Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the Village

Wunderkind

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 12, 2013 at 9:56 am

Test Results Indicate Nation’s Journalists Do Less Than One-Half the Basic Background Research They Ought To

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Kevin Drum has the startling details.

In other words, these numbers in isolation don’t tell us anything at all about whether the vocabulary skills of our children are weak or strong. It’s like saying someone who scored 100 out of 200 on an IQ test must be a moron. Unfortunately, the reporter was flatly ignorant of all this, so she simply hauled out standard hysterical template No. 4 and decided that the test results represented “severe shortcomings in the nation’s reading education” even though they show no such thing.

Wednesday Links

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DAVID BROOKS: Okay, so our act starts with us inflating a giant internet bubble. Then that collapses, taking the country’s economy with it, just as we massively cut taxes on millionaires because, we say, if we don’t the government will have too much money. Right after that we blow off warnings about terrorism and let 3,000 Americans get slaughtered. We use that as a chance to lie the U.S. into invading a country that had nothing to do with the attack, killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning millions into refugees. In the middle of all that we borrow torture techniques from the Inquisition and use them on people in secret sites around the planet. Then we make billions off another financial bubble, the biggest in human history, and do nothing as it collapses, plunging the world into the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression. To fix that we open up the national bank vault and shovel out money as fast as possible to all the criminals who made it happen in the first place. Then—as the amazing finale—we refuse to prosecute anyone for that, for the war, or for torture, and we start killing U.S. citizens with flying death robots.

[LONG PAUSE]

AGENT: …That’s a hell of an act. What do you call it?

DAVID BROOKS: The Aristocrats!

* Male privilege watch: For anyone who’s unfamiliar with her plight, Sarkeesian wanted to start a project to cover a subject that’s not exactly radical: the portrayal of women in video games. Her YouTube account, in which she explains the project, was flooded with comments equating her to the KKK, calling her a “fucking hypocrite slut,” comparing the project to an act of war, and flagging the video as promoting hatred or violence. Her Wikipedia page was vandalized, her picture replaced with pornographic images, and people tried to get the Kickstarter proposal Sarkeesian was using to raise money to support the project shut down. More from MeFi.

* To whit.

“The ability to see him as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear,” he said. “He literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building him up and just when he gets confident, we break him down again.”

In the new Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones will suffer. His best friend will be kidnapped. He’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape him.

“He is literally turned into a cornered animal,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a huge step in his evolution: he’s forced to either fight back or die.”

Patent for a wristwatch that tells you how much longer you could expect to live.

Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises. Inconceivable!

* Wes Anderson: genius! Wes Anderson: fraud!

* People say M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” is an impossible space, but nothing is impossible with LEGO.

* North Dakotan communists rename racist mascots, endorse the existence of property tax.

* First as farce, then as…?: Romney Touts Presidential Salary Plan That Was Literally A Saturday Night Live Skit.

Goodfellas‘s famously ambiguous ending finally resolves: Henry Hill has died.

* And the kids are all right: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth. Update: Or not.

Thursday Night Links

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* I just want to hear him deny it: Chris Christie Denies Falling Asleep at Springsteen Show.

* Top 10 dying industries in the United States. Top 10 fastest growing industries in the United States.

* But the preferences of developed, aging polities — first Japan, now the United States and Europe — are obvious to a dispassionate observer. Their overwhelming priority is to protect the purchasing power of incumbent creditors. That’s it. That’s everything. All other considerations are secondary.

* How killing by remote control has changed the way we fight. More here.

* I know some people who have this: Witzelsucht (the Germans just have the best words for everything, don’t they?) is a brain dysfunction that causes all sorts of compulsive silliness: bad jokes, corny puns, wacky behavior. It’s also sometimes called the “joking disease,” and as Taiwanese researchers phrased it in a 2005 report, it’s a “tendency to tell inappropriate and poor jokes.”

* Details on the coming Arrested Development revival on Netflix.

* Tumblr of the day: Context-Free Patent Art.

* Avengers vs Avengers XXXI’ve just seen the film… the real film, the proper film. It’s quite possible that the porn parody will pass the Bechdel test, where the real film doesn’t…

* Drew Goddard talks to AICN about Cabin in the Woods.

