Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Transformers

Blogging from the Mid-Atlantic, But the Other Way

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An awakening anatomy of the average life’s two years of boredom, 6 months of watching commercials, 67 days of heartbreak, and 14 minutes of pure joy. 14 minutes of joy seems low even for a single day. What are you people doing with yourselves?

* The Voyager records, as art.

* I’m With™ Clinton’s ‘Innovation Agenda’ for Higher Ed.

* Republicans seem pretty obviously right about this one. I don’t see how there’s any case for its propriety, but here’s a try.

The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes.

Estimate of U.S. Transgender Population Doubles to 1.4 Million Adults.

* For 20 years, the center has blocked off female-only hours to accommodate the area’s large Hasidic population. The pool has no male-only hours, and some Hasidic men swim during the hours that are open to all genders. An anonymous complaint was lodged recently with the city’s Human Rights Commission, which sent a notice to the parks department this spring saying that the policy might violate a city law barring gender discrimination in public accommodations.

Using the budget usually reserved for the committee, they created a program called Dudes Understanding Diversity and Ending Stereotypes, or DUDES.

He said he’s glad colleges have found the research useful, but he is cautious about the institutions that are taking it as an absolute. Mr. Sue said his goal had always been to educate people, not punish or shame them, if they engage in microaggressions.

* Boris Johnson and the Cuckoo Nest Plot. Now even Gove says he won’t Brexit before the end of the year. Sanders and Corbyn: The Survivors. Brexit Might Never Happen. Brexit: a disaster decades in the making. So you want to con a country. Based on a close reading of Frank Bruni’s Brexit commentary, “A Bachelor Named Britain, Looking for Love” (reproduced below the question), please describe the bearing of the New York Times op-ed staff on the collapse of serious political argument in American establishment institutions in the early 21st century.

How J.R.R. Tolkien Found Mordor on the Western Front. Bonus Tolkien! How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book.

A wizard has roped you into a quest because one of your ancestors invented golf.

* Westeros Is Poorly Designed. A Followup: It’s Okay That Westeros Is Poorly Designed. Some more nerdery on the subject.

When asked how fast the ships in Babylon 5 travel, creator J. Michael Straczynski replied that they travel “at the speed of plot.”

How big is Westeros? “Plot-sized.” How many people live there? “Plot thousand.” How do they make their living? “Tilling the plot.”

Game of Thrones season 6 was good TV that shows why the series will never be great.

Why did the Stars Wars and Star Trek worlds turn out so differently? Please Stop Marrying Fictional Characters to People They Met as Children, It’s Creepy. I started thinking absently about Steve Rogers’ jogging route during my run today and then i couldn’t STOP thinking about it because there’s literally NO WAY it makes sense unless you accept that he is specifically fucking up his entire morning routine to get another look at the cute boy he clocked on his run.

* How to Get Tenure. Counterpoint: You Probably Won’t Get Tenure.

* How to Give a Conference Paper.

* Elsewhere on the academic beat: Study Finds First-Year Students Who Take 15 Credits Succeed. Why Can’t My New Employees Write? The New McCarthyism. Right-Wing Elites Love Your Abigail Fisher Hot Take.

* Rationalia has already garnered some powerful enemies.

* Amazing, awful: Author Gay Talese disavows his latest book amid credibility questions.

Unprecedented’: Scientists declare ‘global climate emergency’ after jet stream crosses equator. The Window for Avoiding a Dangerous Climate Change Has Closed. The Day After Tomorrow Happened 30,000 Years Ago. Geoengineering at the CIA.

Physicists just confirmed a pear-shaped nucleus, and it could ruin time travel forever. Not if I undiscover it yesterday!

* America is lying about its involvement in Africa: AFRICOM’s reports simply don’t add up.

* Secret History of the AOL Disc Campaign.

* More from the twilight of the law schools.

* “This is the single greatest panel ever published in a Transformers comic.”

* Trumpocalypse watch! Another boondoggle. And another. And another. And another. This one is probably the best yet. 4 Ways Cleveland’s Colleges Are Bracing for the Republican Convention. Who will win the presidency? Why not play along at home! And if you want a vision of the future: imagine Trump’s vice-presidential candidates stomping on a human face, forever.

ReverendMagnett_2016-Jun-30

Written by gerrycanavan

July 1, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thursday Links!

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* CFP: Edited collection on Welcome to Night Vale.

* More details on a very sad story: UCLA Student Shot Professor Over Grades Before Killing Himself, Say Police. UPDATE: The shooter was a PhD student.

* And for those who need it: some back-of-the-envelope calculations about your chances of being shot on campus.

St. Catharine College, in central Kentucky, will close its doors in July after 85 years of operation, its Board of Trustees announced on Wednesday.

Cornell breaks with other Ivies, sets path forward for grad student union.

* To obsessed water engineer Marc Edwards, the lead crisis in Flint is just the beginning of an epidemic.

* Some characteristics of successful teachers.

* Behind the scenes at Hamilton.

* Hitler as a human.

sub-buzz-23145-1464803668-3* All of man’s highest apirations are hubris in the eyes of the gods.

