Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Three-Body Problem

July the 5th Be With You Links

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* Coming attractions.

* I have spent the entirety of my academic career so far watching the intensified hollowing-out of my profession. The destruction is not limited to those friends and grad-school colleagues whose “job hunt” turned up nothing—or turned up academic jobs which make the same demands as the tenure track without the same job security. The harm can be counted, too, in the numberless person-hours every academic I know has spent tailoring job application materials, drafting custom syllabuses, and performing all the other rituals of applicant abjection. If you care about the work scholars do, the atmosphere is demoralizing. It is, to be sure, worse in worse jobs: when I was a part-time adjunct, I found the isolation particularly depressing, and I liked my “individualized” health insurance plan even less. But even in a good job with outstanding colleagues and students all around, something eats away at the ordinary routines of my academic life: all the day-to-day work of simply doing the job (teaching the students, carrying on the research, going to the meetings, the meetings, the meetings) takes on more than a tinge of denial, something for the few of us who have good academic jobs to do while we wait for the last curtain to fall on professional scholarship. Nor is it encouraging to witness the parade of more active forms of denial: bad-faith solutions, illusory comforts, and intellectualized excuses for selfishness. But mostly I regret the good work that could have been done by all of us in a better, more just system. 

Mills College Lays Off Five Tenured Professors.

Prerequisites: “You will need to have seen Star Wars (episode four: A New Hope) and read The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.” The syllabi of Junot Díaz.

Space is the Place: A Crash Course in the Sounds of Afrofuturism.

* A call for applications: Foundation is looking for a book review editor.

happyfourthofjulyThe International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Announces its 12th annual Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for a critical essay on the fantastic originally written in a language other than English.

* The “mass graves” story I linked yesterday was fake. Thanks to a longtime reader for the tip. I wonder what the point of making this up was; the best I could come up with was that it was for research about how news spreads on the left and on the right.

Why Afghanistan? Why Now?

* Batman and 1960s America.

* 25 at 50. The 25th amendment is a fantasy.

* Not our Independence Day. Toward a Marxist Interpretation of the US Constitution. Capitalism and Slavery.

This woman’s name appears on the Declaration of Independence. So why don’t we know her story?

* CTRL-F “rape” CTRL-F “slave” CTRL-F “Hemings”

* Speaking of which: Sally Hemings’s slave quarters have been discovered at Monticello. And from the archives: The Monster of Monticello.

Dear TNI Contributors,

 Our August issue theme is PATRIOTS. 

Seize the Hamptons. Probably should take a look at seizing the governor’s mansion in New Jersey, too.

In sum, here’s what they found: If you’re going to die via an asteroid, it will be the wind and shockwave that gets you.

Why Roman concrete still stands strong while modern version decays.

* America’s future is Texas.

* Mother charged with child endangerment for leaving her ten-year-old in the LEGO store unattended.

* Horrifying story: Authorities have charged a former Ph.D. candidate with kidnapping a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Yingying Zhang, originally from China, is now presumed dead.

‘Beta Males’ Want To Kill Women Because They Can’t Get Laid.

The Democrats Are Eisenhower Republicans. Even that seems too kind a description for Rahm Emanuel.

What does opposition do that resistance doesn’t? It offers a positive agenda for a better social contract, embedded in institutional transformations. Like, for example, everything that Dems don’t ever propose: real universal healthcare, public media, public higher education, debt relief, real safety nets, and so on. A social contract — whole and full and true.

* But don’t worry folks; we’ve got this.

It’s called Win the Future, and Pincus is even courting potential WTF candidates like the frontman of ’90s rock band Third Eye Blind.

This Is Why Antarctic Sea Ice Crashed This Year.

U.S. judge finds that Aetna deceived the public about its reasons for quitting Obamacare.

* Never forget: America didn’t die, they murdered it.

New justices usually take years to find their footing at the Supreme Court. For Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who joined the court in April, a couple of months seem to have sufficed. His early opinions were remarkably self-assured. He tangled with his new colleagues, lectured them on the role of the institution he had just joined, and made broad jurisprudential pronouncements in minor cases.

* Some lesser-known spells.

UK cops routinely raided police databases to satisfy personal interest or make money on the side.

Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us.) Check your privilege, NYT. You don’t speak for me.

