Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Twilight of the Elites

Just Another Monday Morning Linkpost

with one comment

* I asked “If you were going to do a NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF THEORY AND CRITICISM lit crit class where the gimmick was that you always returned to a foundational text for application, what would you choose?” and got some really good ideas. Right now, if I do it rather than a multiple-choice or wheel-of-fortune variant, it looks like it’s going to be Frankenstein.

* CFP for SFRA 2019, at Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Her Eyes Weren’t Watching God: The Empathetic Secular Vision of Octavia Butler.

N.K. Jemisin – Building a World.

Nicholas Hoult as J.R.R. Tolkien in first look at ‘Lord Of The Rings’ author’s biopic. Deadwood Movie Confirmed for Spring 2019 Premiere. And the new Aladdin movie looks worse than I ever could have possibly imagined.

* This week I went on a journey into the madness of The Phantom Podcast, which reviews the Star Wars prequel trilogy as if the series began with Episode 1, and I regret nothing. Scroll all the way down.

Active-Shooter Drills Are Tragically Misguided: There’s scant evidence that they’re effective. They can, however, be psychologically damaging—and they reflect a dismaying view of childhood.

* america.jpg

Students and Faculty Plan Walkout Over Johns Hopkins’ ICE Contract.

* How to Make Grad School More Humane.

Should You Allow Laptops in Class? Here’s What the Latest Study Adds to That Debate.

International Graduate-Student Enrollments and Applications Drop for 2nd Year in a Row.

* WTF Is Going on at Wright State? Seriously. Seriously. Seriously. Seriously.

* “Student Loan Relief or Paid Vacation? These Workers Get a Choice.” Here’s Why So Many Americans Feel Cheated By Their Student Loans.

* The real political correctness on campus is the feckless submission to anyone remotely rich and powerful, no matter how they behave.

* Every tweet in this thread is enraging. Every one.

* Plan S and the humanities.

Julian Glander’s Art Sqool is about Froshmin, a small, round person who is going to an art school run by an artificial intelligence that is going to help Froshmin become a great artist. Or at least some kind of artist. Actually, thinking about it, the weird little robot who evaluates all of your art doesn’t make any promises about ability or skill or fame or recognition as a product of the time that Froshmin spends at Art Sqool. Wait, shit, is this a scam?

When Jamaica Led the Postcolonial Fight Against Exploitation.

When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism. (And When It Still Is.)

How Flight Attendants Grounded Trump’s Shutdown.

The battle for the future of Stonehenge.

* The Museum at Auschwitz.

* 250 dead, $91 billion in damages: 2018 was a catastrophic year for U.S. weather; 4th-warmest for globe. A hole opens up under Antarctic glacier — big enough to fit two-thirds of Manhattan. Melting glaciers reveal ancient landscapes, thawing mummies, and long-dead diseases. Rising Temperatures Could Melt Most Himalayan Glaciers by 2100. Tasmania is burning. The climate disaster future has arrived while those in power laugh at us. Global warming could exceed 1.5C within five years. Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’. The end of the Colorado. Polar thinking.

A Huge Climate Change Movement Led By Teenage Girls Is Sweeping Europe. And It’s Coming To The US Next.

Latinos, blacks breathe 40 percent more pollution than whites in California, study says.

Liberal Democrats Formally Call for a ‘Green New Deal,’ Giving Substance to a Rallying Cry. More here.

* Day care for all.

* Ugh. Gotta preserve this flawless system.

Please Stop Writing Nancy Pelosi Fan Fiction.

Tax the Hell Out of the Rich, When They’re Alive and When They’re Dead.

* Meanwhile, it sounds like things going great in Britain.

Brett Kavanaugh Just Declared War on Roe v. Wade.

* Parable of the Talents watch: Missing Migrant Children Being Funneled Through Christian Adoption Agency.

“I made mistakes”: Jill Abramson responds to plagiarism charges around her new book.

* On the NPC meme.

* Sesame Workshop has finally given up on Bert and Ernie.

* On the end of The Good Place.

* Patreon planning to completely betray its user base, of course.

* Google is already way down that road. As is everyone else.

* Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is preparing for New York’s establishment Dems to eliminate her district.

* Headlines from the end of the world: “Ketamine Could Be the Key to Reversing America’s Rising Suicide Rate.”

Sexual Abuse of Nuns: Longstanding Church Scandal Emerges From Shadows. 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms.

Customs And Border Protection Apologized After An Agent Questioned A BuzzFeed News Reporter About Trump Coverage.

