among the poor.”

* Seems like this guy is Trump’s very worst pick, clearing a very tough field:

During a tense gathering of senior officials at an off-site retreat, he gave the assembled group a taste of his leadership philosophy, according to one person who attended the meeting and insisted on anonymity to discuss classified matters. Mr. Flynn said that the first thing everyone needed to know was that he was always right. His staff would know they were right, he said, when their views melded to his. The room fell silent, as employees processed the lecture from their new boss.

Flynn also helped promulgate the “Pizzagate” hoax that nearly led to a mass shooting today.

Google, democracy and the truth about internet search.

* Steve Bannon, on the other hand, is winning me over.

It’s true that racism is a powerful and durable force in our politics. But it is also true that Donald Trump is an incompetent clown who ran an amateurish campaign rife with mistakes. The Democrats should have won this election in a landslide. They did not, and there is no nobility or reassurance for them in a narrow loss in the electoral college or a win in the popular vote. And continuing to insist that a Donald Trump win was either some kind of strange fluke or completely inevitable is a recipe for repeated defeat.

* When the Democrats didn’t like monopolies. On not going high when they go low.

* Can the good parts of Obamacare survive Trump?

* Stealing North Carolina.

* Italy votes no.

Friedman just got finished telling us that a black elephant is half black swan, and half elephant in the room that will inevitably become a black swan. But now that half-swan, half swan-within-an-elephant is being contrasted with a black swan: in the near future, things that are really black elephants will be misidentified as black swans.

* Understanding survivorship bias.

* Podcast idea of the week: Like Random Trek, but for Rod Serling.

Which Famous Actor Hustled Chess Games in New York City?

* Life after Seinfeld.

* Fidel without Illusions.

* What does elephant taste like?

Here’s Why You Should Be Watching Netflix’s Brazilian Sci-Fi Series 3%. And on the SF kick: Aaron Bady explains Westworld.

* there is no reason to assume Uber’s obliteration of local competition across the planet will create a sustainable business in the long term. Costs are costs, even if you’re a monopoly. As long as people have cheaper alternatives (public transport, legs), they will defect if the break-even price is higher than their inconvenience tolerance threshold.

Trump could face the ‘biggest trial of the century’ — over climate change. But really, show’s over, folks.

* The trans brain and gender dysphoria.

This is brilliant and I’m shocked it took the good guys this long to figure it out.

* Some grim news.

* America is already great.

* Kazuo Ishiguro on the coming race of super clones. Never Let Me Go 2: The Revenge.

* Every villain is the hero of their own story.

* And this is pretty much my actual teaching philosophy.


Written by gerrycanavan

December 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Closing Every Tab Not In Anger But In Disappointment Links

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* I have a new essay out on zombies and the elderly in this great new book on zombies, medicine, and comics: The Walking Med: Zombies and the Medical Image. And if you’re interested in my Octavia Butler book, podcaster Jonah Sutton-Morse (@cabbageandkings) is going through it piece by piece on Twitter with #mmsfoeb. Also, check out this LARB interview with Ayana Jamieson on her work in the Butler archives!

* CFP: Comics Remixed: Adaptation and Graphic Narrative, University of Florida. CFP: ASLE 2017 (Detroit, MI). CFP: Special Issue of Green Letters on Crime Fiction and Ecology. CFP: Global Dystopia.

* Maybe the best thing you’ll read this year: Clickhole’s Oral History of Star Trek.

* Wes Anderson made a Christmas commercial. Updated Power Rankings coming soon!

‘Feast or Famine’ for Humanities Ph.D.s.

Las Vegas is a microcosm. “The world is turning into this giant Skinner box for the self,” Schüll told me. “The experience that is being designed for in banking or health care is the same as in Candy Crush. It’s about looping people into these flows of incentive and reward. Your coffee at Starbucks, your education software, your credit card, the meds you need for your diabetes. Every consumer interface is becoming like a slot machine.”

Jesuit university presidents issue statement supporting undocumented students. Catholic college leaders pledge solidarity with undocumented students. Dissent on sanctuary cities.

* Public universities and the doom loop. UW-Madison drops out of top five research universities for first time since 1972. Student visas, university finances, and Trump.