A stressed, sleep-deprived couple accidentally invented the modern alien abduction phenomenon.

* Always money in the banana stand: Congressional panel puts plans for a US Space Corps in 2018 defense budget.

* Journalism in America in 2017.

* Kafka’s joke book.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

It had been crossing so long it could not remember. As it stopped in the middle to look back, a car sped by, spinning it around. Disoriented, the chicken realized it could no longer tell which way it was going. It stands there still.

* Nice work if you can get it: Controversial U of T professor making nearly $50,000 a month through crowdfunding.

* When basic common sense seems radical: Civilians shouldn’t have to de-escalate police.

* Forget the blood of teens. This pill promises to extend life for a nickel a pop. Forget the blood of teens? Screw you, Wired, you don’t speak for me either!

* And a few Fourth of July links from my Tumblr: Check out Captain Woke. What have you done to keep liberty alive? Untitled (Questions). Don’t Tread on Me. Brain expansion meme. Spang!

Written by gerrycanavan

July 5, 2017 at 9:00 am

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Monday Morning Links!

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* On Saturday night the SFRA announced its award winners. Congrats to all! And here’s a Storify of the weekend’s #SFRA2017 tweets.

Civilizations in Crisis: Chinese Speculative Fiction. And at the New Yorker Radio Hour: The Cultural Revolution and the Alien Invasion.

* The Jobless Utopia of La Zarzuela.

SF, Pulp & Grit.

‘Seat 14C’ short stories imagine a 20-year time warp – and now you can hop on board.

As one of the four finalists for the Edward Said Chair, I returned from the campus interview to experience a prolonged waiting period. When the news was finally delivered, I did not learn whether I had gotten the position or not. Rather, the email informed me that the position had been cancelled altogether, due to unforeseen administrative issues.

Constructing the cyber-troll: Psychopathy, sadism, and empathy.

* President Trump appears to have sourced his CNN wrestling tweet from a racist troll on Reddit.

Let us instead critique liberal multiculturalism and liberal feminism, while advancing a socialist-feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist vision. And let us try to leave behind the sectarian divisions that have hampered us and seize the opportunity to build a new left.

* Proponents insist that the emails, as deranged as they might seem, work. Critics argue that the tactic has a short shelf life and is deceptive. But Their Emails.

D.C. police are investigating whether patrol officers struck an 11-year-old bicyclist with their cruiser Thursday night in Northwest Washington’s Park View neighborhood and drove away without reporting the incident.

* Did Trump break the law over alleged Morning Joe National Enquirer blackmail threat? Oh honey. The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians. Trump’s CNN Tweet Linked To Reddit User HanAssholeSolo.

* Democrats completely around the bend.

How handsome is Mike Pence? We asked the experts.

* Once we dispense with the pragmatic-compromise explanation for the MSPRA, it’s much easier to understand what CAP is doing. They are proposing a “bipartisan” patch on Obamacare, not because they think they can win through compromise, but because they largely agree with what Republicans want to do. They are promoting market-based healthcare instead of embracing popular support for single payer because they do not want to see single payer succeed. There’s no counter-intuitive chess game going on here; liberals are telling the left exactly what they want, and we would do well to take them at their word.

* Generation Catalano rebrands again, again.

University of Melbourne Associate Professor of Sociology Dan Woodman—who, probably not coincidentally, was born in 1980—says the “Xennial” label applies to those born between 1977 and 1983. It’s a unique demographic group, he argues, because Xennials spent a significant chunk of their childhoods without access to computers—and indeed, will someday be among the last people on Earth to remember a time before the internet—but experienced the internet revolution early enough to still become early adopters of new technologies. People who were actually college aged when Facebook came out, in other words.

* Another one: Generation Space.

The forgotten cyberspace of the Neuromancer computer game.

* Okja and translation.

* Iran’s temperature hit 127 degrees yesterday.

* Being James Thomas Hodgkinson’s widow.

* Methadone for social media addiction.

As Cost Of Opioid Epidemic Rises, One City May Consider Not Reviving Addicts Who Repeatedly Overdose.

* How valuable is Stephen Curry?

Phone Sex Operators Say They Are Making Less Than Minimum Wage.

Escaped elephant takes a stroll through Wisconsin neighborhood.

