Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the wisdom of markets

Saturday Morning Post-SFRA Links! All! Tabs! Closed!

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* SFRA is over, but ICFA season has only just begun! The theme for ICFA 2019 is “Politics and Conflicts” and the special guests are Mark Bould and G. Willow Wilson.

* And keep saving your pennies for SFRA 19 in Hawaii! Stay tuned for more information soon.

* Ben Robertson put up his SFRA talk on the MCU and abstraction as well as his opening statement for the Avengers vs. Jedi roundtable (which coined the already ubiquitous term “naustalgia”). My opening statement was this image, more or less…

* Other piping hot SFRA content at #SFRA18! It was a great conference.

The Economics of Science Fiction.

* A book I’m in won a Locus Award: Check out Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler! Congratulations to Alexandra and Mimi.

* Black Women and the Science Fiction Genre: an interview with Octavia E. Butler from 1986.

* CFP: TechnoLogics: Power and Resistance. CFP: Childhoods of Color.

The early career academic: learning to say no.

The Humanities as We Know Them Are Doomed. Now What? Jobs Will Save the Humanities.

* Revised Course Evaluation Questions.

Essentially total victory for John McAdams over Marquette at the WI Supreme Court. I don’t talk about “Marquette stuff” on here because of the slippery nature of my status as an agent of the university, but noted for history. More here. Marquette “agrees to comply” but doesn’t concede wrongdoing.

“The undisputed facts show that the university breached its contract with Dr. McAdams when it suspended him for engaging in activity protected by the contract’s guarantee of academic freedom,” states the ruling, written by Justice Daniel Kelly.

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union. So good.

Since it isn’t, a simple question arises: where’s all the fucking money? Piketty’s student Gabriel Zucman wrote a powerful book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations (2015), which supplies the answer: it’s hidden by rich people in tax havens. According to calculations that Zucman himself says are conservative, the missing money amounts to $8.7 trillion, a significant fraction of all planetary wealth. It is as if, when it comes to the question of paying their taxes, the rich have seceded from the rest of humanity.

* If Elon Musk can save the trapped Thai soccer team though I’ll definitely forgive him for everything else, for at least a couple weeks. In the meantime… 

* Trump’s ethnic cleansing operation is blowing past boundaries that would have been considered utterly sacrosanct only a few years ago. The Trump administration just admitted it doesn’t know how many kids are still separated from their parents. “In hundreds of cases, Customs agents deleted the initial records in which parents and children were listed together as a family with a “family identification number,” according to two officials at the Department of Homeland Security.” The teenager told police all about his gang, MS-13. In return, he was slated for deportation and marked for death. Toddlers representing themselves in court. USCIS is Starting a Denaturalization Task Force. Trump’s Travel Ban Has Torn Apart Hundreds of Families. Trump’s catch-and-detain policy snares many who have long called U.S. home. At 9 He Lost His Mom to Gang Violence. At 12 He Lost His Dad to Trump’s Immigration Policies. After being released from custody in El Paso on Sunday, the parents have now learned the whereabouts of their children, a shelter director said. But there are more hurdles before they’re reunited. Lawful permanent resident freed nearly three weeks after arrest. Sick Child Couldn’t Walk After U.S. Took Him From His Mom. Painful memories of Michigan for immigrant girl, 7, reunited with mom. The Awful Plight of Parents Deported Without Their Children. From behind bars, a father searches for one of the 2,000 kids still separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Dad, I’m Never Going to See You Again. Feds failing to put migrant parents in touch with separated kids. Former Seattle Chief Counsel sentenced to 4 years in prison for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft scheme. “At night, Andriy sometimes wakes up screaming in the bunk bed he shares with his mother and baby brother.” “My Whole Heart Is There.” “My son is not the same.” “Are You Alone Now?” There was a pilot program. Transport Fees. A Migrant Mother Had to Pay $576.20 to Be Reunited With Her 7-Year-Old Son. Letters from the Disappeared. Listen. Border Agent Threatened to Put Immigrant’s Daughter Up for Adoption, ACLU Says. A New Border Crisis. Separated Parents Are Failing Asylum Screenings Because They’re So Heartbroken. A Twitter Bot Has Joined the Immigration Battle to Fight ICE With Facts. A Twitter Bot Is Posting the Names and Locations of Immigrant Detention Centers Across the U.S. Over the course of three weeks, a major U.S. defense contractor detained dozens of immigrant children inside a vacant Phoenix office building with no kitchen and only a few toilets. The Immigrant Children’s Shelters Near You. Supreme Court just wrote a presumption of white racial innocence into the Constitution. The Trump administration is not answering basic questions about separation of migrant families. Immigration Attorney Says ICE Broke Her Foot, Locked Her Up. This is what Trump and ICE are doing to parents and their children. A practice so cruel that the United States ended it for a quarter-century. It’s only going to get worse. Torn apart. Don’t you know that we hate you people? (Only) 17 states sue Trump administration over family separations. News outlets join forces to track down children separated from their parents by the U.S. We might not even have ever known. New 1,000-Bed ICE Lockup Set to Open on Site of Notorious ‘Tent City’ in South Texas. Potemkin camps. Research suggests that the family of Anne Frank attempted to escape to the U.S., but their efforts were thwarted by America’s restrictive immigration policy. Exclusive: Trump administration plan would bar people who enter illegally from getting asylum. We’re Going to Abolish ICE. Woman Climbs Statue of Liberty to Protest Family Separations, Island Shut Down. How to Abolish ICE. And just for fun: ICE Training Officers in Military-Grade Weapons, Chemical Agents. Dogsitting.

