Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Tolkien

Spring! Break! Forever! Links!

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* The Department of Special Collections and University Archives will host an upcoming talk by Tolkien scholar Janet Brennan Croft March 26, at 4:30 p.m. in the Raynor Memorial Libraries Beaumier Suites. Croft is the author of “Barrel Rides and She-Elves: Audience and ‘Anticipation’ in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy,” and has written on film adaptions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. The talk will explore Tolkien’s “Hobbit Trilogy” in regards to audience expectations, the difficulties of filming a prequel after a sequel, and issues of anticipation in relation to character development.

The death of writing – if James Joyce were alive today he’d be working for Google.

In Amsterdam, a revolt against the neoliberal university.

* Make School a Democracy.

* The persistence of inequality.

How A Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless.

Working-Class Women at the MLA Interview.

* Checking flights now: Kim Stanley Robinson Week at Ralahine.

Using Science Fiction to Re-Envision Justice.

Arab Sci-Fi: The future is here.

‘House of Cards’ is the worst show about American politics. Ever. On the perfunctoriness of House of Cards.

* Unarmed teenager shot by police in Madison. Students march.

* Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s sheriff wants attention.

* The Unfortunate Fate of Sweet Briar’s Professors. This headline really buries the lede:

Of course, faculty members aren’t the only employees who are taking a hit. Rainville suggested that nearly a third of the college’s hourly workers are descendants of the Fletcher plantation’s original slave community. Some of the staff members have worked at Sweet Briar their entire adult lives.

* Detenuring and its discontents.

Marina Warner on the disfiguring of higher education.

What Obama’s ‘Student Aid Bill of Rights’ Will — and Won’t — Do. Student Loans Viewed Differently Than Other Debt, Study Finds.

* Fear of a Muslim Planet. From TNI #38: “Futures.”

* Did somebody say FUTURE!

Islamophobic Bus Ads In San Francisco Are Being Defaced With Kamala Khan.

* Finally, a technological solution to the problem of taking attendance!

LARPing Hamlet at Castle Elsinore.

* These Photos Beautifully Capture the Complex Relationship Between Mothers and Daughters. These are really amazing. Many more links after the photo.

Soraya and Tala, Yarze Lebanon 2014.

* The 1 percent’s white privilege con: Elites hold “conversations” about race, while resegregating our schools.

Austerity won’t collapse under its own contradictions. We’ll need a movement for that.

* Big Sugar vs. your teeth.

It’s a mistake to ask whether this is wealthy people defending their financial interests or wealthy people expressing their ideology, or which motivation is reallyin the driver’s seat. The triumph of modern conservatism is that it has collapsed the distinction. The interests of the wealthy are the ideology. Fossil fuels are the ideology. They’re bubbling in the same ethno-nationalist stew as anti-immigrant sentiment, hawkish foreign policy, hostility toward the social safety net, and fetishism of guns, suburbs, and small towns. It’s all one identity now. The Kochs (and their peers) are convinced that their unfettered freedom is in the best interests of the country. There’s no tension.

* What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies?

* Native language study at UWM.

Judge Says University Failed to Shield Professor From Colleagues’ Retaliation. Yeah, sure sounds like it.

* It is now twelve months to the day that I set myself the task of, for one full year, reading books only by straight, white, middle-class, Anglopone, cis male authors. During that time I read 144 books. The things I learned in my year of selective reading made me pretty glad to have persevered.

* NYU union does good work.

Ph.D. students will receive 4 percent more in total compensation for their work as teaching assistants, bringing the average annual compensation up to approximately $36,600. The agreement also guarantees yearly minimum wage increases of 2.25 to 2.50 percent through 2020. For graduate employees at NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, some of whom currently make only $10 an hour, hourly wages will increase to $15 next fall and reach $20 by 2020. Those employees will also receive a $1,500 bonus for work done over the past three semesters.

* Diving into the weeds: Is University of Oklahoma frat’s racist chant protected by 1st Amendment? 5 Ways Fraternities Are Wielding Major Influence Over University Administrations. A decade of bad press hasn’t hurt fraternity membership numbers. A Brief and Recent History of Bigotry at Fraternities.

Where has all the money gone? The decline in faculty salaries at American colleges and universities over the past 40 years.

* Flexible online education can never fail, it can only be failed.

* Small Private College Shuts Down, Donates Campus to the University of Iowa.

* Mass Firings in History at Boise State.

* The eco-optimists.

The U.S. is being overrun by a wave of anti-science, anti-intellectual thinking. Has the most powerful nation on Earth lost its mind?

Florida Officials Ban The Term ‘Climate Change.’

Climate Change Is Altering Everything About The Way Water Is Provided In Salt Lake City.

* The Desertification of Mongolia. Still not done, more links below.

futuristic-archaeology-7

* Introducing the Gawker Media SecureDrop.

* Buffy is old enough to go through that weird test they make Slayers go through when they turn 18.

White candidates with degrees from less-selective universities can expect to get a response every 9 résumés, while equally qualified black candidates need to submit 15.

* Is Scott Walker the most dangerous man in America?

* The troubled history of the foreskin.

* I’m honestly amazed the insurers were letting Harrison Ford fly small planes to begin with.

* In the U.S., a notary public does unglamorous legal drudge work. But in many Latin American countries, a notario is an ill-defined but powerful figure with broad legal authority, often someone with the connections needed to navigate bureaucracies that, while arcane, are also flexible. Unscrupulous notarios in the U.S. exploit these facts to con immigrants into believing that all it takes to finally get legal is the right person to file the paperwork.