* Stealing it fair and square: In split decision, federal judges rule Wisconsin’s redistricting law an unconstitutional gerrymander. And so on and so on.

The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces.

How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red.’ Maybe the Internet Isn’t a Fantastic Tool for Democracy After All. Postelection Harassment, Case by Case. Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today. Making White Supremacy Acceptable Again. Trump and the Sundown Town. No one can stop President Trump from using nuclear weapons. That’s by design. If only someone had thought of this eight years ago! A time for treason.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-8-20-00-am* Texas Elector Resigns: Trump Is Not Qualified And I Cannot Vote For Him. Trump and the End of Expertise. On Taking the Electoral College Literally. Some Schmittian reflections on the election. Stop Calling the United States a Banana Republic. Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President. Emoluments. A running list of how Donald Trump’s new position may be helping his business interests. A billionaire coup d’etat. Wunderkind. Voting under the influence of celebrity. We have an institution that could stop this (no not that one), but it won’t. Wheeeeee! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

* And I’m afraid the news only gets worse.

If you were designing a political strategy with the goal of long-term defeat, I don’t think you could do better than actual existing Democrats. 

* “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did,” Ms. Palmieri said.” Respectfully disagree! The Myth of the Rust Belt Revolt. Who Lost the White House? Careful! We don’t want to learn anything from this.

* I was reminded recently of this post from @rortybomb a few years ago that, I think, got the Obama years right earlier and better than just about anyone. And here he is on the election: Learning from Trump in Retrospect.

* Maybe America is simply too big.

Inside the bizarre world of the military-entertainment industry’s racialized gamification of war.

* Trump’s already working miracles: Dykes to Watch Out For is out of retirement.

The Nitty-Gritty on Getting a Job: The 5 Things Your English Professors Don’t Teach You.

* Remembering Scott Eric Kaufman.

Huge Cracks In the West Antarctic Ice Sheet May Signal Its Collapse.

* Marx as food theorist.

* Four Futures: Life After Capitalism review – will robots bring utopia or terror?

* The Mobility Myth.

* I Was a Teenage Nazi.

If I developed a drug and then tested it myself without a control group, you might be a bit suspicious about my claims that everyone who took it recovered from his head cold after two weeks and thus that my drug is a success. But these are precisely the sorts of claims that we find in assessment.

A world map of every country’s tourism slogan. Here Are the Real Boundaries of American Metropolises, Decided by an Algorithm.

* The youth concussion crisis.



Cheating at the Olympics Is at Epic Levels.

* Pardoning Edward Snowden.

Mr. Plinkett and 21st-Century Star Wars Fandom. An addendum.

* Moana before Moana. This one’s pretty great by the way, my kids loved it.

* From the archives: Terry Bisson’s “Meat.”

* Stanislaw Lem: The Man with the Future Inside Him.

* The genetics of success?

U.S. Military Preps for Gene Drives Run Amok.

* Fidel Castro: The Playboy Interview.

* Cap’n Crunch presents The Earliest Show.

* Coming soon: Saladin Ahmed’s Black Bolt. Grant Morrison’s The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ.

Parker Posey Will Play Dr. Smith and Now We Suddenly Care a Lot About Netflix’s Lost in Space. TNT fires up a Snowpiercer pilot. Behind the scenes of the new MST3K. The Cursed Child is coming to Broadway.

“Magneto Was Right”: Recalibrating the Comic Book Movie for the Trump Age.

* Now my childhood is over: both Florence Henderson and Joe Denver have died.

* Of course you had me at “Science fiction vintage Japanese matchbox art mashup prints.”

* A brief history of progress.

* The first, last, and only truly great object of our time.

* And say what you will about OK Go, this one’s pretty damn good.


Written by gerrycanavan

December 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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I Have (Not a Joke) 300 Tabs Open and This Afternoon I Am Closing Them All: Election Night Links!

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I’ve been so ridiculously busy I haven’t been able to tend to my open tabs at all. There’s over 300 — and I’m not leaving this room until I’ve closed them all. Let’s go!

