Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘time loops

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* frieze asked me to write them an end-of-decade reflection on franchise culture, so here it is: “Disney’s Endgame: How the Franchise Came to Rule Cinema.” It bounces off the Scorsese brouhaha, but with an eye towards what I see as the key problematic there (monopoly), as opposed to fretting about spectacle or sequels as such. Check it out!

* Had an amazing time doing the keynote at the UC Speculative Futures Collective Symposium on Speculative Futures and Education this week. Look for more from this group soon!

* I was also on the Gribcast podcast talking about Parable of the Talents, something we’d planned for nearly a year before finally making it happen.

* I was elected president of the Science Fiction Research Association last week, too. It’s been weird!

* CFP: Ecopedagogies for the Anthropocene. CFP: Midwestern Science Fiction and Fantasy. CFP: AU: Alternate University.

* The agrocapitalist sublime: The first map of America’s food supply chain is mind-boggling.

These 8 Men Have As Much Money As Half The World.

* Ken Liu in the Times: How Chinese Sci-Fi Conquered America. The China Science Fiction Research Institute.

* ASAP Journal has a cluster on Latinx SF.

Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in. Come for the SF-fueled theory, stay for the celebration of Mark Fisher…

* Now, novelty is to be found in the refusal of communicative capitalism’s false promises of smoothness. If the nineties were defined by the loop (the ‘good’ infinity of the seamlessly looped breakbeat, Goldie’s “Timeless”), then the 21st century is perhaps best captured in the ‘bad’ infinity of the animated GIF, with its stuttering, frustrated temporality, its eerie sense of being caught in a time-trap.

* The humanities in ruins.

My university is dying. And soon yours will be too. The end of Title IX. The other college debt crisis: Schools are going broke. Academe as the Dystopian Workplace. My god, UNC. One of the smartest and most prescient things I’ve read about current higher education was written in 1974, by the great education editor Fred Hechinger, who predicted splitting aid by income would create a “class war over tuition.” -22.8% per student, inflation adjusted. As Universities See State Funding Threatened, Will They Be Less Outspoken About Climate Change? A strike at Harvard. I told my mentor I was a dominatrix.

* 63 Up.

* Are podcasts a disaster waiting to happen?

Was ‘Oumuamua a cosmic dust bunny?

* Farming and the United Federation of Planets.

Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against. Nine climate tipping points now ‘active,’ warn scientists. A Grave Climate Warning, Buried on Black Friday. ‘Bleak’ U.N. Report on a Planet in Peril Looms Over New Climate Talks. Global Warming Prediction Sounds Alarm for Climate Fight. Climate Change Is Accelerating, Bringing World ‘Dangerously Close’ to Irreversible Change. Even 50-year-old climate models correctly predicted global warming. I decided to do a bit of a close read of one particular part of a 1965 report sent to Lyndon Johnson, on atmospheric carbon dioxide. Because I hate myself, you see.

‘It is raining plastic’: Microplastics found in Colorado rainwater. US may face French fry shortage due to poor potato crop: report. Forget ‘developing’ poor countries, it’s time to ‘de-develop’ rich countries. California bans insurers from dropping policies in wildfire zones. Will Buffalo become a climate change haven? Meet Julian Brave NoiseCat – the 26-year-old shaping US climate policy. Exxon and the carbon tax. And what could possibly go wrong? This Bill Gates-funded chemical cloud could help stop global warming. The Failure of the Adults.

* Indict Jair Bolsonaro over indigenous rights, international court is urged.

Border Patrol threw away migrants’ belongings. A janitor saved and photographed them.

* ICE set up a fake university, then arrested 250 people granted student visas. Truly the worst of these cases I’ve seen, no public good rationale whatsoever.

* This gets reported every few months as if it were new or shocking information: DHS never had technology needed to track separated migrant kids.

Inside the Cell Where a Sick 16-Year-Old Boy Died in Border Patrol Care.

* Today in the Forever War.

How “people of color” evolved from a gesture of solidarity and respect to a cover for avoiding the complexities of race.

A staggering one-in-three women, experience physical, sexual abuse.

What is going on? Fears of school shootings hit eight Wisconsin high schools in three days.

* Wisconsin Republicans can completely transform the state’s system of governance on the fly, but the Foxconn deal is sacred writ now and forever.