The Central American Child Refugee Crisis: Made in U.S.A.

I’ve Been Reporting on MS-13 for a Year. Here Are the 5 Things Trump Gets Most Wrong.

* I feel pretty confident the buried story here is that Trump blackmailed Anthony Kennedy by threatening to destroy his son’s life; I suppose it’ll all come out during Truth and Reconciliation in the 2040s. Anyway this is just about the final end of America, buckle up.

* Down we go.

* All of American history fits in the life span of only three presidents.

Trump Confidant Floats Crazy RBG-For-Merrick-Garland SCOTUS Swap. I am a huge proponent of this deal but you’ll have to confirm Garland first. You understand.

* How democracy ends.

* There’s no returning to a golden age of American democracy that never existed. Donald Trump, the resistance, and the limits of normcore politics.

* What can we learn from 1968?

* Trump Inauguration Day rioting charges against 200+ people abruptly dropped by U.S.

* A major Republican leader in the House has been accused of facilitating the sexual abuse of huge numbers of children in his previous career as a wrestling coach. No, not him, this is a new guy.

* Clown car.

Farmers in America are killing themselves in staggering numbers.

Been Down So Long It Looks Like Debt to Me.

* In the richest country in all of human history.

* A country of empty storefronts.

* $117,000/year is now considered low income in San Francisco. Class and America.

* How Flint poisoned its people.

* The thing about peace.

* ‘A way of monetizing poor people’: How private equity firms make money offering loans to cash-strapped Americans. With special appearance by Obama Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner!

* Onward to Venezuela!

* Sure, why not.

* Twilight of UW.

* Rosa Parks’s Arrested Warrant.

The Beautiful, Ugly, and Possessive Hearts of Star Wars.

* Every parent’s secret suspicion confirmed: She was worried how a ‘teacher of the year’ treated her 5-year-old son. So she made a secret recording.

Lows of 80 degrees and higher, now commonplace, were once very rare. They occurred just 26 times from 1872 to 1999 or about once every five years. Since 2000, they’ve happened 37 times or twice every year on average. Probably nothing.

It’s So Hot Out, It’s Slowing Down the Speed of Stock Trades.

* Flood insurance is completely broken.

Companies buying back their own shares is the only thing keeping the stock market afloat right now.

* @jack is a collaborator.

* Facebook destroyed online publishing, then quit the business.

The US Left Has Only Four Tendencies.

Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren’t Taught to Read.

* Doesn’t seem like a great sign, no.

* A great ideas as long as you know nothing about either writing or computers.

Turns out that’s an easy question to answer, thanks to MIT research affiliate, and longtime-critic of automated scoring, Les Perelman. He’s designed what you might think of as robo-graders’ kryptonite, to expose what he sees as the weakness and absurdity of automated scoring. Called the Babel (“Basic Automatic B.S. Essay Language”) Generator, it works like a computerized Mad Libs, creating essays that make zero sense, but earn top scores from robo-graders.

To demonstrate, he calls up a practice question for the GRE exam that’s graded with the same algorithms that actual tests are. He then enters three words related to the essay prompt into his Babel Generator, which instantly spits back a 500-word wonder, replete with a plethora of obscure multisyllabic synonyms:

“History by mimic has not, and presumably never will be precipitously but blithely ensconced. Society will always encompass imaginativeness; many of scrutinizations but a few for an amanuensis. The perjured imaginativeness lies in the area of theory of knowledge but also the field of literature. Instead of enthralling the analysis, grounds constitutes both a disparaging quip and a diligent explanation.”

“It makes absolutely no sense,” he says, shaking his head. “There is no meaning. It’s not real writing.”

But Perelman promises that won’t matter to the robo-grader. And sure enough, when he submits it to the GRE automated scoring system, it gets a perfect score: 6 out of 6, which according to the GRE, means it “presents a cogent, well-articulated analysis of the issue and conveys meaning skillfully.”

Winners of the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.

* Pruitt 2024!

* Utter lawlessness.

In 1934, an American professor urged that Jews be civil — to the Nazis.