* “Hackers using black-market Israeli ICE-breakers to extort a billionaire who’s replacing his employees with robots, at the behest of a shadowy tabloid/petromonarchy alliance, is actually the cyberpunk future we were promised, and yet.” But for real.

* On Jaws 4. On a legally distinct Harry Potter.

* Young engineer upgraded the LEGO bionic arm he built for himself.

* I’m amazed it’s even legal to sell these paintings in Germany.

* Where do the lines cross?

Fun fact, if you want to go from one side of Maui to the other you have to take this weird, 30-mile, up-and-back-down detour UNLESS you are Oprah Winfrey, who owns a private 4-mile road that she has paved and everything, connecting the narrowest part of the route.

* Finland gave people free money. It didn’t help them get jobs — but does that matter?

* The meat industry vs. lab-grown meat.

* On autism in women.

* Neoliberalism evolves.

* An antibiotic-style treatment for cancer? Let’s hope.

* Maybe she’s born with it.

* And not all heroes wear capes.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 11, 2019 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday Night Links!

leave a comment »

* Did you know Jaimee Hills’s incredible How to Avoid Speaking has started to ship? Buy it today! Hear her on Lake Effect!

* Presenting the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction.

The Founders misread history and established a dysfunctional system of government. A case for a little less reverence. Will “decoherence” be the doom of American democracy?

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Race Is Always the Issue.

The False Science of Cryonics: What the nervous system of the roundworm tells us about freezing brains and reanimating human minds. A Dying Young Woman’s Hope.

* The Caine Prize after “emergence.”

* The Nine Dumbest Things in the Rutgers Report on Kyle Flood.

* The Internet after Ad Blocking. Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web.

Inside the Brains of Happily Married Couples.

* Friends don’t let friends write clickbait confessionals.

The feminist think piece industrial complex.

* Twilight of the Elites and the rise of a global left. Even Yglesias is on board!

We enter into something of a contract as a faculty member: we trade income for autonomy and security. If we do not use the latter, we enter a fool’s bargain. This is why I stay, and why being ready to quit is an important part of staying.

Inside the Battle for Cooper Union.

* Doing the Lord’s work at GOG.com.

Every Single Movie That Jimmy Carter Watched at the White House.

* 30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How Was Your Day?”

These 25 schools are responsible for the greatest advances in science. Go Spartans! #11.

If you like Return Of The Jedi but hate the Ewoks, you understand feminist criticism.

* Tased at the Harris Teeter. After an often torturous tenure at the helm of the Durham Police Department—including, most recently, last week’s controversial Tasering of an unarmed black man at a Durham Harris Teeter—Chief Jose Lopez Sr. is out.

* How Languages Die.

* Fraternities are pretty bad.

* The Opposite of Hoarding.

“I don’t expect them to understand everything I do,” Dr. Xi, 57, said in a telephone interview. “But the fact that they don’t consult with experts and then charge me? Put my family through all this? Damage my reputation? They shouldn’t do this. This is not a joke. This is not a game.”

The NFL and the military: a love affair as strange and cynical as ever.

* God save Title IX from its champions.

Memo to Clinton-world: It might be time to start panicking.

Ahmed Mohamed and the “Freedom to Tinker.”

* How to screw up the Muppets in one easy step.

A spoiler-free example: The Miss Piggy-Kermit relationship has always worked because of how unfathomable it is, both in terms of species and temperament. These people don’t belong together, but somehow they’ve formed a decadeslong pairing, one that always felt buoyed by Miss Piggy’s stronger affections and a submissive aspect to Kermit. But discovering that Kermit is dating another pig now, perhaps a slightly more docile pig, inverts the whole dynamic of the relationship. Now Kermit just has a fetish, so has he always been playing hard-to-get with Piggy as part of some role-playing that we haven’t previously established? Once you open the window a crack, you’re gonna have to throw open the doors eventually. And within the same dynamic, Miss Piggy’s affections for Kermit, even affections tempered by occasional abuse, have always been a key softening factor for Miss Piggy. We tolerate her awfulness because of her love for Kermit and the love we believe Kermit has for her. Without that core, the risk of Miss Piggy spiraling into an untenable sty of callus words and consistent mistreatment of subordinates is all too real.

* What’s it like to take Jim Henson’s place?

Don’t Have Sex With Robots, Say Ethicists.

* Nemo iudex in causa sua, but, you know, the opposite.

* How to D&D.

* Against Lolita.

* Utilitarianism, y’all. Also: the Singularity.

What Happens When A Parent’s Grief Goes Viral?

At WeWork, an Idealistic Start-Up Clashes With Its Cleaners.