* Ancestry.com presents: Descendents of the Founding Fathers.

* disappointedspringsteen.gif. I mean really.

* Debt and the future.

* McConnell’s nearing a deal. Don’t sugarcoat this. Trump just called for 32 million people to lose health coverage.

* A Muslim doctor in Trump country.

New Florida law lets any resident challenge what’s taught in science classes.

* ‘Terrorism’ misspelled on bench at Indiana war memorial.

Mass Grave Of Dozens Of Tortured Black Men Found In Deceased KKK Leaders Estate. UPDATE: This was a fake story.

* Personally, I think teaching is improv.

* Against Gorsuch. Against Gorsuch. Against Gorsuch.

* Fascinating analysis: The newspaper offered no definitive answer, but the question itself points to a broader issue that tends to be underexplored in the context of wrongful convictions: what typically happens with respect to the underlying crime—and, by implication, the cause of justice and of public safety—when the person found legally responsible for committing it later is determined not to be.

A Brutal Intelligence: AI, Chess, and the Human Mind.

Privilege and responsibility are the words we call on when the dream of a society organized by individual merit runs up against the hard world of systematic and intractable inequality.

In Honoring Enslaved Laborers, Colleges Seek to Blunt the Force of Their Pro-Slavery Icons.

* Wikipedia as Text Adventure.

* The Hardest Job in the World. I’m like an X-Man with psychic attack powers. Time Management: A Guide for Busy Moms.

* Factionalism / small talk. All things carry yin and embrace yang. Look for the helpers.

Horror is the only film genre where women appear and speak as often as men.

* Never meet your heroes.

* And I consider this a canonical part of Zefram Cochrane’s backstory.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 3, 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.”

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* 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.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

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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

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Monday Morning

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* In local news: Dangerous Levels of ‘Erin Brockovich’ Chemical Found in Local Drinking Water.

Great little Wisconsin story about the hotel NFL teams stay at when they play the Packers.

* A brief history of Tetris.

To understand Charlotte’s rage, you have to understand its roads. A Homegirl Reflecting on Charlotte Uprising.

* Homeless and in graduate school.

The survey that Williams was part of, the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS), may be the first rigorous, detailed look at eviction in a major city. Interviewers like Williams spoke to about 1,100 Milwaukee-area tenants between 2009 and 2011, asking them a battery of questions on their housing history. The survey has already fundamentally changed researchers’ understanding of eviction, revealing the problem to be far larger than previously understood. 

The rise and rise of tabletop gaming.

It’s genuinely disturbing how easy it is to make a 269-269 electoral map, and how plausible that outcome seems.

Here’s Everything Donald Trump Has Promised to Do on His First Day as President. Seven Days of Donald Trump’s Lies. Scope of Trump’s falsehoods unprecedented for a modern presidential candidate. Donald Trump’s Week of Misrepresentations, Exaggerations and Half-Truths. The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally. Bruce vs. Trump. Trump’s jet vs. the taxpayers. Intel Officials Investigating Trump Advisor’s Ties To Putin Allies. Virtual media blackout on emerging Trump campaign scandal with Russia. Pregaming the debate. And again. And again. And again.

* Obama legacy project, take one.

* Know your 1%.

* From the right: “Against democracy.”

Roughly speaking, a white voter will lean left if she is “more college than church” and will lean right if she is “more church than college.”

* Democrats don’t actually want to win, exhibit 37,000.

* If you want a vision of the future:

 The Democrats have become the party, not of some specific ideological agenda, but of the traditional system as such. One of Obama’s major goals has been to rehabilitate the Republicans and force them to act as a worthy opponent rather than an implacable foe. This approach was naive and in many ways dangerous, as shown most vividly when Obama tried to “leverage” the Republicans’ unprecedented brinksmanship on the debt ceiling to engineer a “grand bargain” on the deficit, but it fits with the view that the system only works if there are two worthy opponents locked in an eternal struggle with no final victories. We can see something similar in Clinton’s controversial decision to treat Trump as an outlier rather than letting him tar the Republican brand as such. It works to her political disadvantage — showing that her centrist opportunism is weirdly principled in its own way — but from within her worldview, the most important thing is to restore the traditional balance of forces.