* Emily Yoffe has another piece at Slate arguing against the current approach to sexual assault at colleges, this time framed around The Hunting Ground.

* English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet.

* Dystopia in our time: “Why Buzzfeed Is The Most Important News Organization in the World.”

* The end of cable: HBO is coming to Apple TV.

* I have altered the Expanded Universe. Pray I do not alter it further. But at least progress marches on.

* Gasp! Airbnb Is Making Things Worse for LA Renters.

* Meritocracy watch: Chelsea Clinton Absolutely Open to Running for Office.

How Reddit Became a Worse Black Hole of Violent Racism than Stormfront.

* “A simple design fluke and marketing are afoot here. When Gard accidentally increased her breast size by 150 percent, the creative team insisted it was maintained. The parent company’s marketing team found this to be a boon to breaking through the noise that would buoy their success.”

Porntopia: A trip to the Adult Video News Awards.

* Interview with a Torturer.

In 1923, Daylight Saving Time Was Actually Illegal In Some States. It’s time to make daylight saving time year-round. PFT speaks.

The salary you need to buy a home in 27 U.S. cities.

These maps show where the world’s youngest and oldest people live.

Ottawa doctors behind breakthrough multiple sclerosis study. This sounds amazing. I hope it’s true.

* Coming this October: Back in Time: The Back to the Future documentary.

* You know, like Ghostbusters, but Ph-balanced for a man.

* Scenes from the class struggle at NBC News.

Day-in, day-out, Calvin keeps running into evidence that the world isn’t built to his (and our) specifications. All humor is, in one way or another, about our resistance to that evidence. The Moral Philosophy of Calvin and Hobbes.

Men make their own brackets, but they do not make them as they please. Marx Madness. Via MarxFi.

* And they say our culture is no longer capable of producing great things.

MM-Bracket

Written by gerrycanavan

March 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links!

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* Marquette English’s course offerings for summer and fall 2015, including my courses on Science Fiction as Genre, J.R.R. Tolkien, and American Literature after the American Century.

* Speaking of my courses, this is such an incredible answer to the last few weeks of my cultural preservation course I almost feel as though I somehow made it up.

* An amazing late comment on my Universities, Mismanagement, and Permanent Crisis post, including some great commentary on the Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

* My review isn’t coming for a few months, but I really loved Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora. I can’t wait to talk to people about it. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll keep my mouth shut for now.

* If you want a vision of the future: Sweet Briar College, Citing ‘Financial Challenges,’ Will Close Its Doors in August. (More, more.Clarkson U., Union Graduate College Explore Merger. It’s Final: UNC Board of Governors Votes To Close Academic Centers. Jindal cuts higher ed by 78%.

Where has all the money gone? The decline in faculty salaries at American colleges and universities over the past 40 years.

* It’s always “the end of college.”

* “De-tenure.” Don’t worry, it’s just another regrettable drafting error!

Why we occupy: Dutch universities at the crossroads.

The academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has focused largely on how fake undergraduate classes helped athletes maintain their eligibility to compete. In an article in The News & Observer over the weekend, a former UNC official says athletics officials also sometimes asked the university’s graduate school to bend the rules to admit athletes in order to extend their eligibility.

* This is the best Dean of Eureka Moments post yet. Maybe literally the best possible.

* College admissions and former inmates.

* Nine out of ten startups fail, which is why every institution in society should be converted to the startup model immediately.

The Search for a Useable Past: An Interview with Paul Buhle on Radical America.

* The politicization of even the idea of knowledge.

Michigan Frat’s 48-Hour Rager Wrecks Resort, Causes $430,000 in Damages.

* Le Guin vs. Ishiguo: “Are they going to say this is fantasy?”

* The United States of Megadrought: If you think that California is dry now, wait till the 2050s.

US sea level north of New York City ‘jumped by 128mm.’

A Major Surge in Atmospheric Warming Is Probably Coming in the Next Five Years.

* Vox considers the end of American democracy: 1, 2.

* Against the West Wing.

* Against “learning styles.”

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules. Hillary Clinton’s personal email account looks bad now. But it was even worse at the time.

* …whose frown / And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command / Tell that its sculptor well those passions read / Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things…

Why aren’t the seven witnesses to Dendinger’s nonexistent assault on Cassard already facing felony charges? Why are all but one of the cops who filed false reports still wearing badges and collecting paychecks? Why aren’t the attorneys who filed false reports facing disbarment? Dendinger’s prosecutors both filed false reports, then prosecuted Dendinger based on the reports they knew were false. They should be looking for new careers — after they get out of jail.

When A Newspaper Gave Blade Runner‘s Replicant Test To Mayor Candidates.

* “An ode to Juiceboxxx, a 27-year-old rapper from Milwaukee no one’s ever heard of.”

* “When Your Father Is the BTK Serial Killer, Forgiveness Is Not Tidy.”

Scott Walker Wants To Stop Funding Renewable Energy Research Center. Of course he does.

Defense Bill Passes, Giving Sacred Native American Sites To Mining Company.

The forgotten masterpieces of African modernism.

Man gets life in prison for selling $20 worth of weed to undercover cop.

* Justice department determines Ferguson is a terrible place.

* Wrong way Obama?

* The Americans and austerity.

* Two ways of looking at income inequality.

* How a French insurer wrote the worst contract in the world and sold it to thousands of clients.

* Teach students about consent in high school.

Vermont Town May Allow 16- And 17-Year-Olds To Vote In Local Elections.

* Crunching the numbers: How Long Can A Spinoff Like ‘Better Call Saul’ Last?