Trump’s Turkey Corruption Is Way Worse Than You Realize. I predicted Trump would win in 2016 — and I’m predicting the same for 2020. Here’s why liberals don’t understand what he represents. How Trump could lose by 5 million votes and still win in 2020. And it will always get worse: Trump Tells Allies He Wants Absolved War Criminals to Campaign for Him.

If you want to beat Trump, be honest about Biden.

* McKinsey in the news!

* Waiting for Obama. Let’s hang ourselves. The Real Barack Obama Has Finally Revealed Himself.

* Anthony Weiner and the butterfly effect.

* The case for Bernie Sanders.

* ‘A distinctly American phenomenon’: Our workforce is dying faster than any other wealthy country, study shows. It’s Not Just Poor White People Driving a Decline in Life Expectancy. Income inequality in America is the highest it’s been since Census Bureau started tracking it, data shows. Unemployment is low only because ‘involuntary’ part-time work is high. Nearly 700,000 SNAP Recipients Could Lose Benefits Under New Trump Rule. In a small Vermont city: heroin, bullets, and empathy.

* Why Rent Control Works. Highways Give Way to Homes as Cities Rebuild. Against self-driving cars. Today’s Socialist Revival Began on the Streets of Seattle 20 Years Ago. Welcome to the Global Rebellion Against Neoliberalism. Even rich kids need free college.

Millennials weren’t the only ones gutted by the recession. Gen X has never recovered.

* True crime: Indiana manipulated report on Amazon worker’s death to lure HQ2, investigation says. Google fires four employees at center of worker organization efforts. Away’s founders sold a vision of travel and inclusion, but former employees say it masked a toxic work environment. Uber Office Had Separate Bathrooms for Drivers and ‘Employees.’ Uber’s new loan program could trap drivers in cycles of crushing debt. Uber Says 3,045 Sexual Assaults Were Reported in U.S. Rides Last Year.

* “Nearly every Revver who spoke with The Verge said they were exposed to graphic or troubling material on multiple occasions with no warning. This includes recordings of physical and verbal abuse between intimate partners, graphic descriptions of sexual assault, amateur porn, violent footage from police body cameras, a transphobic rant, and, in one instance, “a breast augmentation filmed by a physician’s cell phone, being performed on a patient who was under sedation.” Transcribers for the gig economy service Rev hate the recently slashed rates, but the disturbing content they deal with is even worse.

Watched “The Irishman” and wondered, hey, what happened to those Teamsters pension funds in the end? Turns out that once Rudy Giuliani made a big splash getting the mob out, he handed management over to Wall Street with no oversight, and they wrecked it.

* The final word on should you go to grad school, from 1987.

* But his bosses didn’t like him, so they shot him into space.

* Starlink vs. the stars. Even more here!

Airlines damage or lose an average of 26 wheelchairs a day, report finds.

* What happens after you abandon an entire amusement park?

* You can’t have it both ways.

* This stabs me twice.

* Give it up for Tom Gauld.

* This is a mistake and we should not accept it.

* New book claims Albert Camus was murdered by the KGB.

* The color of the year is… blue. Just — blue.

* Wish I’d been quicker on the blogging trigger to include this Thanksgiving classic in time for the holiday.

* Pretty sick dude. The prequels were close to a good story. I did stand-up last night as “1990s Jerry Seinfeld Doing Bits About His 17-Year-Old Girlfriend.” It Happened to Me: Sinclair Bought My Hometown News Channel and Now It’s Deranged. Bleakest shit I’ve ever seen. The Fire Was Good, Actually. That’s good content. That’s my secret. Inigo Montoya’s Guide to Networking Success. The self care serial killer. Every city has a “guy” they all know about. Give me fucking strength.

Mikhail Gorbachev’s Pizza Hut Thanksgiving Miracle.

* Why Elsa from Frozen is a queer icon — and why Disney won’t embrace that idea.

* The Incendiary Aims of HBO’s Watchmen. HBO’s Watchmen Reveal Unmasks Homophobia and Fetishization. Move over, Joker – it’s time for the OG Superman.

* So the new Ghostbusters sequel follows in the classic franchise legacy mold and is about the original generation of Ghostbusters failing to prevent a disaster that destroyed New York. I really feel like our culture needs some therapy.

* Hands down one of the worst living Americans, virtual lock he’ll be president someday.

* I too can’t wait for December 20th.

* Mark Z. Danielewski drops three new House Of Leaves teleplays, is definitely up to something.

