Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Silmarillion

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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Fritrump Links!

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* Trump’s America Conference at University College Dublin.

* Midwest area research opportunity: Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture, Northern Illinois University.

* See Marquette University’s $600M plan to transform its Milwaukee campus.

Teens sue Wisconsin over nightmare conditions in juvenile jails.

Like everyone, I mocked the tweet. Deep down, I never thought it could happen to me. Now I wish I had stopped to think things through, because I didn’t know how to respond. A terrorist had actually kidnapped my baby. By all indications, he had rigged the poor little tyke with a bomb set to go off in one hour. Somehow, miraculously, I had wound up in the same room with him. And now I faced a terrible choice: do I torture the terrorist, or let my baby be blown up, by the bomb that he had rigged the baby with, and then left the baby at some remote location while winding up in a situation where he could be tortured by me?

Starvation in northern Nigeria’s Borno State is so bad that a whole slice of the population — children under 5 — appears to have died, aid agencies say.

* Amazing Twitter project: @Stl_Manifest.

It is for the rest of us to add justice and peace to that list and to end the forever war and all the death, torture, pain, and hatred it has caused.

* Behold, the Trump boom!

* Behold @realRealDukat.

* Astoundingly Complex Visualization Untangles Trump’s Business Ties. Trump: the lie list. Trump’s phone as security risk. Trump and the Republicans Are on a Suicide Mission Together. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era. You’re a little late. Is Trump Morally Unfit or Are We Facing a Constitution Crisis? Pretty dick move, Germany. This one’s unreal even by Trump standards. Sad! One week down.

* Not only is Obama, at only fifty-five, set to have one of the longest post-presidential careers of any president, but now freed from the shackles of the office — which often forced him to temper his true beliefs and triangulate — Obama can become the progressive hero his most fervent supporters always wanted him to be. Or so the theory goes.

* #TheResistance.

Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself: Psychometrics and the (counter)revolution in marketing that is helping bring fascism to power around the world.

* In a new book, The Blood of Emmett Till (Simon & Schuster), Timothy Tyson, a Duke University senior research scholar, reveals that Carolyn—in 2007, at age 72—confessed that she had fabricated the most sensational part of her testimony. “That part’s not true,” she told Tyson, about her claim that Till had made verbal and physical advances on her.

ND House passes eliminating reporting of small oil spills.

* Creeping Trumpism.

* Trump Has Never Been Popular.

* Was it ever?

* Mark Weston at Time pitches a tax strike until the coasts get adequate representation in government.

* Diabetes and mortality.

* What the Hell Is the Opening Crawl for The Last Jedi Going to Be?

* Why don’t we drink pigs’ milk?

* Why don’t some people get brain freeze?

Ten Ways Reading The Silmarillion Makes The Lord of the Rings Better, Part 1.

* Metallic hydrogen.

* Frightening times.

“Go on, go back home,” shouted one person as the 22-year-old Gambian, named as Pateh Sabally, bobbed up and down in the icy waters of the city’s main waterway.

I write out of disarray, from a field of compatriots in disarray. We’re drifting like astronauts, distantly tethered by emails like the one I just got from a friend: ‘i feel like he is making everyone sick, and bipolar./i feel like I am so incredibly ill-equipped to deal with any of this./i’m taking blind advice from all comers without feeling like anything is remotely adequate./ i feel nostalgic for all of life before Nov 8, 2016.’ Music helps and hurts. In a college classroom I played Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘Winter in America’, stirring up my old Nixon-era sense of abjection, and cried in front of my students. Of course, such behaviour makes us eligible for the web-scorn of alt-right triumphalists (‘Anguished by Trump, Lena Dunham Flees to Posh Arizona Resort, Asks Rocks for “Guidance”’). At these moments we’re the special snowflakes we were wishing to see in the world, the canaries in our own dystopian coal mines. But we’ll brandish our sensitivities proudly (if not our safety pins, which may be too smug and lame a gesture), since they’re what we’ve got, and are anyway better than robotic numbness, better than ‘normalisation’.

