Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Tokyo

Friday Links!

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* I didn’t find it an easy question to answer. I couldn’t deny the accuracy of their observations (other than a tendency to neglect or misunderstand the distinctiveness of the situation in Scotland). Successive British governments have enacted a series of measures that seem designed to reshape the character of universities, not least by reducing their autonomy and subordinating them to ‘the needs of the economy’. ‘Marketisation’ isn’t just a swear-word used by critics of the changes: it is official doctrine that students are to be treated as consumers and universities as businesses competing for their custom. The anticipated returns from the labour market are seen as the ultimate measure of success. Last year the government imposed a new wheeze. Universities are now being awarded Olympic-style gold, silver and bronze medals for, notionally, teaching quality. But the metrics by which teaching quality is measured are – I am not making this up – the employment record of graduates, scores on the widely derided National Student Survey, and ‘retention rates’ (i.e. how few students drop out). These are obviously not measures of teaching quality; neither are they things that universities can do much to control, whatever the quality of their teaching. Now there is a proposal to rate, and perhaps fund, individual departments on the basis of the earnings of their graduates. If a lot of your former students go on to be currency traders and property speculators, you are evidently a high-quality teaching department and deserve to be handsomely rewarded; if too many of them work for charities or become special-needs teachers, you risk being closed down. And most recently of all, there has been the proposal to dismantle the existing pension arrangements for academics and ‘academic-related’ staff, provoking a more determined and better-supported strike than British academia has ever seen.

* What the hell is happening at Michigan State? How Universities Deal With Sexual Harassment Needs Sweeping Change, Panel Says.

Nobel literature scandal deepens as Jean-Claude Arnault is charged with rape.

* ‘They just took them?’ Frantic parents separated from their kids fill courts on the border. Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children. A Twitter thread. Trump looking to erect tent cities to house unaccompanied children. Defense Contractors Cashing In On Immigrant Kids’ Detention. Administration will house migrant kids in tents in Tornillo, Texas: summertime high, 98, December low, 28. ICE Detained a 50-Year U.S. Resident Outside the Home He Owns and Now It’s Trying to Deport Him. “Zero Tolerance” Crackdown Won’t Stop Border Crossings But It Could Break the Courts. Migrant caravan mom calls for family reunification as fate of asylum claim looms. She says federal officials took her daughter while she breastfed the child in a detention center. A grandmother seeking asylum was separated from her disabled grandson at the border. It’s been 10 months. She Fled to the U.S. After Being Raped Repeatedly by Her Husband. Trump’s New Asylum Rules Would Have Kept Her Out. Trump Administration Launches Effort to Strip Citizenship From Those Suspected of Naturalization Irregularities. It’s Happening Here Because Americans Can’t Admit it’s Happening Here. It’s All Too Much, and We Still Have to Care.

* This is an entirely new angle of ICE abuse that is frighteningly authoritarian and the harbinger of very bad things to come.

The New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded lawsuit on Thursday taking aim at the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the charity and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.

* A rare person of integrity in this nightmare government: Senior Justice Dept. lawyer resigns after shift on Obamacare.

* In the wake of the horrors currently being done to children in America’s name, here’s one thing we can do: Recognize we’re in a linguistic emergency. We have a president whose single-minded praise for macho might is wearing down even those who refuse to overlook his incompetence. Trump, the only presidential candidate to refer to his penis size during a national debate, wants nothing more than to be seen as powerful and manly, and to align himself with those who project the characteristics he desires. And he’s gotten help—from us. If you’ve ever called Trump “tough” on immigration, note that he just called a dictator “tough” for murdering his citizens. (And “very smart” for staying in power.) That should be a wake-up call to journalists responsible for telling the story of this moment: Stop using the words he routinely chooses to describe himself. And think hard about whether you’re accidentally reinforcing the model of power he’s trying to sell.

FEMA Blamed Delays In Puerto Rico On Maria; Agency Records Tell Another Story.

Trumpism: It’s Coming From the Suburbs.

Addressing an imagined reader in the all-too-likely “hot dark world” of our all-too-near human future, William T. Vollmann begins his two-volume, twelve-hundred-plus-page Carbon Ideologies (the second volume of which was published last week) with a curious and characteristically audacious gambit. In the opening pages of Volume I: No Immediate Danger, as he sets out upon this tome concerning fossil fuels and nuclear energy, Vollmann explains: “I do my best to look as will the future upon the world in which I lived—namely, as surely, safely vanished. Nothing can be done to save it; therefore, nothing need be done. Hence this little book scrapes by without offering solutions. There were none; we had none.”