What Marvel Characters End Up Being Called In Other Languages.

Panpsychism’s Labyrinth.

* Careers of the future: professional dumpster diver.

* It’s where those parallel lives diverge, though, that might provide a lasting new insight. Beginning on the day in 1968 when Jack was drafted and Jeff was not, Jack suffered a series of shifts and setbacks that his brother managed to avoid: two years serving stateside in the military, an early marriage, two children in quick succession, a difficult divorce, and finally, in the biggest blow of all, the sudden death of his teenage son. After these key divergences in their lives, Jack went on to develop not only Parkinson’s but two other diseases that Jeff was spared, glaucoma and prostate cancer. The twins place great stock in these divergences, believing they might explain their medical trajectories ever since. Scientists are trying to figure out whether they could be right.

* The globalist sublime.

Mars One colonists better off eating frozen pizza than local veggies.

Local Lab In Berkeley Accidentally Discovers Solution To Fix Color Blindness.

Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.

How the MFA Glut Is a Disservice to Students, Teachers, and Writers.

But there’s another breed of MFA program out there, proliferating constantly. These programs have nearly 100% admittance rates, fund zero percent of their students, collect outrageously high tuition, and often pay their instructors very little. And because there are so many people (rightly or wrongly) clamoring for MFAs, they have no incentive for standards, either—no incentive to reject any person, no matter how badly they write. One person’s money is as green as the next, after all. If you’ve received an undergraduate degree and can type on a computer, you’re in.

10-Year-Old Math Genius Studying for University Degree.

* The Last Man on Earth really shouldn’t work. And yet…

Officials at Arizona State University probably weren’t expecting the full Stormfront treatment when its English department advertised a spring semester class exploring the “problem of whiteness.”

No shades of grey in teaching relationships.

* Pendulum keeps swinging: Now Americans Should Drink Much More Coffee.

* But not Keurig.

* It’s been so long so I posted one of these I haven’t even linked to anything about the dress yet.

In 1971, William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide to making bombs and drugs at home. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print.

* Why Americans Don’t Care About Prison Rape.

Robear: the bear-shaped nursing robot who’ll look after you when you get old. What could possibly go wrong?

* The invention of blue.

In the 1800s, Courts Tried to Enforce Partnerships With Dolphins.

* The 16 Strangest Dragons In Dungeons & Dragons.

* Mark your everythings: Community comes back March 17.

* First the gorilla who punched the photographer, now this.

* Wes Anderson’s X-Men.

* Abra kazam.

* LLAP.

* And the arc of history is long, but: North Carolina Legalizes Call Girls For Politicians.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 4, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Night Links!

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* Call for applications: The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* Happy birthday, OEB.

* Coming soon at Marquette: “Barrel Rides and She-Elves: Audience and “Anticipation” in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy.” And this Thursday: Marquette English alum Adam Plantinga reads from his book 400 Things Cops Know.

* Great syllabus at Temple: Cli-fi: Science fiction, climate change, and apocalypse. The students’ blog is really good too, though I’m embarrassed that between the time I found this link and the time I posted it they added a post about me to the front page.

* “These are the best college majors if you actually want a job after graduation.” That “actually” is a great example of the kind of ludicrous framing that plagues these discussions; it’s talking about the difference between 90 and 95% employment.

* On the job market while pregnant, or, maybe the worst abuse of the famously abusive academic job market.

None of my new colleagues spoke to me as if I were a junior professional working my way through the tough lean days of youth. Most of them spoke to me, if at all, like I was a dog. Carrie Shanafelt on adjunctification in/and/as the profession.

* Peter Railton’s Dewey Lecture.

* International Adjunct Walkout Day is tomorrow. More links below the map.

B-oeb4cUYAAs0Iz

So Your Fic is Required Reading.

* The Grand Wes Anderson Playlist.

* Paging Dr. Crake: “Why Genghis Khan was good for the planet.” A friend on Facebook who works on climate and energy told me that there’s even a theory that first contact with the Americas and the resulting mass death may have led to global cooling in the 16th and 17th centuries due to reforestation.

Officials Urge Americans To Sort Plastics, Glass Into Separate Oceans.

* The law, in its majestic equality: People who have been stripped of benefits could be charged by the government for trying to appeal against the decision to an independent judge.

Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site. This is insane.

* UW, Morality, and the Public Authority.

The High Price of a Public Authority in Wisconsin.

If the public authority is actually an idea worth pursuing, then UW leadership should push to get it off the fast track. And it must give some substance to its so far empty defense of Chapter 36.

* Letter from an adjunct at UW.

Legislative staffers report that total UC spending from all sources of revenue went up 40 percent from 2007-08 to the present fiscal year — far greater growth than seen in other large state institutions. This undercuts Napolitano’s claims of poverty and shores up critics who say UC has slack, unfocused management. Amazingly, officials struggle to detail exactly where much of UC’s current $26.9 billion budget goes. They can’t say how many faculty members primarily engage in research and how many primarily teach students — which is supposed to be UC’s core function.

Institutions Adrift: Dealing with Declining State Appropriations at Kentucky’s Regional Comprehensive Universities.

* UNC moves to crush its poverty center.

Idaho financial aid officer arrested for offering students scholarships in exchange for sex. Whenever I see a story like this I think about how many signatures they make me get to be reimbursed for things they told me to buy.

SUNY grad says school made her prosecute her own sex attacker.

Marquette economist says there’s no economic reason to argue for right to work in Wisconsin. Hahahahahahaha.

* Privilege and the madness of chance.