* Paging Kim Stanley Robinson: Are scientists going to march on Washington?

The starships of the future won’t look anything like the Enterprise.

* First as tragedy, then as farce, as the feller said.

* Great moments in headlines: Georgia lawmaker shot behind adult entertainment store; was carrying thousands of dollars in storm relief money.

* If you want a vision of Thanksgiving.

* And two Northwestern University professors have demonstrated it’s possible to be good at neither research nor teaching. Of course this is no news to me.

Skilled researchers and effective teachers are neither substitutes nor complements for each other — in fact, they have no relationship at all, according to a study by two Northwestern University faculty published by the Brookings Institution Thursday.


All the Weekend Links (100%)

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* Jaimee has one of her phobia poems up at Drunken Boat’s “funny” issue: “Derrida Eats a Dorito.”

* CFPs: ICFA 36: The Scientific Imagination. Joss Whedon’s Comics. Assemble! The Making and Re-Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Human-Animal Boundary: Exploring the Line in Philosophy and Fiction.

* MLA Subcon is trying to raise some money for its operations at indiegogo.

* New Study Links Polar Vortex to Climate Change. Speaking for all of Wisconsin: this does not bode well.

* I have to say I really like what Freddie says about privilege and merit here.

Instead, the point should be to ask people to see the ways in which all of our lives are conditioned by vast forces we cannot control, that these forces in general work to the benefit and hindrance of certain broad groups of people in a way that conflicts with our conceptions of justice, and that we can build a more just, more equitable world if we acknowledge that no one’s life is the product only of their work ethic and intelligence.

The long-term project of those who decry the role of unearned advantage in human society should not be to try and parse who is most and least privileged. The project should be to deny the salience of “merit” as a moral arbiter of material security and comfort. The very notion of just deserts– the notion that some people have legitimate accomplishments that we must celebrate because they represent “merit,” whatever that is, distinct from their privileges– is what has to die. There is no space where privilege ends and legitimate accomplishment begins. There is, instead, a world of such multivariate complexity that we can never know whose accomplishments are earned and whose aren’t. Instead, we should recognize the folly of tying material security and comfort to our flawed perceptions of other people’s value, and instead institute an economic system based on the absolute right of all people to food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education.

* Kazuo Ishiguro to publish first novel since Never Let Me Go. I am on board. More links below the photo!


* And on the other side of the spectrum: Margaret Atwood’s new work will remain unseen for a century.

* Shock, horror: Most college classes cost more online than on campus.

* The Classroom of the Future.

Q. How did you make the transition from professor to president? A. Maybe some of our problems in education today stem from the fact that someone like me is considered an unconventional choice. Maybe academic institutions should be run by academics, the way they used to be.

* Wisconsin inches closer to dubious obesity milestone.

* On Christopher Tolkien protecting The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales from New Line. I hadn’t realized that Peter Jackson was prohibited from making reference to those works in his films; that’s fascinating…

* If Pearson were trying to strike back against a researcher who told legislators that they were paying $100 million a year for tests that mostly measure test-taking ability, it would look an awful lot like what is happening to Walter Stroup.

* “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put ‘u’ and ‘i’ in the same eight-person, windowless office.”

* The New York Times pans a novel for being insufficiently pro-conquistador. The Economist wrings its hands over whether maybe we’re not being fair to slaveowners.

* The Justice Department will investigate the entire Ferguson police force. How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty. Twitter Headquarters Has Painted #Ferguson On Its Office Wall.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson lied when he said he had received “many” specific requests for the videotape that allegedly shows Michael Brown robbing a convenience store, according to a new report.

* Feisal G. Mohamed and Cary Nelson debate the Salaita firing. Salaita and the Accreditors.

* This Is What It’s Like To Sit Through An Anti-Union Meeting At Work.

Gaming doesn’t have a problem; capitalism has a problem. Rather than seeing them simply as immoral assholes or deluded consumerists, we should take gaming’s advanced wing of hateful trolls seriously as representatives of the reactionary shock troops that will have to be defeated in order to build a more egalitarian society in the games industry or anywhere else.