In Name of Free Speech, States Crack Down on Campus Protests.

* Never love anything, it’ll only break your heart: Star Trek: Discovery Showrunners Leave CBS All Access Series.

Sources say the decision to oust Berg and Harberts was based not on the creative but instead for leadership and operational issues. Production on Discovery‘s first five episodes of season two are near completion, with Kurtzman likely taking over for episode six and beyond. Berg and Harberts, who were longtime collaborators with original showrunner Fuller, will likely still be credited on the episodes they oversaw. Sources say the budget for the season two premiere ballooned, with the overages expected to come out of subsequent episodes from Discovery‘s sophomore run. Insiders also stress that Berg and Harberts became increasingly abusive to the Discovery writing staff, with Harberts said to have leaned across the writers room table while shouting an expletive at a member of the show’s staff. Multiple writers are said to have been uncomfortable working on the series and had threatened to file a complaint with human resources or quit the series altogether before informing Kurtzman of the issues surrounding Berg and Harberts. After hearing rumors of HR complaints, Harberts is said to have threatened the staff to keep concerns with the production an internal matter.

That they’re openly admitting their best episode came about by accident isn’t great, either.

* World Cup news! As Saudi Arabia played at the World Cup, the country launched a massive attack on Yemen.

Everyone Should Root for Peru in the World Cup. FIFA’s Rule Changes Won’t Solve Soccer’s Concussion Problem. 2026.

* Ugh, don’t ask Amy Poehler about comedy when the world sucks this fucking much.

* A Disgruntled Federal Employee’s 1980s Desk Calendar.

* Suicides by Gun Have Steadily Climbed, Federal Data Shows.

* When Cleveland tried.

* In “Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos,” Christian Davenport tells the backstories of the billionaires who are vying for control of the emerging NewSpace industry. In addition to Musk and Bezos, Davenport writes about Branson and Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and an early investor in new spaceflight technologies. The members of the quartet are so similar in type that their biographies, as Davenport relates them, start to blur into one. As boys, they mostly read the same science fiction. (Musk has said that his favorite Robert A. Heinlein novel is “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” which is set on a lunar colony where young girls marry men and women are either homemakers or work at beauty shops or brothels.) The space barons were all outsiders as young men; they’re all obsessed with rockets; they all want, more than anything, to win. Their space ventures are supposedly driven by a common goal of elevating or saving humankind, but they don’t always treat others humanely. Elon Musk and the Failure of Our Imagination in Space.

* There were signs early on that the jurors deciding whether Rhines should be sentenced to life in prison or to death might have been considering more than the facts of the case before them. During deliberations, the panel sent a note out to the judge. They had a list of pointed questions about what life in prison would mean. Would Rhines have a cellmate? Would he be allowed to “create a group of followers or admirers”? Would he be allowed to “have conjugal visits”? They apologized if any of the questions were “inappropriate,” but indicated that they were important to their decision-making. The judge declined to answer, telling the jurors that all they needed to know was in the jury instructions they’d received. Eight hours later, they sentenced Rhines to death.

* Bipartisan war party panics as Kim meets Trump. The North Korea Summit Through the Looking Glass.

The Class Politics of Teeth.

* All versions of Star Wars trend towards the unfilmable/unmerchandizable truth that the Force is actually evil.

* Everything you need to know before The Good Place S3.

* DC edging dangerously close to having a good idea for once.

* Dead fandoms.

* Imagining a better boyhood.

* Antarctica and the end of the world.

According to the results, Côté shares more than a friendship with Snoopy the chihuahua; they share the exact same Indigenous ancestry.

The position of the nanny—of the family but not in the family; asked to care and love but only while on the clock—is narratively provocative. And yet unless she is Mary Poppins-level magically perfect, in books and films the nanny is mostly a threat. She is the entry point into a family’s vulnerability, she is the stranger we thought we knew. She is The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. She is a Lifetime movie about a family broken apart by a nanny’s violence toward the children or sexual advances toward the husband.

* The headline reads, “Nevada’s most notorious pimp wins Republican primary.”

The Las Vegas Union That Learned To Beat The House.

Facebook is malware.

* A thought-provoking thread on vegetarianism and colonialism, though I don’t consider it the end of the argument by any means.

The astronauts disturbed the Moon’s surface soil by walking and driving a rover on it. As a result, the Moon reflected less of the Sun’s light back out to space, which raised the lunar surface temperature by 1-2 degrees Celsius (1.8-3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) where it was disturbed. 