Supermarket shoppers are more likely to buy French wine when French music is playing, and to buy German wine when they hear German music. That’s true even though only 14 percent of shoppers say they noticed the music, a study finds.

Researchers discovered that candidates for medical school interviewed on sunny days received much higher ratings than those interviewed on rainy days. Being interviewed on a rainy day was a setback equivalent to having an MCAT score 10 percent lower, according to a new book called “Everyday Bias,” by Howard J. Ross.

Those studies are a reminder that we humans are perhaps less rational than we would like to think, and more prone to the buffeting of unconscious influences. That’s something for those of us who are white men to reflect on when we’re accused of “privilege.”

* Why Just Filling the Pipeline Won’t Diversify STEM Fields.

These dream guns indicate the depth of white America’s fear of black resistance. But black people are allowed to take part “safely” in gun culture if we agree to become the avatars of respectable, state-sanctioned violence, with military recruiters in our high schools and colleges, and police recruiters outside subway stations and unemployment offices.

The Silk Road might have started as a libertarian experiment, but it was doomed to end as a fiefdom run by pirate kings.

* The most important legal scholar you’ve likely never heard of.

At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside. I think Freddie’s comments on this were pretty smart.

These people become invulnerable, their commodification impregnable: there is no critique from within privilege theory that they cannot turn around on others, and no critique from outside of it that they cannot dismiss as itself the hand of privilege.

* Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is up for reelection tomorrow, promising to continue his campaign against public education in the city.

America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776.

* “Let’s stop pretending going to Mars is for mankind.”

Much scientific discovery is for the betterment, amusement and curiosity of a lucky few in this world. Those without water, meanwhile, are temporarily forgotten

The sad part is we’re rich enough to do both and we choose to do neither.

* Rortyblog: Everyone should take it easy on the robot stuff for a while.

Steven Spielberg Has Been Thanked More Than God in Oscar Acceptance Speeches. God actually only clocks in at #6.

Dead for 48 minutes, Catholic Priest claims God is female. Oh, that must be why.

Archaeologists Discover a Cheese That’s Almost 2,000 Years Older Than Jesus.

* When Instagram brings down your congressman.

Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher. GASP.

Jeb Bush Conveniently Started Promoting Fracking After Investing In It. GAAAAAAASP.

Žižek on Syriza. He’s also being interviewed at LARoB this week.

* Meanwhile, in Jacobin: The strategy of Syriza’s leadership has failed miserably. But it’s not too late to avert total defeat.

Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.

* Starbucks to consider maybe possibly abolishing the “clopening” unless employees want to “step up.”

* The 2014 Nebula Award nominees have been announced.

How did Twitter become the hate speech wing of the free speech party?

* Sexism and the tech industry: Women are leaving the tech industry in droves.

* The other other side of sperm donation: Sperm Donors Are Winning Visitation Rights.

* Comedy Bang! Bang! and WTF remember Harris Wittels. I thought Scott’s opening to Harris’s last CBB was especially good.

* Another big outlet takes a trip inside the men’s rights movement.

Algorithmic States of Exception.

Holy Hell This Power Rangers Reboot Is Dark As F*ck. Vimeo has taken down the NSFW version but you can still get it in the embed at Joseph Kahn’s Twitter for some reason.

* On a less disturbing note, I watched The Ecstasy of Order for my games class on Tetris today, and it was great.

blog_work_family_conflict* Men Complain Far More Than Women About Work-Family Conflicts.

*‘Two and a Half Men’: TV’s Worst Sitcom Ends As Terribly As It Lived, and I Watched Every Episode.

Two and Half Men hit a new low every season and then continued to sink even further underground.

* Birdman is your best movie of all time apparently. It’s already paying dividends. OR IS IT.

* “Alejandro González Iñárritu is a pretentious fraud, but it’s taken some time to understand the precise nature of his fraudulence.” Oh, come on, it wasn’t Grand Budapest but it was fine.

* I really needed to see this again today.

* Glenn Reynolds goes full Heinlein. Never go full Heinlein.

* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Over Five And A Half Billion Uruks Have Been Slain In Shadow of Mordor.

“Mass Incarceration, Deportation, Stop and Frisk: The Urban Ecology of the Prison-Industrial Complex.”

* And Britons would rather be an academic than a Hollywood star. Me too, but maybe I’ll hear Spielberg out.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Junior Associate Dean of Closing All My Tabs Links

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jpeg* The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction is “temporarily out of stock,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t place your order! Cyborg Lincoln commands it!

* #SnomgIcanteven2015. Good luck, East Coast!

The Day the Purpose of College Changed. Great piece. I’ve added it to Wednesday’s reading in the Cultural Preservation course, alongside readings from Bérubé and Bousquet that I added to the syllabus this year.

* The idea behind it is simple: Get donations, and give them to contingent faculty members in need.

Scott Walker can’t afford to let Bobby Jindal be the only candidate in the race who destroyed education in his state. And while we’re on the subject: Dropkick Murphys Order Scott Walker To Stop Using Their Music: ‘We Literally Hate You!’

I’m going to have to differ with former president Clinton and possible future president Bush. To me, Arizona State looks like a dystopia, rather than a model for the future. ASU is pretty clearly set up as a factory of credentialing, and any lip-service to educational excellence, particularly in the undergraduate sphere, is exactly that.