* Really, I’ve been so busy I haven’t even been able to shamelessly self-promote: I missed announcing my trip to Atlanta for SLSA 2016 and my presentations on “Literary Studies after Blackfish” and the upcoming almost-almost-done issue of Paradoxa on “Global Weirding,” as well as my New Inquiry review of the (fantastic) end to Liu Cixin’s (fantastic) Three-Body trilogy. My new essay on “Geriatric Zombies” from The Walking Med was namechecked as part of a larger zombie news report in the Seattle Times. Most importantly I haven’t been able to hype my Octavia Butler book, which is printed and apparently shipping. I’ve even held one in my hands!

* Meanwhile, here’s my guess for tonight’s final results, just to get it out of the way: 340-198.

* CFP: Letters to Octavia Butler. CFP: The Comics of Alison Bechdel. CFP: English Studies in Ruins? CFP: The World of Harry Potter.

* A new issue of the Eaton Journal in Archival Research in Science Fiction is out, including a piece from Larisa Mikhaylova on Star Trek fandom in Russia.

French town upholds law against UFOs.

Invisible Planets / Invisible Frameworks — Assembling an Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF. I’ve been reading the Invisible Planets collection and it’s great.

* Why we should lower the voting age in America.

Žižek on the lesser evil. Jameson on fascism, but not yet. Study Confirms Network Evening Newscasts Have Abandoned Policy Coverage For 2016 Campaign. Americans, Politics, and Social Media. Stop Calling the United States a Banana Republic. Yes, Trump Really Is Saying ‘Big League,’ Not ‘Bigly,’ Linguists Say. The 282 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List. No, “we” are not collectively responsible for anything. Journey to the Center of the Alt-Right. Ivanka is the real threat. A Reading Guide for Those in Despair About American Politics. And did someone order a Constitutional crisis with a 4-4 Supreme Court?

* What Happens if You Vote and Die Before Election Day? Too late for all of us, alas.

In contrast to the Fordist society observed by Gramsci, power now seeks to circumvent the public sphere, in order to avoid the constraints of critical reason. Increasingly, it is non-representational codes—of software, finance, human biology—that mediate between past, present and future, allowing society to cohere. Where, for example, employee engagement cannot be achieved via cultural or psychological means, increasingly business is looking to solutions such as wearable technology, that treat the worker as an item of fixed capital to be monitored physically, rather than human capital to be employed. The key human characteristics are those that are repeated in a quasi-mechanical fashion: footsteps, nightly sleep, respiration, heartbeat. These metronomic qualities of life come to represent each passing moment as yet another one of the same. The New Neoliberalism.

“We are all Thomas More’s children”: 500 years of Utopia. And at LARB.

It isn’t every day that a street criminal—a high-school dropout with two felony convictions—is accused of stealing a centuries-old violin worth as much as $6 million. But nothing about the heist of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which galvanized the music world last winter, was normal, or even logical.

How America Outlawed Adolescence. The Cognitive Benefits of Being a Man-Child.

Inside the NSA’s For-Sale Spy Town. The Indiana Town That Modernism Built.

* Where Ph.D.s Work. IPFW Community Shocked by Restructuring Recommendations. Last month’s strike at Harvard. And its results. A City Clerk Opposed an Early-Voting Site at UW–Green Bay Because ‘Students Lean More Toward the Democrats.’ Saudi college student in Wisconsin dies after assault. Johns Hopkins threatens to close its interdisciplinary Humanities Center, sparking outcry from students and faculty members. San Diego State University tuition, 1959. How State Budget Cuts Affect Your Education.

* Cornell looks for ways to cut time professors spend on administrative requirements, as opposed to teaching and research.

The Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges rates America’s top 150 universities (as listed by US News and World Reports) and will soon rate the Top 50 Liberal Arts Schools according to their commitment to viewpoint diversity.

The American Association of University Professors has launched an investigation focused on the dismissal of Nathanial Bork, who had taught philosophy courses at the college for six years before he was dismissed. The AAUP says that his dismissal raises concerns both because of the issues he raises about rigor and also because he was fired shortly after he complained about the situation to the Higher Learning Commission, the college’s accreditor. Further, Bork was active in efforts to improve the working conditions of adjuncts at the college.

mapmapampA More Accurate World Map Wins Prestigious Japanese Design Award. Love this.

* Borges and maps.

* “University Paid for Bigfoot Expedition.”

* Dig this Beatnik glossary.