In 1969, a group of boys played a Thanksgiving football game. 50 years later, they’re still at it.

* “There Is An Entity That Cannot Be Defeated”: Former Go champion beaten by DeepMind retires after declaring AI invincible.

* And rest in peace, D.C. Fontana. There’s almost no one more directly responsible for what Star Trek became than her.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links, Plus a Very Canavan Podcast!

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There’s No Sheriff on This Planet: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson. The latest in my irregular series of conversations with KSR. The transcript is just the highlights — for the full effect you’ll have to listen.

* Extrapolation 60.1 is out! Articles on rape motifs in contemporary fantasy, Japanese print SF, and Nihād Sharīf’s The Conqueror of Time.

* Endgame ephemera! Avengers: Endgame, or, why this is all your fault. Avengers and the Endgame of Liberalism. And the Russo brothers are on a quest to make sure you know that Endgame being good had nothing to do with them.

* The Night King? Never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened. Bonus appearance by the coffee cup! If these are the final two choices, the only way to win the Game may be not to play.

* “Like Groundhog Day — and while we’re at it, like The Good Place — Russian Doll is Kafka played on easy mode.”

* Watch The Wandering Earth on Netflix!

* Ted Chiang has a new book, why haven’t you bought it yet?

* A new climate change story from Paolo Bacigalupi at MIT Technology Review. Killer ending.

* Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life. One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns. Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace. An open letter to David Wallace-Wells. We are ruled by psychopaths.

* Greta Thunberg, autism, and climate activism.

* For roughly 18 months, AirPods play music, or podcasts, or make phone calls. Then the lithium-ion batteries will stop holding much of a charge, and the AirPods will slowly become unusable. They can’t be repaired because they’re glued together. They can’t be thrown out, or else the lithium-ion battery may start a fire in the garbage compactor. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. Instead, the AirPods sit in your drawer forever. AirPods Are a Tragedy.

It’s time to speak about batshit jobs.

Today, batshit jobs are more widespread than ever. You’re likely doing a batship job if you’re working in advertising trying to maintain mass consumption, in air traffic, industrial farming and forestry, in mining, in the car industry, and first of all if you’re working in oil drilling, fracking, coal mining.

To become dilligent batshit workers we have to be trained, and we have to be able to block out the harm that our work participates in. The beauty of the school strikes is that a generation of young people are preparing themselves to refuse batshit work.

*  It seems to me that anyone who considers this for more than ten minutes has to recognize that “student demand” is a construct: it is the product of a pervasive, cross-institutional pedagogy in social and educational value in which students are immersed from (at least) primary school onward.  If students are demanding STEM in record numbers, this is a because they have been systematically invited to embrace a number of interlocking beliefs: that

  1. STEM fields matter to the welfare and future of human societies more than other fields — that social problems respond best to technocratic solutions; 
  2. college is a course of career training; 
  3. college is an investment that ought to be maximized in order to yield the highest possible return in the form of lifelong higher income;
  4. STEM fields represent areas of continuing high-growth, recession-proof employment. 

“Student demand” is a fact insofar as it reproduces these assumptions, which are already endemic to the privatized, market-driven university.  Other forms of “student demand” (for example, demands for a more racially and ethnically diverse faculty that better reflects regional and national demographics) are routinely ignored.

* Marquette Academic Senate calls for administration neutrality on unionization.

* Measuring the tenure-track success of pre-2009 Ph.D.s is like measuring the ice stability of Greenland’s glaciers before industrialization. Researcher’s suicide reflects bleak prospects for post-Ph.D. life. Adjuncts and Freelancers: Reading Signs of Eventual Destruction.

* Turning Point USA’s dark coup on college campuses.

A lot of older academics will point to the 1970s or the 1990s to say that crisis has always been the default, and there’s truth to this. But they didn’t have the same debt loads back then.

* “Second Chance: Life without Student Debt.”

* For Colleges, Climate Change Means Making Tough Choices.

* People Are Clamoring to Buy Old Insulin Pumps.

What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right. As capitalism starts to crumble, hate finds a familiar foothold.

Liberalism: the other God that failed. The Senate is a much bigger problem than the Electoral College. Here’s how many millennials get help from their parents to pay rent and other bills. Twitter users answer the question: “When did you become radicalized by the U.S. health care non-system?” 42% of Americans are at risk of retiring broke.

* America smartly sets its sights on the one flaw in the Constitution the Founders actually bothered to fix.