* What provosts think. The crucial takeaway: Say Nothing if you Want a Job. Elsewhere in academic freedom: Fox News Raises Alarm Over College Course About Race. Other universities could stand to learn something from ASU’s statement on the subject:

The university, however, issued a statement Friday after the segment, reading:

This course uses literature and rhetoric to look at how stories shape people’s understandings and experiences of race. It encourages students to examine how people talk about — or avoid talking about — race in the contemporary United States. This is an interdisciplinary course, so students will draw on history, literature, speeches and cultural changes — from scholarly texts to humor. The class is designed to empower students to confront the difficult and often thorny issues that surround us today and reach thoughtful conclusions rather than display gut reactions. A university is an academic environment where we discuss and debate a wide array of viewpoints.

* Of course, in addition to everything else ASU is also the school that’s trying to force its composition adjuncts into a 5/5 workload with minimal salary increase, so I’m not going to lose my mind defending it or anything.

Part everyman tale, as far as English departments go, and part lesson in unintended consequences, Maryland English’s story looks something like this. Between 1996 and 2011, the number of majors actually grew, from 641 to 850 students. Then the university rolled out a new, faculty-backed general education program. Unlike the old general education program, which centered on the liberal arts and required a literature course, the new one offers students much more flexibility in how to fulfill their various requirements. So students who aren’t interested in the liberal arts can much more easily avoid them. Part of the idea was to take some of the burden off departments, such as English, that fulfilled requirements for many students under the old system. Faculty members generally supported the idea.

But then the numbers got funny. In the spring of 2012, the English department lost 88 majors. The following year, it lost 79 – then 128 more majors 12 months later. Between spring and fall 2014, 66 more majors fell from the rolls. Over all, the department lost 363 majors — about 40 percent — and the numbers continue to fall. I basically get called out personally as the article goes on:

One of the more controversial departmental reform topics is how to change the English program itself, including by creating more recruitment-oriented, lower-level courses. Cartwright said there’s a demonstrated interest in updated versions of Great Books courses, but also in what he said some have called “zombie courses” – pejoratively, not descriptively. Those include courses on such popular genres as science fiction, fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkein, regional literature or children’s literature.

Cartwright said there’s some feeling among his colleagues that such offerings equate to “dumbing down” the curriculum. But he said others feel there’s value in meeting students “where they are.” And of course there are professors whose areas of expertise are in those fields and vouch for their importance.

* Rise of the medical humanities.

* Associate Dean of Eureka Moments. Now accepting applications.

The children of the rich and powerful are increasingly well suited to earning wealth and power themselves. That’s a problem. A Hereditary Meritocracy.

Greek Conservative Spokesman Concedes Defeat to Anti-Austerity Left. Greece: Phase One. I guess I’ll take the “Eeyore” side of the bet:

Audio edition of Pacific Edge, the most uplifting novel in my library. KSR!

* How Amazon series misreads The Man in the High Castle. I’m glad someone got to this thinkypiece before I did; I’m crossing it off my list.

* The State department wants Frozen PSAs to finally convince the powerful children’s voting bloc to support climate change legislation.

A new wave of videogames offers lessons in powerlessness, scarcity and inevitable failure. What makes them so compelling? And from the archives: Desert Bus: The Very Worst Video Game Ever Created.

Free speech, and other things that cost $91,000,000.00.

* Massive open online sexual harassment.

* Sex, anxiety, and Big Data.

Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.

The bacteria at USC depend on energy, too, but they obtain it in a fundamentally different fashion. They don’t breathe in the sense that you and I do. In the most extreme cases, they don’t consume any conventional food, either. Instead, they power themselves in the most elemental way: by eating and breathing electricity. You were supposed to find us bacteria that eat garbage and shit electricity. I swear to god, I don’t know what you scientists are even doing sometimes.

American Sniper is a racist, militaristic movie. But it has much to teach us if we want to build a successful antiwar movement. Learning from American Sniper.

* Why they throw subway cars away in the ocean.

They Are Not Ghosts: On the Representation of the Indigenous Peoples of North America in Science Fiction & Fantasy.

* Great video bringing a kid’s imagination to life.

Andrew Cuomo rips teacher unions as selfish ‘industry’ more interested in members’ rights than student needs. #ReadyforCuomo

When the Boss Says, ‘Don’t Tell Your Coworkers How Much You Get Paid.’

* Gasp: Rationale for anti-ACA case continues to unravel.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 15: Wellness.

* “No king, no king, lalalala” in three dozen languages. Apropos of nothing, of course.

* Ninth Circuit Panel Suggests Perjury Prosecution For Lying Prosecutors. You mean that’s not the rule already?

* The age of miracles: Near-Impossible Super Mario World Glitch Done For First Time on SNES.

The murderers of Charlie Hebdo prove that Puritan thugs (broadly defined) do in fact exist. However, this does not mean (contra McKinney and his supporters, educated and otherwise) that all those speaking out against Puritan thugs are beyond reproach. Nor does it place a seal forever upon the righteousness of comics creators or comics scholars. Is comics scholarship an academic field devoted to the understanding and discussion of comics, bringing a wide range of knowledge and approaches to a complicated, sometimes beautiful, sometimes flawed, sometimes undervalued, and perhaps sometimes overvalued medium? Or is comics scholarship to be devoted to boosterism, advocacy, and sacralization?If Charlie Hebdo’s accomplishment was to fight against all priesthoods, then surely it does them little honor to try to set up a priesthood in their name, handing down stern pronouncements about how their work must be read and understood.

Wikipedia Purged a Group of Feminist Editors Because of Gamergate.

* Great moments in he said/she said: Maybe Drunk, Sleeping Woman Wanted to Be Set on Fire.

Within two seconds of the car’s arrival, Officer Loehmann shot Tamir in the abdomen from point-blank range, raising doubts that he could have warned the boy three times to raise his hands, as the police later claimed.

* No touching.