* Donald Trump, Maoist.

I have a number of other reasons for believing Trump’s alleged wealth is basically a fraud – not my own reporting but piecing together various details from the reporting of others and things that have happened during this campaign. But one point Cuban references is key. Trump hasn’t built a high-rise building in decades. He moved into licensing as his main business about fifteen or twenty years ago. If you’re worth $10 billion do you waste time on Trump Steaks? Trump University? Of course not. That speaks to someone who’s fairly strapped and needs every new revenue stream he can get. Still fabulously rich by mortal standards. But not running a thriving company worth $10 billion.

* Huge, if true: Race, Gender Biggest Differentiators in Views of Clinton, Trump.

At least five times in the past year, the candidate who is now the Republican nominee for president has implied that certain public officials are suspect, or are acting against the national interest, because they or their family members are Latino.

The results, the IMF researchers concede, have been terrible. Neoliberalism hasn’t delivered economic growth – it has only made a few people a lot better off. It causes epic crashes that leave behind human wreckage and cost billions to clean up, a finding with which most residents of food bank Britain would agree. And while George Osborne might justify austerity as “fixing the roof while the sun is shining”, the fund team defines it as “curbing the size of the state … another aspect of the neoliberal agenda”. And, they say, its costs “could be large – much larger than the benefit”.

Would It Be That Bad If the New Star Trek TV Series Was Set in the Reboot Universe? No true fan would even ask that.

Is Daenerys Targaryen the Real Villain of Game of Thrones?

* How old is your map?

* The Spider-Man 4 that never was.

* The end of Hellboy.

* For the completist, the cast of Hello from the Magic Tavern was on Improv Nerd recently and even did a little bit from Foon-30 (the dimension where Chunt is a wolverine).

* My new Plan B: Duo used stolen cash to buy winning $1M lottery ticket.

* And because you demanded it! Presenting the G.I. Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, ROM, Action Man, and M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand)) Shared Universe.

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Monday Night: Scooby-Doo, Stalin’s Daughter, and More

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* “You can’t regret your fate,” Ms. Peters once said, “although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter.” Josef Stalin’s daughter has died. More at MeFi.

* Occupy the Mystery Machine: The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. (via)

* Behind the scenes of Planet of the Apes.

* No second acts in America: The life and times of Chris Hardwick. (also via)

* Terry Gilliam, the heir of Fellini and the enemy of God. (you know what I’m gonna say)

On his flight to Los Angeles, Gilliam tried to watch the $1-billion hit “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and he felt battered and sullen by the time the landing gear came down. The old wizard says it’s the stage magicians who rule Hollywood now.

“You just sit there and watch the explosions,” Gilliam said. “I couldn’t tell you what the movie was about. The movie hammers the audience into submission. They are influenced by video games, but in video games at least you are immersed; in these movies you’re left out. In films, there’s so much overt fantasy now that I don’t watch a lot because everything is possible now. There’s no tension there. People can slide down the side of a building that’s falling and they don’t get ripped to shreds? The shots are amazing, but if there is no consequence, no gravity, what’s the point? I can’t watch Hollywood movies anymore. There’s no room for me.”

* Safe, reliable, and too cheap to meter: Japan’s science ministry says 8 per cent of the country’s surface area has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

* “For our brewery, growth depends on abundant clean water and quality barley and hops—and climate change puts those ingredients at risk. Our supply chain—including barley, hops and water—is especially vulnerable to weather in the short-term and to climate change in the long-term,” Orgolini told Forbes.

* Medicine and “never events.”

* Of islands and invaders.

* Against Gremlins.


* Nearly half (48%) of all Americans say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, and another 42% say that it is one of the greatest countries in the world. Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) Americans say that the U.S. is not one of the greatest countries in the world.

There are sharp generational differences on this question. Millennials are the least likely to say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, with just 32% holding this view. This number rises with each successive generation, culminating in nearly two-thirds of Silents (64%) expressing the view that the U.S. stands above all other nations. Within the Silent generation, it is the oldest members who feel most strongly about America’s greatness – fully 72% of those ages 76 to 83 say the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. About half of members of Generation X (ages 31 to 46) and the Baby Boomer generation (47 to 65) believe that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world.

* “Berkeley Police Defend Actions by Sensationistically Claiming Protestors Could’ve Used Lethal Violence.” That’s good enough for me!

* The engineers behind Russia’s failed Mars attempt could face criminal charges.

“Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness,” explained Medvedev. “It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty.”

* Speaking of punishing the guilty: The Walker recall is already almost halfway there. @wi_defender: One signature every 3.456 seconds for 12 days. #WIRecall #RecallWalker #damn

* Corporate synergy watch: Staples is launching Dunder Mifflin brand paper.

* And in terrible local news:

The North Carolina Senate voted (27-17) Monday to repeal the Racial Justice Act, sending SB 9 off to Governor Bev Perdue. The Senate’s approval came just hours after the Judiciary Committee heard emotional testimony on both sides of the legislation.

Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle told legislators that DAs were “fearful” that the two-year-old law had the potential to parole death row inmates.

One shudders to think!