* Starship Troopers coming back just as documentary footage of 2016. A darker, grittier Muppet Babies, for a tragic time.

Quentin Tarantino still insists he’s going to stop at 10 movies.

Playing with History: What Sid Meier’s Video Game Empire Got Right and Wrong About ‘Civilization.’

* “Capitalism Broke Earth, Let’s Protect Mars.”

Inside Magic Leap, The Secretive $4.5 Billion Startup Changing Computing Forever.

The video for Soul Asylum’s 1993 smash hit featured real missing kids. Some eventually came home; some never did.

Her toddler suddenly paralyzed, mother tries to solve a vexing medical mystery. Football Alters the Brains of Kids as Young as 8. Why treating diabetes keeps getting more expensive. The Other Sister: Returning Home to Care for an Autistic Sibling.

Inmates Explain How They’d Run Prisons.

* If Women Wrote Men the Way Men Write Women.

* Zork in your browser.

Russia Reveals ‘Satan 2’ Nuclear Missile Capable of Destroying Texas in One Blow. Bathroom air freshener causes emergency response at nuclear site.

* Why can’t the Star Trek timeline advance?

* The end of butterflies.

The Venom From This Snake Will Make Your Life a Living Hell.

Inside The Strange, Paranoid World Of Julian Assange.

* Ruin chic.

Why Did This Guy Collect 500 Screenshots of Soda Machines in Video Games? Because He’s a Genius. And elsewhere on the Jacob Brogan science beat: Everyone Poops. Some Animals Eat It. Why?

* Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, Thumb U.N. won’t intervene.

* Now Is The Perfect Time For The Indians To Quietly Abandon Chief Wahoo.

* Deep time’s uncanny future is full of ghostly human traces. How the Concept of Deep Time Is Changing.

* The Average American Melts 645 Square Feet of Arctic Ice Every Year.

In rural North Dakota, a small county and an insular religious sect are caught in a stand-off over a decaying piece of America’s atomic history: The Pyramid at the End of the World.

Penn State Fined Record $2.4 Million in Jerry Sandusky Case.

* Dibs on the screenplay: Yellowstone’s “Zone of Death.” And I’ll take this one too: The Canadian Military Is Investigating a Mysterious Noise In the Arctic.

How Doctor Strange went from being a racist Asian caricature to a magical white savior.

* A new favorite poem:

* Animal minds: the new anthropomorphism.

* You weren’t educated, you were trained.

Twenty-first century Victorians.

* Remembering Tom Hayden.

How We Tell Campus Rape Stories After Rolling Stone.

* Native lives matter. Tribe vows to fight North Dakota pipeline through winter. The world watches. A Standing Rock Syllabus.

* Superheroes and sadness. Pixar and sadness.

* Presenting The Black Mirror Expanded Universe.

* Wildlife numbers more than halve since 1970s in mass extinction. Inside the Frozen Zoo That Could Bring Extinct Animals Back to Life.

* The secret history of Teaching with Calvin & Hobbes.

* A bad idea, but fine: The Adventures of Young Dumbledore.

Kardashev Type III Societies (Apparently) Do Not Exist.

* And frankly you had me at LEGO, but I like the rest too: LEGO’s New Line of Female Superheroes Is the Toy We Deserve.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning Links!

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1476629505-20161016* My superhero identity has finally been scooped.

* Lots of people are sharing this one, on hyperexploited labor in the academy: Truman Capote Award Acceptance Speech. As with most of this sort of adjunct activist some of its conclusions strike me as emotionally rather than factually correct — specifically, it needs to find a way to make tenured and tenure-track faculty the villains of the story, in order to make the death of the university a moral narrative about betrayal rather than a political narrative about the management class’s construction of austerity — but it’s undoubtedly a powerful read.

* I did this one already, but what the hell: Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes.

Open Access (OA) is the movement to make academic research available without charge, typically via digital networks. Like many cyberlibertarian causes OA is roundly celebrated by advocates from across the political spectrum. Yet like many of those causes, OA’s lack of clear grounding in an identifiable political framework means that it may well not only fail to serve the political goals of some of its supporters, and may in fact work against them. In particular, OA is difficult to reconcile with Marxist accounts of labor, and on its face appears not to advance but to actively mitigate against achievement of Marxist goals for the emancipation of labor. In part this stems from a widespread misunderstanding of Marx’s own attitude toward intellectual work, which to Marx was not categorically different from other forms of labor, though was in danger of becoming so precisely through the denial of the value of the end products of intellectual work. This dynamic is particularly visible in the humanities, where OA advocacy routinely includes disparagement of academic labor, and of the value produced by that labor.