* California reconsiders felony murder.

* Scholarship for dark times.

William Shatner kicks off July 4th by implying that UW-Madison & Penn should consider firing 2 kid lit professors for disagreeing with him about whether it’s appropriate to note racism in Little House of the Prairie.

* Six decades after being told her mother was dead, she found her — 80 minutes away and 100 years old.

Between 1984 and the mid-1990s, before better HIV drugs effectively rendered her obsolete, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of dying people, many of them gay men who had been abandoned by their families. She buried more than three dozen of them herself, after their families refused to claim their bodies. For many of those people, she is now the only person who knows the location of their graves.

* How Universities Facilitate Far-Right Groups’ Harassment of Students and Faculty.

* Video games and fatphobia.

* A location scout’s view of California.

* Not all heroes wear capes: How an EPA worker stole $900K by pretending to be a CIA agent.

How Pixar’s Open Sexism Ruined My Dream Job (Guest Column).

* Reality Winner pleads guilty.

* When copyright goes wrong, EU edition.

* Academic minute: Geoengineering.

Anglo-Saxon Studies, Academia and White Supremacy.

* The Millennial Socialists Are Coming. How Ocasio-Cortez Beat the Machine. A Conversation with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fights the Power. Next: Julia Salazar Is Looking to Land the Next Blow Against the New York Democratic Machine. The socialists are coming! But huge, if true.

The clearest lesson, which holds now as it did then, is that to rearrange international order in an egalitarian way, you need an egalitarian and internationally oriented domestic politics in the richest and most powerful countries. Otherwise, your best-laid plans can be scuttled by something like what happened then—the neoliberal revolt of capital, the crushing of the labor unions, the turn to the construction of the current international regime of relatively free flow of goods, services, and capital, but not people. Today’s nationalist revolts, most notably the catastrophe in the United States, are another body blow to progressive internationalist aspirations. Ironically, they are directed in part against some of the pieties of the neoliberal order—although certainly not in any constructive or progressive direction.

A Subreddit Dedicated to Thanos Is Preparing to Ban Half of Its Users at Random.

* lol

* Hard pass, thanks.

* The UK is committing national suicide to satisfy a laughably illegitimate referendum that never should have happened in the first place and no one is going to stop it.

Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind.

* If there is hope, it lies with the Juggalos.

* Luke was a Boomer.

It is tragic. I’m not a method actor, but one of the techniques a method actor will use is to try and use real-life experiences to relate to whatever fictional scenario he’s involved in. The only thing I could think of, given the screenplay that I read, was that I was of the Beatles generation—‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘peace and love’.

I thought at that time, when I was a teenager: ‘By the time we get in power, there will be no more war, there will be no racial discrimination, and pot will be legal.’ So I’m one for three. When you think about it, [my generation is] a failure. The world is unquestionably worse now than it was then.

* The first superhero movie is more than 100 years old.

* Rest in peace, Harlan Ellison. Rest in peace, Steve Ditko.

* Anatomy of a superhero.

NASA’s Policies to Protect the Solar System From Contamination Are Out of Date. We’re not going to is the thing.

Space is full of dirty, toxic grease, scientists reveal.

Man suspected of killing 21 co-workers by poisoning their food.

* There could be as many as 7000 tigers living in American backyards.

“When I Was Alive”: William T. Vollmann’s Climate Letter to the Future.

* Remembering Google Reader, five years on.

* Very cool: If you use Gmail, know that “human third parties” are reading your email.

* A classic edition of “our brains don’t work”: that’s because your freaking visual system just lied to you about HOW LONG TIME IS in order to cover up the physical limitations of those chemical camera orbs you have on the front of your face.

* Sports corner! The Warriors Are Making A Mockery Of The NBA Salary Cap. A Literary Lineup for the World Cup. We Timed Every Game. World Cup Stoppage Time Is Wildly Inaccurate. Catching “the world’s most prolific criminal fixer of soccer matches.”

* Physics says that our perception of smoothly flowing time is a cosmic accident. So why do we think the future always comes after the past?

* A Dunbar number for place: At any point in life, people spend their time in 25 places.

* Some monkeys in Panama may have just stumbled into the Stone Age. Don’t do it, guys, it’s not worth the hassle.

I was basically my own editor for 25 years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And then the publisher decided he didn’t like what he saw.

* Life as a professional dungeon master.

* Naked Japanese hermit forced back into civilization after 29 years on deserted island.

* An Oral History of ASSSSCAT.

* Peyton Reed (director of Ant-Man and the Wasp) remembers writing Back to the Future: The Ride.

* The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA, July 7, 1978.

* Readystolen.

* Someone in the club tonight is stealing my ideas.

* The arc of history is long but seriously they really took their time with this.

* What should we read if we want to be happy?