* I’ve never trusted Lasik.

The World’s Best Pickpocket Reviews The Ocean’s 8 Heist.

A movie ticket costs somewhere between $10 and $15 and yet MoviePass offers monthly subscription packages for $9.95 that let users can see up to one movie a day. How the hell is that supposed to work?

The epic hunt for the place on Earth where life started.

Teachers Fight To Keep Pre-Colonial World History In AP Course.

University of North Carolina Students Accuse Administration of Artwashing.

* Chloe Dykstra details years of abuse she experienced at the hands of Chris Hardwick both during and after their relationship.

* Reconsidering the cop show.

* Hugh O’Connell reviews Ian McDonald’s Luna: Wolf Moon with an eye towards post-Thatcher neoliberalism.

* No one could have seen this coming.

* This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like.

* This is relatable content: Many animals are shifting from day to night to avoid people.

Where Your Stuff Goes When You Lose It in Tokyo.

* And this is really happening: Measure to split California into three states qualifies for November ballot. I know it’s a trick, but even still, trading 2-4 Senators for a slightly harder path in the Electoral College seems like a good trade to me. But I bet it’s also illegal, so it’s probably a nonstarter either way.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 15, 2018 at 9:09 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Fall Break Links! Every Tab I Had Open Is Closed!

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* New open-access scholarship: Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling. My contribution is on Rogue One and the crisis of authority that seems to have plagued all the post-Lucas Star Wars productions. Check it out!

* Science Fiction Film and Television 10.3 is also available, a special issue all about Mad Max and guest-edited by Dan Hassler-Forest, including a great piece by one of my former graduate students, Dr. Bonnie McLean!

* My book was reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement! That’s wild. There’s a really nice review coming in the next issue of Science Fiction Studies, too, though I don’t think its online yet…

* By far the absolute best thing I’ve found on the Internet in years: Decision Problem: Paperclips.

* Call for Papers: Critical Disaster Studies.

* It’s been so long since I’ve posted that it’s still news Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize. With all due apologies to Margaret Atwood.

* Tom Petty was still alive then. Puerto Rico wasn’t in ruins, then. The worst mass shooting in American history perpetrated by a single individual hadn’t happened then. California wasn’t on fire quite to the apocalyptic extent that it is now then. I still had hope for The Last Jedi. And the GOP wasn’t all-in for Roy Moore.

* There are no natural disasters. The Left Needs Its Own Shock Doctrine for Puerto Rico. Disaster socialism. Many Trump voters who got hurricane relief in Texas aren’t sure Puerto Ricans should. After the Hurricane. Someday we’ll look back on the storms from this year’s horrific hurricane season with nostalgia.

* Page of a Calvin and Hobbes comic found in the wreckage of Santa Rosa, California.

This is the horror of mass shootings. Not just death that comes from nowhere, intruding upon the status quo—but a death that doesn’t change that status quo, that continues to sail on unchanged by it. You may be a toddler in a preschool in one of the richest zip codes in the country; a congressman playing baseball in Alexandria, Virginia; a white-collar office worker in a business park; a college student or professor on some leafy campus; a doctor making your rounds in a ward in the Bronx; a country music fan enjoying a concert in a city built as a mecca for relaxation and pleasure: the bullet that comes for you will not discriminate. It knows no racial bias, imposes no political litmus test, checks no credit score, heeds no common wisdom of whose life should or shouldn’t matter. It will pierce your skin, perforate your organs, shatter your bones, and blow apart the gray matter inside your skull faster than your brain tissue can tear. And then, after the token thoughts and prayers, nothing. No revolutionary legislation or sudden sea change in cultural attitudes will mark your passing. The bloody cruelty of your murder will be matched only by the sanguine absence of any substantive national response. Our democracy is riven by inequality in so many ways, but in this domain, and perhaps in this domain alone, all American lives are treated as equally disposable.

Having achieved so many conservative goals — a labor movement in terminal decline, curtailed abortion rights, the deregulation of multiple industries, economic inequality reminiscent of the Gilded Age, and racial resegregation — the right can now afford the luxury of irresponsibility. Or so it believes. As we have seen in the opening months of the Trump presidency, the conservative regime, despite its command of all three elected branches of the national government and a majority of state governments, is extraordinarily unstable and even weak, thanks to a number of self-inflicted wounds. That weakness, however, is a symptom not of its failures, but of its success.