The situation we are in shows the intrinsic instability of party democracy. An eternal struggle between worthy opponents is not possible in practice. Eventually, one of the two teams is going to decide that they want to win in the strong sense, to defeat the opponent once and for all. And if that desire cannot be achieved immediately, it will inevitably lead to a long period where the old enemy is treated as a foe — as intrinsically evil and illegitimate. Within the American system, with its baroque structure of constraints and veto points, that will lead to a period where government is barely functional, because the natural tendency will be for the radicalized party to refuse to go along with the system until they have full control over it.

* Clinton’s policy team.

* This would be a better story if they were going to dive in to how creepy this would be: Geordi La Forge Has a Ship Full of Datas in This First Look at Star Trek: Waypoint.

* Tonight in Jungeland: Chris Christie’s Chances For Impeachment Just Went Way Up.

* On the Popular Acceptance of Inequality Due to Brute Luck.

Scientists have found a better version of the Dyson Sphere. Meet the Dyson Swarm, a vast mega-structure comprised of a plethora of solar panels.

* Mars! Still! Again!

* The circle of lfe.

Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal.

* A walking tour of New York’s surveillance network.

* The Stolen War: How corruption and fraud created a failed state in Iraq—and led directly to the rise of ISIS.

The Fallacies Of Neoliberal Protest.

* Please be true, please be true: Arrival Is a Scifi Masterpiece You Won’t Stop Thinking About.

“The Battle of Algiers” at 50: From 1960s Radicalism to the Classrooms of West Point.

Professor Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said a two-year study he led concluded that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you will pick up bacteria with it. Challenge accepted.

Cats sailed with Vikings to conquer the world, genetic study reveals. Trade between China and Rome in the ancient world, as tokened by a pair of corpses found in a London cemetery. (On that second one others say not so fast.)

“…Adding to the tragedy, is that this disaster went almost completely unnoticed by the public as later that day another, more “newsworthy” tragedy would befall the nation when beloved President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. The Staten Island Ferry Disaster Museum hopes to correct this oversight by preserving the memory of those lost in this tragedy and educating the public about the truth behind the only known giant octopus-ferry attack in the tri-state area.”

* Breaking Bad at a Bronx charter.

* The Three-Body Problem in, well, China.

A Law Professor Explains Why You Should Never Talk to Police.

A History of Native Americans Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

* The book in question is The Total Rush – or, to use its superior English title, Blitzed – which reveals the astonishing and hitherto largely untold story of the Third Reich’s relationship with drugs, including cocaine, heroin, morphine and, above all, methamphetamines (aka crystal meth), and of their effect not only on Hitler’s final days – the Führer, by Ohler’s account, was an absolute junkie with ruined veins by the time he retreated to the last of his bunkers – but on the Wehrmacht’s successful invasion of France in 1940. Published in Germany last year, where it became a bestseller, it has since been translated into 18 languages, a fact that delights Ohler, but also amazes him.

* A brief history of gang violence in Chicago.

This is what word processing machines, word processing software, and word processing as an office management strategy all have common: they are techniques for providing the essential labor required to produce texts while also concealing that labor, thereby generating the impression that the command to produce a document can itself produce documents.

Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest is a start, but what if pro athletes refused to play? Students Are Pulling a Kaepernick All Over America — and Being Threatened for It.

* And if you want a vision of the future: They’re gonna be submerging this dude in water and taking photos every 5 years until he dies.

Thursday Morning!

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* A major new report suggests serious underemployment among liberal arts majors, affecting as many as 50% of recent graduates in some majors.

* Liu Cixin has an essay on Death’s End up at Tor: Chinese Literature and Apocalyptic SF: Some Notes on Death’s End (and has a review up already as well). My review probably won’t be published for another few weeks, so I’ll just say again: just buy it!

* Once more, with feeling: Student evaluations are useless.

* CFP: The Job Market. CFP: Loanwords to Live With. I know some of the editors of the Loanwords project and I think it looks really exciting. CFC: A Marxist Game.

* Congratulations to Claudia Rankine on her MacArthur grant.

* The New Republic reviews Alice Kaplan’s new book on The Stranger.

* David Fahrenthold’s reporting on Trump’s foundation has yielded a major scoop, evidence of self-dealing in public documents that would appear to be trivially against the law. Even wilder: this is their defense.