Within two seconds of the car’s arrival, Officer Loehmann shot Tamir in the abdomen from point-blank range, raising doubts that he could have warned the boy three times to raise his hands, as the police later claimed.

* Deflategate by the numbers: Data Show The Patriots Have Fumbled The Ball Far Less Than Any Other NFL Team.

* How to write like J.K. Rowling.

* The headline reads, “Pope Uses Balloons As Peace Symbols After Dove Debacle.”

Pope Francis Wants To Cross The U.S.-Mexico Border As A ‘Beautiful Gesture Of Brotherhood.’

* The New Measles: One of the most infectious viruses on the planet is making a comeback in the United States, and many doctors have never even seen it. How Anti-Vaxxers Ruined Disneyland For Themselves (And Everyone Else.) Measles is horrible.

* The idea that a major problem with climate change is “sunburn” is just so incredibly, blisteringly stupid I doubt I’ll ever sleep again.

* More bad news: Negative tweets mean you’re probably going to die of a heart attack, study says.

* I’ve let so many tabs pile up since my last link post I have no choice but to do a “nightmare headlines” lightning round: Burglar gets 30 years in prison for raping 101-year-old woman in home. Father of ailing twins can only donate his liver to one of them. Vanderbilt Woman Didn’t Think She’d Been Raped Until She Saw Video Of It. Nearly two dozen cats seized from a Md. home, then euthanized touches off a furor. Prison Visitor Says Guards Made Her Prove She Was Menstruating By Letting Them Inspect Her Vagina. Ocean Warming Now Off The Charts. Here’s A Spider So Awful You’ll Wish It Would Only Bite You To Death.

* Mamas, don’t let your cities grow up to be gambling metropolises.

* Weird op-ed (linking to Serial) that seems to argue that extreme prosecutorial coercion through overcharging and oversentencing is a feature, rather than a bug. That said, I’d thought the podcast itself had explicitly explained why strangulation is associated with “premeditation,” though perhaps that’s only something I saw on Reddit.

* #serialseason2: Who killed Padmé Amidala? I actually like this theory fan rewrite a lot.

* George Lucas said Disney killed all his ideas for New Star Wars movies. Okay, so they did one thing right.

* The precession of simulacra: Car Manufacturers Have Been Faking Our Engine Noises.

* Peak Vox, but I actually found it interesting: Here are 9 surprising facts about feces you may not know.

Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet.

Median weekly earnings by educational attainment in 2014.

Federal Prison Sentence Begins for Anti-Drone Activist.

* You don’t really believe microeconomics of the American public sector has changed in the last twelve months, do you?

* The Princess Bride, the new film from Francois Truffaut.

* The Star Wars tipping point.

* How to tell if you are in a High Fantasy novel.

Would Crashing Through a Wall Actually Kill the Kool-Aid Man?

* My current favorite video: Marquette in the 1980s.

* And here they all are, together forever. All 1,547 Star Trek lens flares.

Course Descriptions for Fall 2015 (Yes, Already!)

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Course Number: 4610/5610
Course Title & Subtitle: Individual Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien
Course Description: This decade will see the hundredth anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest writings on Middle-Earth (The Book of Lost Tales, begun in 1917) alongside the completion of Peter Jackson’s career-defining twenty-year project to adapt The Lord of the Rings for film (1995-2015). This course asks the question: Who is J.R.R. Tolkien, looking backward from the perspective of the twenty-first century? Why have his works, and the genre of heroic fantasy which he remade so completely in his image, remained so intensely popular, even as the world has transformed around them? Our study will primarily trace the history, development, and reception of Tolkien’s incredible magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings (written 1937-1949, published 1954-1955)—but we will also take up Tolkien’s contested place in the literary canon of the twentieth century, the uses and abuses of Tolkien in Jackson’s blockbuster films, and the ongoing critical interests and investments of Tolkien fandom today. As Tolkien scholars we will also have the privilege of drawing upon the remarkable J.R.R. Tolkien Collection at the Raynor Library here at Marquette, which contains the original manuscripts for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Farmer Giles of Ham.
Major Readings: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and selected additional readings
Assignments: two shorter papers, one final paper, weekly forum posts, one presentation, class participation

 

Course Number: 6700
Course Title & Subtitle: Studies in Twentieth Century American Literature: American Literature after the American Century
Course Description: In 1941, Time Magazine publisher Henry Luce called upon the twentieth century to be “the first great American Century,” and it’s been ending ever since. This course takes up American literary and cultural studies from the post-everything standpoint of the “after.” What is it to study American literature today, after the American Century, after American exceptionalism, after modernity, after the university, after the idea of the future itself? Our shared investigation into contemporary critical and scholarly practices will focus on key controversies in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary study, including the ongoing reevaluation of “the canon” (Lolita), popular culture studies (The Body Snatchers), identity and identity politics (Dawn), nationalism and transnationalism (Tropic of Orange), postmodernity and neoliberalism (the short stories of David Foster Wallace), and ecocriticism in the Anthropocene (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves). Our reading will also draw heavily on recent scholarship in critical theory, especially “the new American studies” and the emerging discipline of critical university studies. Alongside weekly reflections and enthusiastic class participation, students in this course will produce a 15-20 page seminar paper on a subject of their choosing related to the themes of the course, as well as present their work to their peers in a conference-presentation format and develop a sample syllabus for an undergraduate course in American literary or cultural studies.
Readings: Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Jack Finney, The Body Snatchers; Octavia E. Butler, Dawn; Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange; Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; the short stories of David Foster Wallace; selected additional readings
Assignments: weekly reflections, class participation, conference-style presentation, seminar paper (15-20 pages), sample syllabus

Closing All My Tabs Before I Flee The Country Links

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* The new issue of Extrapolation is out! This one was put together before I was an editor, but it’s still really great stuff.