* If the president does it, it’s not obstruction.

* This seems heathy. This too! Things are great.

The forgotten history of how Abraham Lincoln helped rig the Senate for Republicans.

* Dialectics of Milwaukee: ‘It’s clear that the secret is out about Milwaukee,’ increased tourism spending shows. There seems to be a surge of unsettling things happening on the Milwaukee education landscape, some of them just more of the same (low student achievement, divisive politics) and some of them not so typical (corruption). Glendale would provide $37 million to help redevelop struggling Bayshore — with $57 million debt paid off.

Sandra Bland, It Turns Out, Recorded Her Own Video of Traffic Stop Confrontation. ICE provides local police a way to work around ‘sanctuary’ policies, act as immigration officers.

* On April 30, my Liberal Studies class, framed as Anthropology and Philosophy of Science, was the site of a horrific event. Two of my students were killed while four more were injured.

Study: Therapy dogs reduce children’s fear, anxiety during dentist appointments.

Aging baby boomers are about to push Alzheimer’s disease rates sky high.

The Saga Of ‘Star Citizen,’ A Video Game That Raised $300 Million—But May Never Be Ready To Play.

* Dystopia watch: Oh Good, a Subway System Is Making Riders Stare at Ads Before They Can Buy a Ticket. Amazon’s staffing up a news vertical full of crime stories designed to scare you into buying a spying, snitching “smart” doorbell. We’ve lived so long that the founding of Amazon Prime is something we can be nostalgic about now.

* Let’s just go with a daily reminder that Philip K. Dick wrote a novel where all films were just called disneys.

* Who Owns the Moon Watch: Why the Moon Is Suddenly a Hot Commodity.

* How angry pilots got the Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings.

* And the biggest danger about an asteroid strike? Lawyers.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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‘Terror and Mismemory’: On 9/11

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Like the Normandy Invasion, like World War II, as time passes 9/11 is increasingly figured as a lost, Utopian past, a perverse sort of Golden Age which in the same singular instant is both forever lost and always just around the corner.

Several years ago I wrote an article about 9/11 for a book that, due to the whirling speed of academic publishing, is only just now coming out: Portraying 9/11: Essays on Representations in Comics, Literature, Film and Theatre. My piece for the book is titled “Terror and Mismemory: Resignifying September 11 in World Trade Center and United 93” and is about the way the trauma of 9/11 has been reimagined by film and journalistic retrospectives as “a permanent state of emergency from which there is no possible relief or escape.” Instead of allowing time to progress forward, we simply replay the tape over and over again, stuck in the single moment when the Towers were still on fire but before they collapsed.

After discussing briefly my own memories of 9/11, including the myriad reports of phantom attacks from that morning that are now no longer discussed and the long list of “possible” attacks in news reports since then that have similarly never happened, the piece concludes like this:

This feeling of permanent, unmitigated existential threat has begun at last to dissipate, but it has never really left us — a temporal loop caused by that day’s repeated reconsumption as spectacle. Though the attacks lasted only a few hours on one very devastating morning, on the level of spectacle they remain ongoing and unending. This is perhaps one reason why Freedom Tower, the new office complex and memorial long scheduled to be built on the ruins of Ground Zero, has for so long remained unbuilt and perhaps in some real sense unbuildable. We have been frozen in time, unable to move on.

I have never felt this more than I did after opening Twitter and my RSS reader this morning to discover a ubiquitous wall of chatter about 9/11. @ibogost sums it up in a single evocative phrase: “The sad exhaustion of an event named to repeat itself forever.”

Adam Kotsko makes much the same point from a different direction in a blog post he put up last night, “An Isolated Incident: Or, The Day Nothing Changed.” While I disagree in an important sense with Adam’s major conclusion — I do believe 9/11 makes a turning point in the breakdown of the rule of law in the U.S., as well as the attitude of the U.S. towards imperial exercise of its military superpower — I agree with him in nearly all the particulars. 9/11 was a trauma, not a new reality. Constantly reliving that trauma, constantly re-experiencing it over and over to the point where it becomes a strange sort of macabre celebration, is not helping anybody. We need to move on.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

12:01 PM

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The dad from That 70s Show IS Bill Murray AS Phil Connors IN 12:01 PM. Via yesterday’s nth annual MetaFilter thread celebrating existentialist classic Groundhog Dog, which also links to the aggressively dickish “Endless Eight” arc on the Japanese television series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.