* And Incredibles 3 looks wild. Don’t miss Old Man Incredible! I’m here for it.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 7, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning After ICFA Links!

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* Two poems from the great Jaimee Hills: “Frosted Palm” and “The Books in the Bushes.”

* ICYMI: My #ICFA39 talk, “Star Trek after Discovery.” Building on my AUFS post from last week, and it’s already inspired an expansion at r/DaystromInstitute.

* Have you played this new gritty realistic fantasy game?

* How does Neil Gaiman work?

* How vulture capitalists ate Toys R Us.

* The constitutional crisis is always arriving and never arrived. It’s been here at least twenty years.

* The market can’t solve a massacre.

And so in schools across the country, Americans make their children participate in Active Shooter drills. These drills, which can involve children as young as kindergartners hiding in closets and toilet stalls, and can even include simulated shootings, are not just traumatic and of dubious value. They are also an educational enterprise in their own right, a sort of pedagogical initiation into what is normal and to be expected. Very literally, Americans teach their children to understand the intrusion of rampaging killers with assault rifles as a random force of nature analogous to a fire or an earthquake. This seems designed to foster in children a consciousness that is at once hypervigilant and desperate, but also morbid and resigned—in other words, to mold them into perfectly docile citizen-consumers. And if children reject this position and try to take action, some educational authorities will attempt to discipline their resistance out of them, as in Texas, where one school district has threatened to penalize students who walk out in anti-gun violence actions, weaponizing the language of “choices” and “consequences” to literally quash “any type of protest or awareness.”

All rise and no fall: how Civilization reinforces a dangerous myth.

* Rethinking dehumanization.

There Are No Guardrails on Our Privacy Dystopia.

On misogynoir: citation, erasure, and plagiarism.

ICE Spokesman Resigns, Saying He Could No Longer Spread Falsehoods for Trump Administration.

* The U.S. separates a mother and daughter fleeing violence in Congo.

James Mattis is linked to a massive corporate fraud and nobody wants to talk about it.

* Amazing that Trump’s personal aide was fired by the White House while being investigated and then immediately rehired by the campaign and it’s like a C story at best.

* The A story.

How America’s prisons are fueling the opioid epidemic.

* The rise of the prison state.

Trump administration studies seeking the death penalty for drug dealers.

Former Black Panther Herman Wallace dies days after judge overturns murder conviction that saw him serve 41 years in solitary confinement.

* Oconomowoc schools impose limits on ‘privilege’ discussions after parents complain.

* With a tightening labor market, CEOs are chasing after the same workers they once derided as unemployable.

America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just Beginning.

* The YouTube Kids app has been suggesting a load of conspiracy videos to children.

* The missing Obama millions.

* What America looked like before the EPA.

Supreme Court Can’t Wait to Kill Youth Climate Lawsuit.

Rapid Arctic warming and melting ice are increasing the frequency of blizzards in the Northeast, study finds.

* YouTube mini-lecture from Adam Kotsko: Trump as mutation, or parody, of neoliberalism. And some more Kotsko content: Superheroes, Science Fiction, and Social Transformation.

The Rise of Dismal Science Fiction.

* The Science Fiction of Roe v. Wade.

* Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities: A Collection of Space Futures. A response.

* Against popular culture.

David Foster Wallace and the Horror of Neuroscience.

* Neither utopia nor apocalypse? Somedays I feel like both is the most likely outcome of all, a heaven for them and a hell for the rest of us.

Who Owns the Robots? Automation and Class Struggle in the 21st Century.

* Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking. His last goodbye.

* Facing Disaster: The Great Challenges Framework.

‘Picked Apart by Vultures’: The Last Days of Stan Lee.

For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.

Why museum professionals need to talk about Black Panther.

PSA: Marvel’s Black Panther Animated Series is Streaming for Free on YouTube.

* Hate spree killings in Austin.

* Wakanda Forever.

* Thus Spake Black Bolt.

* To Catch a Predator. You know it’s a bleak story when the NYPD are the good guys.

The radical vision of Wages for Housework.

* Happy International Women’s Day.

* Hundreds of Missouri’s 15-year-old brides may have married their rapists.

If NYT printed the *actual, real-life* sentiments of today’s conservative masses, it would print a bunch of paranoid, Fox-generated fairy tales and belligerent expressions of xenophobia, misogyny, racism, and proud, anti-intellectual ignorance. 

* Surveillance in everything: A US university is tracking students’ locations to predict future dropouts.

* Dialectics of the superhero: 1, 2.

* #MAaEEoOGFwNCBA.

* Pew pew.

* Huge, if true: Studying for a humanities PhD can make you feel cut off from humanity.

* From the archives: The Racial Injustice of Big-Time College Sports.

* Podcast minute: Screw It, We’re Just Gonna Talk about Spider-Man and The Beatles. The first is new and the second is old but both are worth checking out.