* CFPs: Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2015. Tolkien at the University of Vermont. The Marquette Undergraduate Humanities Conference.

* Dear English Major: A 7-Step Guide to Your Final Semester as an English Major.

* It’s syllabus prep week at universities all across America. Here’s a provocative one from Vanderbilt: PHIL 213: Police Violence and Mass Incarceration.

* #MLA: Every Time You Fly, You Trash The Planet — And There’s No Easy Fix.

Solidarity without Affect: The MLA Subconference Enters Its Second Year. Via Freddie deBoer.

* Give me the child at 18 or so, and I will give you the man: Nine Percent of 114th U.S. Congress Are Alumni of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory.

California colleges see surge in efforts to unionize adjunct faculty. Washington University adjunct faculty vote to form a union.

Is depression a kind of allergic reaction?

* Why we can’t have nice things, 2015 edition: The Senate’s 46 Democrats got 20 million more votes than its 54 Republicans.

Pot Tax Adds $40+ Million To Colorado’s Economy: Crime, Traffic Deaths And Unemployment Are Down.

The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls.

* Great moments in headcanon, Guardians of the Galaxy edition.

* I say teach the controversy: “Creationist: Aliens Will Go to Hell and Not Even Jesus Can Save Them.”

* Actual Supreme Court decisions: To remain silent, one must first speak.

* Dog bites man: 2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record Globally By Far.

On the 60th anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” the Los Angeles Review of Books has assembled a group of female authors, artists and performers who, dedicated to examining the faces, bodies and voices of the young girl, consider the significance of Nabokov’s pubescent protagonist as both a literary conceit and an object of patriarchal fetish.

* The process used is ridiculous and would result in termination if used.

As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ‘em free.

Here’s a comic strip about children dying of preventable diseases.

* Horrible attack on a satirical magazine in Paris.

A Colorado NAACP Office Was Bombed Today. A gasoline can near the bomb, apparently intended as a firebomb, failed to ignite.

People diagnosed with serious mental illness — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression — die 20 years early, on average, because of a combination of lousy medical care, smoking, lack of exercise, complications of medication, suicide, and accidents. They are the most discriminated-against and neglected group in the U.S., which has become probably the worst place in the developed world to be mentally ill.

In Defense of Prince Hans.

Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake.

* How doctors die.

Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized.

The Suburbanization of the US Working Class.

Few things we criminalize because they are ‘harmful’ are anywhere close as harmful as prison.

How White Liberals Used Civil Rights to Create More Prisons.

Ferguson Grand Juror Sues Prosecutor To Lift Gag Order.

“The little girl come to my door,” 71-year-old Larry Wilkins told NBC News. “She told me that her mom and her dad were dead, and she was in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down. She asked if she could stay here.”

“I’m no longer watching television in which middle-aged men figure out how to be men. I’d rather watch shows about teenaged girls figuring out what it means to be a monster.”

* Gender, blah, blah, blah.

A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below 25 grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those earning more than 150 grand a year give away only 2.7 percent. A UCLA neuroscientist named Keely Muscatell has published an interesting paper showing that wealth quiets the nerves in the brain associated with empathy: If you show rich people and poor people pictures of kids with cancer, the poor people’s brains exhibit a great deal more activity than the rich people’s. (An inability to empathize with others has just got to be a disadvantage for any rich person seeking political office, at least outside of New York City.) “As you move up the class ladder,” says Keltner, “you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others. Straightforward economic analyses have trouble making sense of this pattern of results.”

Our New Politics of Torture.

The Cost of US Wars Since 9/11: a mere $1.6 Trillion.

The CIA has to approve every script for spy drama The Americans.

* Here’s what’s in the new issue of The Journal of Puerile Mathematics.

* Preach! Scientists Agree Work Makes You Wake Up Too Early.

United States Passes Old Soviet Union For Largest Prison System In History.

“Police Shoot, Kill [X].”

Visibility As Violence On Social Media.

‘Bullsh*t jobs’: Guerrilla posters welcome commuters back to work.

In Preventing Trans Suicides, ‘We Have Such A Long Way To Go.’

The True Cost of Teach For America’s Impact on Urban Schools.

* I can’t believe I’d never read this before: the original script to Back to the Future is wonderfully bananas, including the “nuke the fridge” scene from Crystal Skull thrown in as a sweetener.

* Peak neoliberalism: eventheliberal Kevin Drum says an AI revolution that will be “pretty brutal for the 90 percent of the population that occupies the middle classes and below” will be a “basically positive” development.

* PS: Drum might have been overestimating the timetable here. In 10 years, your job might not exist.

The paper makes no claims about in-person classes or very large online courses, but says that the study’s findings provide “the first evidence that increasing class sizes in the online context may not degrade the quality of the class.” And the paper says that “these results could have important policy and financial implications.”

‘Philosophy is for posh, white boys with trust funds’ – why are there so few women?

What To Do When You Discover Your Co-Worker Writes Erotic Hulk Fanfic.

Anti-terror plan to spy on toddlers ‘is heavy-handed.’ Well, that’s debatable.

67 Science Fiction And Fantasy Movies To Watch Out For In 2015.

The 20 Worst Films Of 2014.

The 10 Most Insignificant Wars in History.

A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil Into Lake Michigan For Two Months Straight.

* Our Animal Hell.