* America: taste the rainbow.

* Instapundit has been suspended from Twitter for a tweet about the Charlotte protests. The tweet in question seems pretty indefensible to me, though Reynolds tries at the link, and regardless of its defensibility suspending him for it seems likely to have very bad consequences both for Twitter and for left academics on a pragmatic level. 9:04 AM UPDATE: He’s already back on.

“Actuaries shamelessly, although often in good faith, understate pension obligations by as much as 50 percent,” said Jeremy Gold, an actuary and economist, in a speech last year at the M.I.T. Center for Finance and Policy. “Their clients want them to.”

Seven charts that speak volumes about the opioid epidemic.

* Since the dawn of time, man has fought the rat.

From Back to the Future II to Stephen King’s saving-JFK novel 11/23/63, the lesson one learns again and again is that trying to improve the world through time travel is a fool’s game, creating far worse problems than whatever you’d hoped to fix. Most of time travel fiction these days is one way or another designed to help us swallow the bitter pill that this life is the one we’re stuck with, that trying to make things better will only backfire.

Cut-throat academia leads to ‘natural selection of bad science’, claims study.

* Something has gone wrong with our atheists.

The bear who fought in World War II.

* Stranger Things spinoff greenlit.

* Going to go ahead and greenlight this one too: Family flee home after finding spiders which can cause four-hour erection followed by death in ASDA bananas.

AI will eliminate 6 percent of jobs in five years, says report. Yes, even yours!

Greenland’s huge annual ice loss is even worse than thought.

A Massive Sinkhole Just Dumped Radioactive Waste Into Florida Water.

* In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups, the police and the police.

* Teaching the controversy: “Should police officers be required to provide medical aid to people they’ve shot?”

* Slate vs. Stone re: Snowden.

* The Internet and the end of porn.

* Know your white supremacy.

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* Communists are everywhere!

* Contradictions of Capital and Care.

* The end, one hopes, of Anthony Weiner.

* “Karen Gillan Promises There’s a Reason Her Jumanji Character Is Dressed Like That.”

* Been there: Child’s Loose Grasp On Balloon Only Thing Between Peace And Anarchy At Restaurant.

School lunch worker forced to throw away student’s hot meal decides to quit.

* Save the Day, from Joss Whedon.

* Take that, every authority figure in my personal history! A new study finds that fidgeting — the toe-tapping, foot-wagging and other body movements that annoy your co-workers — is in fact good for your health.

* Political correctness run amok.

These are the most lewd-sounding town names in each state.

* And now, truly, more than ever: “Tonight the Character of Death Will Be Played by Brad Pitt.”

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Tuesday Links! Just for You

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* My review won’t appear in The New Inquiry for a couple weeks, but Liu Cixin’s Death’s End is finally out today. I read it this summer and it’s great. Go get it!

* A local talk I’ll be giving this Saturday afternoon at the Milwaukee Public Library: 150 Years of H.G. Wells in Milwaukee.

* Elsewhere on the Milwaukee Public Library beat! Milwaukee Public Library to forgive fines for patrons who visit the library.

* CFP: Flannery O’Connor and Popular Culture. CFP: Modern Fiction Studies: The Anthropocene: Fiction and the End(s) of Human Ecologies. CFP: Essays on the Evil Dead Anthology. CFP: ICFA 2017.

Star Trek: Discovery Has Been Delayed Until May 2017. I never saw how they’d make January, even before it was nearly October and they didn’t have a cast yet.

‘It’s like hitting a painting with a fish’: can computer analysis tell us anything new about literature?

Good News Liberal-Arts Majors: Your Peers Probably Won’t Outearn You Forever.

* Professor Cottom’s Graduate School Guidance.docx

How to Do a Better Job of Searching for Diversity.

Too Much and Too Little: A History of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.

With outcomes so uneven, it is no wonder that MFAs are the bastard children of English departments.

* Victory at LIU.

* Saint Louis University must pay $367,000 in damages to a former professor who alleged she was denied tenure because of her gender. That’s what a Missouri court decided late last week following a trial by jury. The university says it’s “disappointed” in the verdict and is reviewing its options.

Dozens of higher education institutions in New York state will stop asking applicants whether they have past criminal convictions.