* Goodbye, cruel world.

* And I’m not a lazy home owner. I’m a goddamn hero.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 18, 2018 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thursday Links!

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Two days before she died, Nina Riggs made a request: Don’t be afraid to read my book.

Hell Is Empty And All the Hedge Fund Managers Are At The Bellagio.

* Indeed, this kind of repression is perhaps more sinister because it ropes you into participating in your own silencing. You become the policeman in your own head. When considering whether to attend a demonstration, the powerful internal suggestion is that, even if you do everything “right”—even if you are being peaceful but just happen to be in the same vicinity as someone who isn’t—you could get caught up in a costly legal battle and face serious fines, even jail time. Your entire life could be turned upside down. You might be left alone. But it’s impossible to know—and the only way to be sure is to stay home. You still have the “freedom” to choose, but fully exercising that freedom amounts to playing Russian roulette with an entity all too eager to take that freedom away if you get caught standing near a smashed window. So, really, how much freedom do you have?

The government is spying on journalists to find leakers.

* Not exactly happily, I found this AAUP unpacking of procedural issues in the recent John McAdams decision pretty persuasive.

* An oral history of “The Inner Light.” The second-best discussion of “The Inner Light” you’ll see this year!

Monopoly vs. the Nazis: How British intelligence used board games to thwart the Germans.

How Jalada Is a “Revolution Uniting African Literature.”

Five current and former U.S. officials said they are aware of classified intelligence suggesting there was some sort of private encounter between Trump and his aides and the Russian envoy, despite a heated denial from Sessions, who has already come under fire for failing to disclose two separate contacts with Kislyak. Congress investigating another possible Sessions-Kislyak meeting. Here’s why the feds are looking at Jared Kushner. More. Sorry. On Kushner, There’s No Innocent Explanation. They’re also looking into Trump’s personal attorney.

* Meanwhile.

Trump Exempts Entire Senior Staff From White House Ethics Rules.

“He now lives within himself, which is a dangerous place for Donald Trump to be,” says someone who speaks with the President. “I see him emotionally withdrawing. He’s gained weight. He doesn’t have anybody whom he trusts.” This is the most relatable Trump has ever been.

* Rise and shine, campers, ’cause it’s coooooold out there today.

* Don’t put ground wasp nest on your vagina to tighten muscles, warns gynecologist.

California Single Payer Is a No-Brainer.

* If you want a vision of every Thanksgiving for the rest of your life.

* SMBC roundup! We discovered a new form of ethical animal consumption. The older you are, the more people you have to deal with, so the number of lies to tends to go up quadratically. The anti-status-quo society. But a strange thing happened. Quantum hypocrisy. Marine biology. Ontology and the barbecue. Neoliberal magic. No funeral. You too.

* Confidence. Never corner a teacher. Flirting and coquettery. Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to ask if they should. Or, Twitter.

The visit is intended to focus attention on the estimated more than 230 military veterans deported from the U.S. and on the need for a more rigorous process to ensure legal residents recruited with promises of citizenship are naturalized.

Man Faces Deportation After Failing to Pay Fare on Minneapolis Light Rail.

* “Fearless Girl” is rapidly becoming an entire syllabus in the theory of art.

More Than One-Third of Teen Girls Have Experienced Depression, Study Finds. When you have numbers like this you have to conclude that the problem isn’t the girls.

In The Refrigerator Monologues, Catherynne M. Valente gives comics’ dead women their voices back. Buy it here!

Suffering Sappho! The Tortured History of Female Superheroes.

* If only there were an appropriate Marx quote for this.

* On taking candy from a baby.

* A vaccine for denialism? I’m skeptical.

* When a trip doesn’t end.

Buffalo launches nation’s first opiate intervention court.

* We Bought a Crack House.

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

* 1 in every 4 children robbed of their childhoods.

* “Uncle Julius just thought he was doing what he was supposed to do over there.”

The patent and copyright systems are clear examples of how the distribution of income is determined by the rules put in place as opposed to the intrinsic structure of the “free market.” There is nothing about the laws of the economy that says the government has to grant these monopolies, and it certainly was not a natural process through which their length and scope came to be extended in the last four decades.

* So you were buddies with a Nazi.

* The law, in its majestic equality.

* And a smart think piece from the archives: Rickrolling is sexist, racist and often transphobic in context. More relevant now than ever…

Written by gerrycanavan

June 1, 2017 at 1:51 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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Last Weekend Before the Semester Links!

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* ICYMI: My new syllabi for the fall! Infinite Jest and Alternate History. There’s also a new version of my “Video Game Culture” class, set for a new eleven-meeting schedule and with a “Capitalism” week added centered on Pokémon Go (what? oh, that thing). Relatedly: Milwaukee County Parks are trying to remove Pokemon Go from Lake Park.