Police say at least 30 people are sleeping permanently in Madrid airport’s terminal 4 but the number goes up in winter.

In 1997 the Swedish parliament wrote into law a “Vision Zero” plan, promising to eliminate road fatalities and injuries altogether. “We simply do not accept any deaths or injuries on our roads,” says Hans Berg of the national transport agency. Swedes believe—and are now proving—that they can have mobility and safety at the same time.

* Cell Phones Don’t Seem to Cause Brain Cancer.

We lost our son to football and brain disease. This is our story.

They Might Be Giants, Again: The Adult Comeback of a Cult Band. Even Dial-a-Song is back.

* Science fiction poetry: “Sci-Fi Violence.”

Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate.

* Star Trek: The Next Generation in forty hours.

* It’s good to get ahead of things: Should Martians Pay U.S. Taxes?

“Hold for release till end of the world confirmed.”

* And the winner of the Worst Thing Written in 2015 has been announced. Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you again in 2016.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 7, 2015 at 8:30 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Links!

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* Somebody thinks 2015 could be a doozy: Treasury Department Seeking Survival Kits For Bank Employees.

* Trends We Can Work With: Higher Ed in 2015.

* Remembering the reason for the season: During Holiday Season, City Erects Cages To Keep Homeless People Off Benches.

Christmas Eve Document Dump Reveals US Spy Agencies Broke The Law And Violated Privacy.

But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true. Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black.”

Ending excessive police force starts with new rules of engagement.

What Does It Mean to Be Anti-Police?

How to Survive a Cop Coup: What Bill de Blasio Can Learn From Ecuador.

“It has been alleged that Officer Kattner has used his position as a peace officer to contact known female prostitutes and compel them to perform sexual acts while working an extra job.”

And whether or not people accept it, that new normal—public life and mass surveillance as a default—will become a component of the ever-widening socioeconomic divide. Privacy as we know it today will become a luxury commodity. Opting out will be for the rich.

“Enhanced interrogation” is torture, American style. Exceptional torture. Torture that insists it is not torture. Post-torture? This uniquely American kind of torture has six defining characteristics.

* “The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled”: In praise of The Usual Suspects.

* Decades of Bill Cosby’s shadow ops.

Justice Denied to Steven Salaita: A Critique of the University of Illinois Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure Report. This was my reaction as well.

* Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US.

* Are ideas to cool the planet realistic? Meanwhile: Pope Francis Could Be Climate’s Secret Weapon Next Year.

The architecture of dissent.

* The red state economic miracle that wasn’t.

* Airlines want you to suffer.

* Games are ancient, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. But their stock is not rising at the rate that their fans’ Twitter streams and Web forums might suggest. Instead of a ludic age, perhaps we have entered an era of shredded media. Some forms persist more than others, but more than any one medium, we are surrounded by the rough-edged bits and pieces of too many media to enumerate. Writing, images, aphorisms, formal abstraction, collage, travesty. Photography, cinema, books, music, dance, games, tacos, cats, car services. If anything, there has never been a weirder, more disorienting, and more lively time to be a creator and a fanatic of media in all their varieties. Why ruin the moment by being the one trying to get everyone to play a game while we’re letting the flowers blossom? A ludic century need not be a century of games. Instead, it can just be a century. With games in it.

* Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed. Migrant World Cup workers in Qatar are reportedly dying at alarming rates.

* Enterprise, TOS, and “the scent of death” on the Federation.

* How Kazuo Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks.

I am no fan of the North Korean regime. However I believe that calling out a foreign nation over a cybercrime of this magnitude should never have been undertaken on such weak evidence.

* Longreads best crime reporting 2014.

A Drone Flew Over A Pig Farm.

The black and African writer is expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant. This gives their literature weight, but dooms it with monotony. Who wants to constantly read a literature of suffering, of heaviness? Those living through it certainly don’t; the success of much lighter fare among the reading public in Africa proves this point. Maybe it is those in the west, whose lives are untouched by such suffering, who find occasional spice and flirtation with such a literature. But this tyranny of subject may well lead to distortion and limitation.

* I’m a pretty big fan of “Jean & Scott”: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

* A profile of David Letterman from 1981.

How Colonel Sanders Became Father Christmas in Japan.

* The Song of Saruman.

The filmmakers’ cartoonishly evil vision of Saruman is unfortunate, as it deprives a fascinating narrative of its complexity, while also being untrue to Tolkien’s own vision. Jackson and his team seem incapable of imagining that a person can be wrong without also being evil. For example, the Master of Lake-town in The Hobbit was greedy, but he was an elected official, generally well regarded by the community (at least until he absconds with the municipal funds, a fact revealed only on the last page of the book); in the film The Desolation of Smaug, he is a murderous tyrant who opposes even the idea of elections. An even worse example is the case of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, who in the books has been driven mad by grief and despair, partly owing to the cruel machinations of Sauron himself; in the film (The Return of the King), he is made so irredeemably evil that Gandalf actually attacks him, while we the viewers are expected to cheer. If this is what Jackson does to weak and pitiable characters, what must he do to Saruman, who is a legitimate “bad guy” in The Lord of the Rings?

Quiz: Find out how your salary stacks up against other American workers. You know, fun.

L.A. studio to restore venerable ‘King’s Quest’ to its gaming throne.

* Is the anti-vax movement finally dying?

* You can’t beat the media at its own game.

* America’s own 7 Up: Johns Hopkins’s Beginning School Study.

* Sober People against New Year’s Eve SuperPAC.

* And of course you had me at Grant Morrson’s All-New Miracleman Annual #1.

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