* Freedom of speech means professors get fired for their tweets while universities rent their facilities to open Nazis for $600,000 below cost. Meanwhile, college administrations continue to look to Trump to save them from their graduate students.

The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics.

Death at a Penn State Fraternity.

* UPenn humiliates itself.

* Octavia Butler: The Brutalities of the Past Are All Around Us.

* African Science Fiction, at LARB.

* The new issue of Slayage has a “Twenty Years of Buffy” roundtable.

Image Journal Exclusively Publishes Flannery O’Connor’s College Journal.

* Honestly, I prefer it when the NCAA doesn’t even bother to pretend.

* One of the classic signs of a failing state is the manipulation of data, including its suppression.

* Internal emails show ICE agents struggling to substantiate Trump’s lies about immigrants.

* ICE Detainee Sent to Solitary Confinement for Encouraging Protest of “Voluntary” Low Wage Labor.

This Is What It Looks Like When the President Asks People to Snitch on Their Neighbors.

A 2-year-old’s kidney transplant was put on hold — after his donor father’s probation violation.

* The arc of history is long, but Federal Judge Rules Handcuffing Little Kids Above Their Elbows Is Unconstitutional.

Body cameras and more training aren’t enough. We need to divert funding for police into funding for human needs.

“Childhood trauma is a huge factor within the criminal justice system,” said Christopher Wildeman, a sociologist at Cornell University and co-director of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. “It is among the most important things that shapes addictive and criminal behavior in adulthood.”

They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants.

When Colleges Use Their Own Students to Catch Drug Dealers.

* The Democratic district attorney of Manhattan openly takes bribes, and he’s running unopposed.

Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream.

How We Found Tom Price’s Private Jets.

What DNA Testing Companies’ Terrifying Privacy Policies Actually Mean.

Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump. Counterpoint: The case that voter ID laws won Wisconsin for Trump is weaker than it looks.

* Conflict in literature.

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia. Close that barn door, boys!

Mass Shootings Are A Bad Way To Understand Gun Violence. The stats are clear: the gun debate should be one mostly about how to prevent gun suicides. 1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days.

* The secretive family making billions from the opioid crisis.

* University of Hawaii’s creepy email subject line to students: “In the event of a nuclear attack.”

* Marvel’s movie timeline is incoherent nonsense, too.

We have a pretty good idea of when humans will go extinct. No spoilers!

* Tokyo Is Preparing for Floods ‘Beyond Anything We’ve Seen.’

* Cape Coral, Florida, was built on total lies. One big storm could wipe it off the map. Oh, and it’s also the fastest-growing city in the United States.

An Oral History of Batman: The Animated Series.

* Why is Blade Runner called Blade Runner?

* How free porn enriched the tech industry — and ruined the lives of actors.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Is the Bleakest Lord of the Rings Fan Fic I’ve Ever Seen.The best way to beat Shadow Of War’s final act is not to play it. Are Orcs People Too? And a trip down memory lane: How ‘Hobbit Camps’ Rebirthed Italian Fascism.

* The Digital Humanities Bust.

We can’t eliminate the profit motive in health care without eliminating copays.

* Twitter as hate machine.

* They’re good dogs, Brent.

* Burn the Constitution.

* Violence. Threats. Begging. Harvey Weinstein’s 30-year pattern of abuse in Hollywood. Study finds 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation when they spoke up. Collective action is the best avenue to fight sexual harassers like Harvey Weinstein. Will Fury Over Harvey Weinstein Allegations Change Academe’s Handling of Harassment?

* A tough thread on ethical compromise under conditions of precarity and hyperexploitation. I think many academics will relate.

* Major study confirms the clinical definition of death is wildly inadequate.

Death just became even more scary: scientists say people are aware they’re dead because their consciousness continues to work after the body has stopped showing signs of life.

That means that, theoretically, someone may even hear their own death being announced by medics.

Dolphins recorded having a conversation ‘just like two people’ for first time.

Here Are the Best Wildlife Photos of 2017.

Meat eaters are destroying the planet, says report.

The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.

In A Post-Weinstein World, Louis CK’s Movie Is a Total Disaster.

Let this battle herald a return to our roots: tax the rich so much that they aren’t rich anymore — only then can the rest of us live in a decent world.

* Civil-Rights Protests Have Never Been Popular.

Every Rick and Morty Universe So Far.

* Ready for #Vexit.

The world’s first “negative emissions” plant has begun operation—turning carbon dioxide into stone.

I Have Been Raped by Far Nicer Men Than You.

* They’re bound and determined to ruin Go.