* The NLRB has ruled that graduate students at private universities can unionize. How letting grad students unionize could change the labor movement and college sports. The NLRB Columbia Decision and the Future of Academic Labor Struggles. The Union Libel: On the Argument against Collective Bargaining in Higher Ed. But elsewhere in academic labor news: Adjuncts in Religious Studies May Be Excluded From Religious College Unions.

* Are PhD Students Irrational? Well, you don’t have to be, but it helps…

The point, then, is that a rational choice theory of PhD pursuit is self-sealing: by allowing the job market, and the job market only, to police our understanding of what’s rational, we’re ignoring that doctoral study is a way of accomplishing what the market typically cannot — a long-term, self-directed research project.

* Colleges hire more minority and female professors, but most jobs filled are adjunct, not tenure track, study finds.

* This morning everyone’s fighting about academic freedom and trigger warnings at the University of Chicago.

* I thought I was the only prof who didn’t really care about deadlines. But apparently there are dozens of us!

* That’ll solve it: Replace college instruction with Ken Burns movies.

A New Academic Year Brings Fresh Anxiety at Illinois’s Public Colleges.

Poor and Uneducated: The South’s Cycle of Failing Higher Education.

* Actually, I’m teaching these kids way more than they’re teaching me.

* I’ve dreamed about this since I was a kid: An Epochal Discovery: A Habitable Planet Orbits Our Neighboring Star. Time to teach The Sparrow again…

* Philosophical SF.

* CFP: Futures Near and Far: Utopia, Dystopia, and Futurity, University of Florida.

Cuban science-fiction redefines the future in the ruins of a socialist utopia.

Puppies, Slates, and the Leftover Shape of “Victory.” On that Rabid Puppies thing and my Hugo Award-winning novella Binti.

It was a long time before anyone realized there was something not the same about her.

From all indications, the next X-Men movie will hew closer to Claremont’s original Dark Phoenix story than the previous cinematic effort. But any sense of authenticity it achieves will only arouse and prolong the desire for closure of the loss not only of a treasured character who might have lived endlessly in the floating timeline, but also of the very narrative finitude in which this loss could only happen once. Comic Book Melancholia.

* Bingewatching vs. plot.

* A new book series at Rowman and Littlefield explores Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations.

Hot Tomorrow: The Urgency and Beauty of Cli-Fi.

Do Better: Sexual Violence in SFF.

* The real questions: How Long Would It Actually Take to Fall Through the Earth?

How did an EpiPen get to costing $600? Earned every penny. A Case Study in Health System Dysfunction. But, you know, it’s all better now.

* Amazing study at Duke: Virtual Reality and Exoskeleton Help Paraplegics Partially Recover, Study Finds.

The Epidemic Archives Of The Future Will Be Born Digital.

How One Professor Will Turn Wisconsin’s Higher-Ed Philosophy Into a Seminar.

* Becoming Eleven. Concept Art Reveals Barb’s Original Stranger Things Fate and It Will Depress You. We Will Get ‘Justice for Barb’ in a Second Season of Stranger Things. This Stranger Things fan theory changes the game.

Arkansas City Accused Of Jailing Poor People For Bouncing Checks As Small As $15. An Arkansas Judge Sent A Cancer Patient To ‘Debtors’ Prison’ Over A Few Bounced Checks.

* And elsewhere: Drug Court Participants Allegedly Forced To Become Police Informers.

The times of year you’re most likely to get divorced. Keep scrolling! We’re not done yet.

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Are these the best films of the 21st century? I’m not sure I enjoyed or still think about any film on this list more than I enjoyed and think about The Grand Budapest Hotel, though There Will Be Blood, Memento, Caché, and Children of Men might all be close.

CBS is bound and determined to make sure Star Trek: Discovery bombs.

Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Uses of Uranus.

* An Instagram account can index depression.

* After neoliberalism?

* Parenting and moral panic.

How Screen Addiction Is Damaging Kids’ Brains.

The technical language obscured an arresting truth: Basis, which I had ordered online without a prescription, paying $60 for a month’s supply, was either the most sophisticated fountain-of-youth scam ever to come to market or the first fountain-of-youth pill ever to work.

* Nazis were even creeps about their horses.

tumblr_nc27oekkA11t3cxt2o1_500* The Republicans were right!

* Mapping the Stephen King meganarrative.

* Good news for Dr. Strange: Dan Harmon wrote on the reshoots.

* My colleague Jodi Melamed writes in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on white Milwaukee’s responsibility.

The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan. Translated from the Icelandic.

* Saddest postjournalism story yet: “Vote on the topic for a future Washington Post editorial.”

Katherine Johnson, the human computer.

* I arrived at my friend’s party. A few hours later she died, exactly as planned.

* Uber loses a mere 1.2 billion dollars in the first half of 2016. Can there be any doubt they are just a stalking horse for the robots?