What does it cost to run a department at UCLA for a year? or, who will pay the salary of the English department?

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This book is dedicated to the Soviet Space Dogs, who played a crucial part in the Soviet Space program. These homeless dogs, plucked from the streets of Moscow, were selected because they fitted the program’s criteria: weighing no more than 15 pounds, measuring no more than 14 inches in length, robust, photogenic and with a calm temperament.

New York’s Attorney General Has Opened An Inquiry into Donald Trump’s Charity.

Haitian-American Roxane Gay Becomes First Black Woman Writer for Marvel Comics.

* From 2014: The Future According to Stanisław Lem.

* Parenting and moral panic, 2016.

If You Change a Baby’s Diaper in Arizona, You Can Now Be Convicted of Child Molestation.

* “Very pessimistic.” The idea that they could actually somehow manage to blow the lead they’d built up over the summer is horrifying.

* It Sure Seems Like Hillary Clinton’s Tech Guy Asked Reddit for Email Advice.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Defendants who can’t afford bail more likely to plead guilty as a way out, studies show.

Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester. After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint’s power to sue. WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer). 37 Years in Solitary Confinement and Even the State Can’t Explain Why. Nation’s largest police union endorses Trump. And right here in Milwaukee: An Inmate Died Of Thirst In A Jail Run By A Loudly Pro-Trump Sheriff.

* A Prison Literature Syllabus.

* The total U.S. budgetary cost of war since 2001 is $4.79 trillion, according to a report released this week from Brown University’s Watson Institute. That’s the highest estimate yet.

How the failed politics of “humanitarian intervention” were born in 1980s Afghanistan.

Neither Zuckerberg nor the Pope, but international digital socialism.

* Twilight for C.M. Punk.

* The Fall of Chyna.

* Romeo and Juliet in Wisconsin.

The strange story of how internet superfans reclaimed the insult ‘trash.’

“I await an apology from Chancellor Dirks, and Dean Hesse,” explained Hadweh. “The university threw me under the bus, and publicly blamed me, without ever even contacting me. It seems that because I’m Palestinian studying Palestine, I’m guilty until proven innocent. To defend the course, we had to mobilize an international outcry of scholars and students to stand up for academic freedom. This never should have happened.”

I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim—and Then I Promptly Went Broke.

* The Woman Who Is Allergic to Water.

* Feral Cats and Ecological Disaster.

* Never talk to journalists.

The name of the character in the excerpt, GBW Ponce, comes actually from the Ponzi scheme, among other things. There’s a Thomas Frank piece that I once read somewhere (I think it was Harper’s), where he said that civilization is basically a gigantic ponzi scheme. With our obsession with data and with predicting the future, it’s as if we were trying to cancel the future and its uncertainties, in order to make the present feel safer. The IMF has projections for the growth of EVERY economy on the planet which stretch to two-three-four and even more years: why let reality run its course when we can model it and predict it, right? So, the idea behind that character was that by “scientifically” predicting every inch of life, it’s as if we borrowed against our unknown future to live the present with fewer uncertainties and anxieties. But that’s precisely what causes more anxiety, this idea of a life that could fit entirely in an Excel spreadsheet.

Moderator Announces Topics for First Presidential Debate.

* Definitely, definitely, definitely aliens.

All 314 Bruce Springsteen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. Shame to get all the way through 312 and then swap #1 and #2…

* Elsewhere in the numerical sublime: Every He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figure, ranked.

* Teach the controversy! “Peter Thiel Would Make A Great Supreme Court Justice.”

* Booze against pot.

The Bonkers Real-Life Plan to Drain the Mediterranean and Merge Africa and Europe.

Someone Removed The Music From ‘Dancing In The Street’ And I Can’t Stop Laughing.

* Run it like a sandwich: After Texas high school builds $60-million stadium, rival district plans one for nearly $70 million.

The luxury suites in modern stadiums are reminders that capitalist society values elite consumption over public enjoyment.

Class size matters a lot, research shows.

Is Artificial Intelligence Permanently Inscrutable?

* Page B13: Arctic death spiral: Icebreakers reach North Pole as sea ice disintegrates.

* Don’t tweet your heroes.

* And never forget that the Monkees are DCU canon.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 20, 2016 at 8:32 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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