I think I’m on my way. I’ve deposited my first check in a savings account and, as and if I sell more, will continue to do so until I have the equivalent of one year’s pay at GE. Four more stories will do it nicely, with cash to spare (something we never had before). I will then quit this goddamn nightmare job, and never take another one so long as I live, so help me God. On Vonnegut’s “Complete Stories.”

An Anatomy of the Worst Game in ‘Jeopardy!’ History.

* Is your D&D character rare?

* Tolkien’s Map and the Perplexing River Systems of Middle-earth.

The Worst Loss In The History Of U.S. Men’s Soccer.

The Rise And Rise Of America’s Best-Kept Secret: Milwaukee!

* Galaxy brain.

* And RIP, John Couture. A tremendous loss for Marquette English.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Saturday Night Links

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* Breaking: Right-wing Supreme Court Justices don’t take their jobs seriously. Supreme Court May Be Most Conservative in Modern History. Antonin Scalia, semi-retired crank.

* Jonathan Cohn, Scott Lemieux, and Richard Hansen and ponder the legitimacy of a Supreme Court that has actually gone the full monty and overturned the ACA.

* Of course they say the same thing about us. Judge Strikes Down Key Parts Of Walker’s Anti-Public Employee Union Law.

* Don’t check the date, just believe it: Google Maps QuestView for the NES.

* This collection of more-accurate Dr. Seuss titles is one of my favorite things on the entire Internet.

* James Cameron teases the Avatar sequels.

“The best inspiration I got for ‘Avatar’ 2 and 3 was dealing with the master navigator culture in Micronesia,” Cameron said by phone from Tokyo on Friday, where he attended the Japanese premiere of “Titanic 3D.”

The Micronesians, a seafaring culture who navigated the Pacific for centuries without the aid of compasses or charts, already have a lot in common with the blue Na’vi residents of Pandora — they’re an indigenous, matrilineal culture, colonized by outsiders. And the cerulean and aquamarine tones of “Avatar” and its inhabitants seem drawn from postcards from the watery Micronesian region.

* The New York Times has some fun with towards a quantum theory of Mitt Romney.

* 21st Century as Intergenerational War. More here and here.

* Why are colleges acting as volunteer loan collection agents for the banks?

In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.

* The lottery lie: The educational “bonus” appears to be nonexistent. Miller and Pierce (1997) studied the short- and long-term effect of education lotteries. They found that lottery states did indeed increase per-capita spending on education during the lottery’s early years. However, after some time these states actually decreased their overall spending on education. In contrast, states without lotteries increased education spending over time. In fact, nonlottery states spend, on average, 10 percent more of their budgets on education than lottery states (Gearey 1997).

* The education reform lie: it’s impossible to talk about primary and secondary education in America in any meaningful way if you won’t allow yourself to discuss class.

* Hunger Games commentary watch: Understanding Katniss.

If you and your board are now determined to show that you in fact have wisdom and maturity when you exercise your powers over the eduction of your young, then you should acknowledge that it was a rotten lesson you taught young people in a free society when you denounced and then burned books–books you hadn’t even read. You should also resolve to expose your children to all sorts of opinions and information, in order that they will be better equipped to make decisions and to survive. Yours sincerely, Kurt Vonnegut.

* Too Smart to Fail: Notes on an Age of Folly.

But the problem goes far beyond politics. We have become a society that can’t self-correct, that can’t address its obvious problems, that can’t pull out of its nosedive. And so to our list of disasters let us add this fourth entry: we have entered an age of folly that—for all our Facebooking and the twittling tweedle-dee-tweets of the twitterati—we can’t wake up from.

* Slate continues to pioneer bold new horizons in fantasy capitalism.

* 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide. No one could have predicted the widespread implementation of insecticides would kill so many insects!

The government has put the chances of a magnitude 7.3 quake centered in the north of Tokyo Bay at 70 percent over the next three decades, and has estimated there would be about 11,000 casualties and 850,000 buildings destroyed.

* Cancer research: it’s worse than you think.

* “Military surplus a bonanza for law enforcement.”

* Orwell and March Madness.

* And Canada will stop issuing pennies. Honestly, they’re decades ahead of us. Could be centuries.

Actually Looks Sort of Nice

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io9 has your end-of-the-world art gallery. Below: post-apocalypse Tokyo.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

Midday Thursday Mostly Nuclear Links

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Tokyo, After

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But I know what you’re really here to see: apocalypse porn. Here’s Tokyo, after. Via Boing Boing.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 5, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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