* It’s been interesting watching this one circulate virally: Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink.

William Shatner Is Sorry Paramount Didn’t Stop Him From Ruining Star Trek V. Apology not accepted.

Hillary Clinton will likely have a unique chance to remake the federal judiciary. How the first liberal Supreme Court in a generation could reshape America.

Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State. You don’t say… 4 experts make the case that the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising was troubling.

* Does he want a few of mine? Donald Trump Used Campaign Donations to Buy $55,000 of His Own Book.

Curt Schilling Is the Next Donald Trump. Hey, that was my bit!

* Oh, so now the imperial presidency is bad.

* Good news, everyone!

At least Democrats are currently on track to retake the Senate.

* Scenes from the richest country in the history of the world: Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds. Raw sewage has been leaking into Baltimore’s harbor for five days, city says. It appears aquatic life — the moss that grows on rocks, the bacteria that live in the water and the bugs that hatch there — are the unexpected victims of Americans’ struggle with drug addiction. Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds.

No Man’s Sky is like real space exploration: dull, except when it’s sublime.

A.J. Daulerio, bloodied but unbowed. How Peter Thiel Killed Gawker. Never Mind Peter Thiel. Gawker Killed Itself. Gawker Was Killed by Gaslight. And if you want a vision of the future: A Startup Is Automating the Lawsuit Strategy Peter Thiel Used to Kill Gawker.

* Greenlit for five seasons and a spinoff: The astonishing story of how two wrestling teammates from Miami came to oppose each other in the cocaine wars — one as a drug smuggler, the other as a DEA agent.

* Also greenlighting this one.

* The legacy board games revolution.

25 1/2 gimmicky DVD commentary tracks.

The millennial generation as a whole will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income because of climate change. The children of millennials will lose tens of trillions.

* When Icon fought Superman.

* Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks.

An Exciting History of Drywall.

* Title IX: still under serious threat.

* And it’s not a competition, but Some Turtles See Red Better Than You Do.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 26, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Morning Links!

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The University of Wisconsin-Madison Mellon Postdoctoral Program invites recent PhDs to apply for its three two-year postdoctoral fellowships. The theme for 2017-2019 applicants is Translation, Adaptation, Transplantation. 

* A message from the Marquette administration: Milwaukee, our home. And a letter from MUPD. Decades of grievances come to a head in Milwaukee after police shooting. The “unrest” in this city began decades ago. The Racial Segregation And Economic Devastation That Made Milwaukee A ‘Powder Keg.’ Powder keg. Decades in the making. Decades in the making. Ongoing tensions. Not a surprise. No one can deny. Outsider agitators! The radicalism of Black Lives Matter. “What can I do to help Milwaukee?” What It’s Like To Experience Black Pain In Milwaukee. Half of Wisconsin’s Black Neighborhoods Are Jails.

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Scientists say the US is facing the strongest hurricane season since Sandy hit the East Coast. California is in flames right now, with fires fueled by historic drought. A first-strike against climate change is the only solution.

The 10 Most Overly-Specific Supervillains in Comics.

* The story no one asked for will finally become the series no one can watch. And when I made that joke on Facebook a friend reminded me of the goddamn forehead ridge thing that will be totally inescapable.

* I told you, Dad! New research from the Journal of Health Psychology seems to supports the theory that intelligent people spend more time being lazy than people who are more active.

* Racial Politics After Obama.

* Decolonizing sociology.

* Insurers say they’re losing money under the Affordable Care Act and are fighting for double-digit rate increases. This week Aetna announced it is pulling back from most exchanges.

* When the Hospital Is Covered but the Health Care Isn’t.

Why the Next President Should Forgive All Student Loans.

* Area Man’s Wife Achieves Lifelong Dream Through Dedicated, Drive, and Incredible Physical Prowess. It gets worse, my friends. (It gets better too.)

Juanita Broaddrick Wants To Be Believed. Right wing ratfucking though it may be, the cognitive dissonance required to simultaneously honor contemporary norms about sexual consent and the 90s-era “none of our business” defense of Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior seems increasingly difficult to sustain.

* The amount of effort this took was the most alarming thing given his history,” the guy told the Post. Anthony Weiner’s Back at It Again With the Saucy Twitter DMs. I’m still saying it:

* This Andrew Cuomo fan fiction is now totally my head canon.

Comedy Central Cancels Larry Wilmore’s Late-Night Show. Comedy Central’s decision this week to cancel “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” was a surprise. The reason it was a surprise is that Wilmore isn’t the real problem with the cable channel’s late-night offerings. Wilmore gone, but Comedy Central’s late-night problem is Noah.

The Life Aquatic’s Seu Jorge Announces David Bowie Covers Tour. Chicago on (the day after) my birthday!

NeverEnding Story Returns To Movie Theaters For Limited Run. I wish my kids were just a little bit older so we could do this.