* Five myths about California’s drought. The news is not good, friends.

* Here’s Who Really Controls California’s Water.

* Staff at an Arizona gun range reportedly told investigators that the release forms signed by the family of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed her instructor with an Uzi last week were unavailable because they had been “blown away by the wind.” I’ve head less convincing excuses, I guess.

* Biden’s warning to ISIS militants: ‘We will follow them to the gates of hell.’ 200 U.S. troops headed to Ukraine for ‘peace-keeping exercise’ as Obama condemns Russian aggression.

Brave Teen Refuses to Attend Middle School, Chooses Jail Instead.

* Today in the rule of law: Missouri May Have Lied Under Oath About What Drugs It Used To Kill People And When.

* But don’t worry: The system works. Antonin Scalia’s Favorite Murderer Is Innocent.

* Death Row Guard Has Always Had Soft Spot For The Innocent Ones.

L.A. Times Reporter Basically Let the CIA Edit His Stories on the CIA.

NYPD Pays $33K to Settle Suit After Mistaking Jolly Ranchers for Meth.

* Police telling victims to solve crimes by themselves.

In New York, a human rights lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD after she was arrested for blocking the sidewalk while waiting for her husband and kids to use the bathroom at a Times Square restaurant.

* The call to demilitarize police overlooks the longstanding link between policing and empire.

The Worst Airbnb in the Universe: 22 Beds in One Apartment. Imagine this being your home. Imagine this being your neighbor.

* The fight for the Senate is getting weird y’all.

* For Parents Of Young Black Men With Autism, Extra Fear About Police.

* A horrifying new study says one in five women have been raped.

* “After the football season ended.”

* Vox says your revolution is over, the bums lost.

* Our congresswoman was arrested today at a fast food workers’ strike.

* The killable horde.

* For the first time ever, neuroscientists have demonstrated the viability of direct — and completely non-invasive — brain-to-brain communication in humans. Remarkably, the experiment allowed subjects to exchange mentally-conjured words despite being 5,000 miles apart.

* Science fiction classics in the news: Syfy Greenlights Six-Hour Miniseries Childhood’s End.

BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf. Almost 18 days revenue, less than a year’s profit…

Workers At Coal Waste Landfill Told That Coal Ash Is ‘Safe Enough To Eat,’ Lawsuit Says.

Joan Rivers Always Knew She Was Funny. Joan Rivers and today’s comediennes.

Downloaded Games Have A Larger Carbon Footprint Than Blu-Ray Discs. There’s some really questionable assumptions in here, but the argument that theres’s some point where this is true is an important one.

* A Child Helps Your Career, If You’re a Man.

Ms. Budig found that on average, men’s earnings increased more than 6 percent when they had children (if they lived with them), while women’s decreased 4 percent for each child they had. Her study was based on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1979 to 2006, which tracked people’s labor market activities over time. Childless, unmarried women earn 96 cents for every dollar a man earns, while married mothers earn 76 cents, widening the gap.

* Here’s why CVS stopped selling cigarettes.

* Here’s why Twitter shouldn’t algorithmize users’ feeds.

* This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe.

* Bold new directions: Shazam will differ from other DC movies by being fun.

* Every popular text eventually gets an “it was all just a hallucination” rewrite. Today it’s Harry Potter’s turn.

New Girl at School Had to Wear “Shame Suit” After Dress Code Violation.

* Werner Herzog will guest star on Parks And Recreation.

* Nothing good will happen anymore: Actually, HBO didn’t commission more Flight Of The Conchords.

* Here’s something I should probably waste all my money on.

* New Miracleman Comics Stories (Including One by Grant Morrison) Coming Soon.

* This Map Shows How Hunting Wiped Out Whales In Less Than A Century.

* And FiveThirtyEight is there with a hot take: If Tony Survived The ‘Sopranos’ Finale, He’s Probably Alive Today.


Written by gerrycanavan

September 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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