* Back to the Future: The Pitch Meeting.

* Hey, Everyone — Stop Taking This Picture!

* Cheap theatrics, but okay, you got me: “President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18, 2012.”

* Actually existing media bias. (1)

* Actually existing media bias. (2)

* http://www.yourlogicalfallacyis.com/.

* In a 2008 study, Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl, now of the University of Maryland, found that young adults who practiced a stripped-down, less cartoonish version of the game also showed improvement in a fundamental cognitive ability known as “fluid” intelligence: the capacity to solve novel problems, to learn, to reason, to see connections and to get to the bottom of things. The implication was that playing the game literally makes people smarter.

Eric Rabkin is doing an open course on fantasy and science fiction. Details at the link.

* And the strange case of Vatican v. Nuns.

The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”

The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care.

Links

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* Teju Cole has expanded his White Savior Industrial Complex tweets into a full piece at the Atlantic.

* Erik Loomis vs. the MLA. Also on the Erik Loomis tip: Notes from a Changing Climate.

* Procedural reasons SCOTUS may punt on health care. Personally I’d be very surprised if we don’t get a definitive ruling this summer.

* “Which dystopian novel is it where thousands of surveillance robots constantly monitor us from the stratosphere?” Send in the Drones.

* Pop! Goes the Law School Bubble.

* Wired profiles James Erwin, whose Reddit comments landed him in Hollywood.

* A résumé filled with grievous errors in the period 1996–2006 is not only a non-problem for further advances in the world of consensus; it is something of a prerequisite. Our intellectual powers that be not only forgive the mistakes; they require them. You must have been wrong back then in order to have a chance to be taken seriously today; only by having gotten things wrong can you demonstrate that you are trustworthy, a member of the team. (Those who got things right all along, on the other hand, might be dubbed “premature market skeptics”—people who doubted the consensus before the consensus acknowledged it was all right to doubt.)

* Illinois has run out (!) of financial aid.

* Is the Portal to Hell Opening Up Under Wisconsin Right This Very Minute? Single-serving website in 3… 2… 1…

Lots of Friday Night Links

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* PopMatters launches their five-week-long Joss Whedon spotlight today. I’m supposed to have something on zombies in Firefly and Dollhouse towards the end of this, so watch for that…

* Should Gov. Walker accomplish his goal, he will have stoked a level of union anger that I very much suspect will become a key driver in an Obama victory in 2012. He will also have prompted the nation’s unions to work together for a common objective– a feat that would have seemed impossible just one month ago. The column begins with the new Rasmussen (!) poll showing how bad things are getting for Walker in Wisconsin.

* ‘Ongoing Reports on the Republican Massacre of Parody and Common Decency’: eliminating money for poison control centers.

* Have we reached Peak Beck?

* Unsolving the city: BLDGBLOG’s interview with China Miéville.

* The wages of sin: A man accused of being a large-scale meth dealer may lose his beloved collection of nearly 19,000 comic books.

Blunt Assessment: The Need for Legal Weed in Philadelphia.

* Best job report in three years, but. Could the jobs report be understating progress? Chris Hayes: Why Washington doesn’t care about jobs. Charting the collapse of male earnings.

* Who’s afraid of the Tea Party?

* Eight GOP Senators Reignite Filibuster War With Blanket Threat To Block All Bills They Don’t Like.

* You had me at one of the fathers of nuclear weapons wrote science fiction about super-intelligent dolphins helping to overcome the Cold War.

* Same sex marriage in the Free State. Great news!

* Nemesis watch: James Franco Straddles Two Roles at Yale.

* How Facebook works:

The biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don’t know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.

There’s more there on gender and Twitter, too:

According to the research, there are more women on Twitter than men, women tweet about the same rate as men, but men’s tweets are followed by both sexes much more than expected by chance.

* And 1 in 3 Art Students Can’t Tell Famous Paintings from Paintings by Monkeys.

Morally Odious Morons Monsters

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“Dean of the Washington Press Corps.” David Broder says Obama should secure his second term by invading Iran to fix the economy.

With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve. 

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.

Thank goodness he’s not suggesting the president incite a war to get reelected.