The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked.

How Cuba’s greatest cartoonist fled from Castro and created ‘Spy vs. Spy.’

Their goal: Meet the Beatles on tour in 1966. Their solution: Impersonate the opening act.

* Hidden Figures really does look good.

* Suicide Squad and the bitter future of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Why Colleges Still Scarcely Track Ph.D.s.

* How to make your office gun-free. Why, it couldn’t be simpler!

“People think a computer could run index funds­—and they’re so wrong,” says Brian Bruce, a former index fund manager who’s now chief executive officer of Hillcrest Asset Management in Plano, Texas, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Index Investing. Five years, tops.

* The rise of neuroprosthetics.

* Augmented reality games and ethics. And just for instance: Mich. couple suing Pokémon Go for ruining their quality of life.

* It is easier to imagine the end of dads than the end of capitalism.

How legroom on major airlines compare to one another.

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* “People don’t realize there is effectively no regulation of cosmetics.” Their Hair Fell Out. Should the F.D.A. Have the Power to Act?

Don’t Bring Your Dog to Work.

Donald Once Turned Down a Million-Dollar Bet on “Trump: The Game.” Trump Could Sweep Toss Up States And Still Lose The Election. Right now polls show Donald Trump losing every single swing state. The kids are all right. Hell, even their parents are all right. The Great GOP Divide.

Technology and Liberty in French Utopian Fiction.

Taken in cumulative, these data suggest two unusual possibilities:

A. Karl Marx is the single most important, influential, and far-reaching thinker who ever lived, and his empirically attested syllabus presence accurately reflects this extreme degree of influence that he has over virtually all aspects of human knowledge.

-or-

B. Karl Marx enjoys a grossly outsized presence on college syllabi relative to his importance as a thinker, owing to a similarly disproportionate affinity for his thought among university faculty and particularly those faculty outside of the economics profession.

I really think you could make a halfway legitimate case for some version of (A) — bracketing religious figures like Christ or the Buddha, and limiting the scope of influence to the mid- and post-20C milieu — but the later observations about the Manifesto as a kindergarten lesson probably poison that possibility.

A genetic mutation that has been found to cause people to act outrageously when they’re drunk also appears to lower the risk of certain metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. Peculiarly, the mutation has so far only been found in Finnish people, and is thought to affect around 100,000 people in the Nordic country.

* You’ll Get to See the Documentary About Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four This Fall. And keep your eye out for For the Love of Spock.

* Time travel and RPGs.

* Why I’m loving No Man’s Sky.

* Weird futurism watch: in the future, should everyone be a twin?

* Abridged classics.

* And this is basically just a panel from The Flash.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 16, 2016 at 9:09 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links!

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The Paradox of New Buildings on Campus: Even as long-neglected maintenance threatens to further escalate the price of higher education, universities continue to borrow and spend record amounts on new buildings.

The “terminal” sabbatical eases the aging academic into “retirement,” the meat grinder admins use to nourish new administrators.

Visual Proof That America’s Weather Has Gone Completely Insane.

* Our friend Nina Riggs writes of her family’s history of cancer.

* The New York Times reviews Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Game Theory Is Really Counterintuitive. And from Cracked: 20 Paradoxes Most Human Minds Can’t Wrap Themselves Around.

* Jessa “Bookslut” Crispin has a book! Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto.

Just in time for another convention, Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.”

* It’s not enough to just turn over your lunch money; you have to enjoy it.

A final response to the “Tell me why Trump is a fascist”.

* Weird science: MIT Experiment Proves Quantum Mechanics Still in Effect at Over 400-Miles.

* Twilight of the VCR. A nation remembers.

* Disability in Abramsverse Star Trek.

* UnREAL probably is going to be bad from here on out.

* Trying to understand the data on desistance in transgender kids.

* What I’ve Learned From Having A Trans Partner.

* Brain metaphors in the Age of Trump: Is Your Nervous System a Democracy or a Dictatorship?

* Elsewhere on science corner: What high heels say about the massive gap between the rich and the poor. Ancient Campfires May Have Unleashed Humanity’s Top Bacterial Killer. Proton Gradients and the Origin of Life. This map shows how many people are getting high near you. Watch language evolve as little sims wander around a grid of islands. Personality Change May Be Early Sign of Dementia, Experts Say.

* #TheWisdomofMarkets: Nintendo shares plummet after investors realize it doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go.

* Details emerge about the new Nintendo system that I will almost certainly be buying my child sight unseen.

* Interesting details about the accident that hurt Harrison Ford on the set of The Force Awakens.

* Your policy, not mine: Pokémon Go players urged not to venture into Fukushima disaster zone.

* “You are surprisingly likely to have a living doppelgänger.”

* “Mysterious green slimy foam emerges from Utah sewer.”

* And I suppose you do have to admire it.

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