* Bring on the 403(b) lawsuits.

* On being married to an academic.

* It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe: Nobel academy member calls Bob Dylan’s silence ‘arrogant.’

* Eugenics and the academy. Racism and standardized testing. Whiteness and international relations.

* Don’t drink bottled water.

* Language Log reads the bookshelf in the linguist’s office set in Arrival (out next month!).

After years of neglect, public higher education is at a tipping point.

Mass Incarceration And Its Mystification: A Review Of The 13th.

* Springsteen and Catholicism.

1476542143-20161015* White masculinity as cloning.

Balibar on exploitation.

* Parenting is weird. If God worked at a pet store, He’d be fired. Part Two. It’s a mystery!!! Wooooooooooh! The Fox and the Hedgehog. Science and technology have reached their limit. Self-destructive beverage selection: a guide. Motivational comics. Has the media gotten worse, or has society? Understanding the presidency. The oldest recorded joke is from Sumeria, circa 1900 B.C. There’s a monster under my bed.

Tenure Denials Set Off Alarm Bells, and a Book, About Obstacles for Minority Faculty.

* Trump’s Milwaukee Problem. Let’s Talk About the Senate. From Pot To Guns To School Funding: Here’s What’s On The Ballot In Your State. Todd Akin and the “shy” voter. The banality of Trump. The latest polls indicate the possibility of a genuine electoral disaster for the GOP. A short history of white people rigging elections. Having not yet won it back yet, Dems are already getting ready to lose the Senate (again) in 2018. The Democrats are likely to win a majority of House votes, but not a majority of House seats. Again. Today in uncannily accurate metaphors. This all seems perfectly appropriate. Even Dunkin Donuts is suffering. But at least there’s a bright side. On the other hand.

Slavery: Colorado

Yes, you read that right. There is a vote on slavery in 2016. The Colorado state constitution currently bans slavery and “involuntary servitude” … except if it’s used as punishment for a crime. This amendment would get rid of that exception and say that slavery is not okay, ever.

* And so, too, with the new civic faith enshrined in Hamilton: we may have found a few new songs to sing about the gods of our troubled history, but when it comes to the stories we count on to tell us who we are, we remain caught in an endless refrain.

* Speaking of endless refrain: Emmett Till memorial in Mississippi is now pierced by bullet holes.

District Judge John McKeon, who oversees a three-county area of eastern Montana, cited that exception this month when he gave the father a 30-year suspended sentence after his guilty plea to incest and ordered him to spend 60 days in jail over the next six months, giving him credit for the 17 days already served. His sentence requires him to undergo sex offender treatment and includes many other restrictions.

* On Anime Feminist. (via MeFi)

* Today in the Year of Kate McKinnon: ten minutes of her Ghostbusters outtakes.

Jessica Jones’s Second Season Will Only Feature Female Directors.

* I don’t really think they should do Luke Cage season two — or Jessica Jones for that matter, as Daredevil proved already — but just like I’d love to see a Hellcat series with Jessica Jones as a supporting player I’d love to see Misty Knight guest starring Luke Cage.

* The Case against Black Mirror. I haven’t been able to tune in to the new season yet but the backlash surprises me. This was one of the best shows on TV before! What happened?

* Famous authors and their rejection slips.

* How much for a hotel on AT&TTW? AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion.

* New York vs. Airbnb.

* “This is still the greatest NYT correction of all time imo.”

* This is [chokes] great. It’s great if they do this.

* This, on the other hand, is unbelievably awful: Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war. Everyone involved in trying to claw back this money should be ashamed of themselves.

* Gee, you don’t say: U.S. Parents Are Sweating And Hustling To Pay For Child Care.

* Welcome to the Machinocene.

* I’ve discovered the secret to immortality.

* And there’s a new Grow game out for that mid-2000s nostalgia factor we all crave. Solution here when you’re done messing around…





Written by gerrycanavan

October 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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