‘Because, Through His Condensed, Translucent Images, He Gives Us Fresh Access to Reality’

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After a Death

Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.
One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.
It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Takara-Tomy, creator of the Transformers. I think I have that right.

Announcement. Washington Post announcement.
Eight poems by Tomas Tranströmer.
Much, much more at MetaFilter.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex

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The Army’s cross-promotional deal with X-Men: First Class lays bare the military’s increasing reliance on the science fiction genre as the prime narrative medium through which to sell itself.  The new recruitment films are not the critically acclaimed Restrepo or even The Hurt Locker(whose DoD support was revoked at the last minute), but rather Battle: Los Angeles (a conventional combat film—with aliens!) andTransformers 2, promoted as the “largest joint-military movie ever made.”  Unlike recent films about Iraq and Afghanistan, contemporary science fiction films show our armed forces heroically fighting the good fight against intergalactic enemies, killer cars, or nuclear-toting mutants.  More importantly, perhaps, science fiction reintroduces wonder and spectacle to typical recruitment strategies that media-savvy young audiences distrust, tune out, or scoff at.

Via Twitter: How X-Men markets the military.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Wednesday Catchup

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Wednesday catchup.

* Rest in peace, Rosie the Riveter.

* Dollhouse tease: Joss will write and direct the premiere.

* Transformers FAQ. Spoiler alert:

I am already incredibly sick of this movie, and I’m just typing questions about it. Sam resurrects Optimus, Optimus kills the Fallen, end of story, right?
Pretty close. Sam dies, though.

Really?
Yeah, for a little while. But then the Transformers in heaven send him back because he still has work to do.

Fuck you.
I’m serious.

Fuck you. There’s no way.
It’s true. The 6-7 Primes are there in the clouds like Mufasa’s head in The Lion King, and tell Sam he’s awesome and he needs to live again so he can bring Optimus back to life.

* MMORGS and sociology: City of Heroes character ‘Twixt’ becomes game’s most hated outcast courtesy of Loyola professor.” Via MeFi.

* “Judgment Day,” famous anti-racist EC comic from 1953, controversial in its day, at Comics Should Be Good:

Written by gerrycanavan

July 8, 2009 at 11:42 pm

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Monday Procastination Sensations

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Monday procrastination sensations.

* The Burnt-out Adjunct has some advice at Inside Higher Ed about the difference between adjuncts, add-junks, and instructors.

* 3 Quarks Daily has some thoughts from Timothy Fongon on building a viable American left:

Only about 25 percent of US citizens hold a passport. (See 2007 population data here and number of Americans with passports here.) A majority of Americans have never travelled overseas. Thus, any movement which makes appeals primarily on the basis of universalist/internationalist rhetoric is likely to have an audience significantly smaller than the majority of the US population.

The whole essay strongly echoes a proclamation from the C.L.R. James I was reading just last night: “To Bolshevize America it is necessary to Americanize Bolshevism.”

* A Feministe guestblogger describes the difficulties in filling out forms when one is transgender. The thread also introduces me to a term I’ve missed up to now, cisgender, denoting someone whose gender identity is aligned with their biological sex—which means I can now describe the forms Queen Emily discusses as cisnormative (which they are—no need for little boxes with prescribed answers when you could just have a blank line).

* Nate Silver gets a little more pragmatic with a close look at how a climate bill can get 60 votes in the Senate. He’s also got a post on Sarah Palin’s appeal that, for my money, misses what’s so terrifying about Palin: (1) the clear sense that the right is building itself a second George W. Bush out of identitarian resestment, sloganeering, faux folksy charm, and hero worship, and (2) that it already worked once.

* Steve Benen has your bogus Obama scandal roundup.

Walpin was all the rage in conservative circles, right up until the “controversy” appeared baseless, and White House detractors were forced to move on.

But notice how this has happened quite a bit in the very young Obama administration. Remember when conservatives were convinced that the White House was closing car dealerships based on owners’ political contributions? Or how about the not-so-scandalous Department of Homeland Security report about potentially violent extremists, which prompted some conservatives to call for Napolitano’s resignation? Or about the EPA economist whose bizarre memo on global cooling was “suppressed”?

All of these caused widespread apoplexy among rabid anti-Obama activists. And all of these quickly fell apart after minimal scrutiny.

* Transformers II and racism. More from Ezra Klein.

* And Michael Chabon has a nice essay in The New York Review of Books about the wilderness of childhood set against both adult nostalgia for the freedom of youth and contemporary overparenting and child endangerment hysteria. But the headline (“Manhood for Amateurs”) is wrong under the article’s own terms:

This is a mistaken notion, in my view. People read stories of adventure—and write them—because they have themselves been adventurers. Childhood is, or has been, or ought to be, the great original adventure, a tale of privation, courage, constant vigilance, danger, and sometimes calamity. For the most part the young adventurer sets forth equipped only with the fragmentary map—marked here there be tygers and mean kid with air rifle—that he or she has been able to construct out of a patchwork of personal misfortune, bedtime reading, and the accumulated local lore of the neighborhood children.

Sloppy work from the editor there.