Banksy and the Problem With Sarcastic Art.

“The Long Emancipation” offers a useful reminder that abolition was not the charitable work of respectable white people, or not mainly that. Instead, the demise of slavery was made possible by the constant discomfort inflicted on middle-class white society by black activists.

Students’ Requests for Trigger Warnings Grow More Varied. Higher Education’s Internet Outrage Machine. How Salaita Was Fired: One Year Later. Gaps in Earnings Stand Out in Release of College Data. Enrollment in Humanities Ph.D. Programs Declines as More Graduate Schools Slim Down. Colleges Flush With Cash Saddle Poorest Students With Debt. No Child Left Behind Goes to College. Is College Tuition Really Too High? The Uberification of the University. The Rise and Coming Demise of the Corporate University. Tacit knowledge and graduate education. Can’t afford to eat at a college sitting on over $9 billion? There’s an app for that. The Whistleblower Effect. The entire Japanese public university system attempts a massive queen sacrifice. There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts. Are College Lectures Unfair? Microaggressions and good manners. The coming human capital contract nightmare.

In 1997, the ETS announced that the SAT could not properly be labeled a scholastic assessment test, either; the initials now stand for nothing.

* Maybe the best description of what it is I think I’m doing I’ve ever seen: He said that his best professors “took texts that seemed complicated, made them look simple, and then made them complex again.”

“We couldn’t imagine Oregonians’ turning their backs on higher education, but they did.”

Some have called Harvard a Hedge Fund with a school attached, because it has over $36 billion in its endowment, but the UC holds over $100 billion in its retirement funds, endowments, and working capital funds.  This large amount of money can be used for good, or it can be used for darker purposes, but one thing for sure, it makes the university an important global finance player.  Of course, we should all ask what it means when a public university enters global finance.

Jerry Brown’s University of California Perma-Temp Problem.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 22: Collaboration (part 2 of 2).

* The rise of the woman comic book buyer.

* Studies in Cruel Optimism, Bernie Sanders campaign edition.

* Yes. Yes. Embrace your hate.

* This week, the site enabled hosts of events to determine who has actually seen the Facebook invites they’ve sent out but not replied, making the simple act of viewing of your notifications a horrifying social contract you can’t escape.

* Nice work if you can get it: How I Felt After 70 Days of Lying in Bed for Science.

If We Burn All the World’s Fossil Fuels, We’ll Melt Antarctica & Flood the Earth. Right, that’s the plan. Climate Apocalypse and/or Democracy. PS: Almost Half of the World’s Ocean Life Has Died Off Since 1970.

* Markets in everything! Refugees bring in big business in Europe.

* The arc of history is long, but.

* And some news you can use: The IRS Will Refuse Checks Greater Than $100 Million Beginning In 2016.

216a

Written by gerrycanavan

September 17, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Junior Associate Dean of Closing All My Tabs Links

leave a comment »

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.

Against Meritocracy

with 6 comments

I’m far from a fan of Matt Yglesias, but this piece seems useful to me for its succinct recognition of the central paradox of liberalism:

Needless to say, children under the age of 6 do not exercise a great deal of choice over where they live or what level of soil testing is done. Nor is it an accident that low-income parents are more likely to be inhabiting the kind of dwellings where their kids are likely to be exposed to toxic levels of lead. I think it takes a fairly perverse outlook on life to believe that a person deserves lifelong economic hardship as a consequence of his parents’ having lived in an old house near a freeway when he was a toddler. But the name for that social system is “meritocracy.” The non-poisoned infants really will grow up to be adults who really are smarter and really do have better impulse control and ability to do long time-horizon planning. They have more “merit” than the poisoned kids just like Dwight Howard is very genuinely taller and stronger than you or I.

Of course this should all be much more cautious–you’d need to substitute “by certain measurements” and “in certain circumstances” after “smarter,” “better impulse control,” “ability to do long-term planning,” etc. But the central proposition is right and, I think, the decisive disproof of liberal meritocracy, as I’ve been ranting about on Twitter for the last hour or so. The crucial tweet is the last one, the recognition that class is a miracle solvent for “merit”: it boosts the abilities of the rich while muting their disadvantages, while doing the exact opposite for the poor.

@_EdwardK_ also brought to my attention an interesting paper I’ll have to follow up on:

Perhaps ‘Qualifications’ Is The Wrong Question

leave a comment »

Yudof, we have to admit, was eminently “qualified” to be UC president. His “qualifications” were what allowed him to declare a state of fiscal emergency and orchestrate the subsequent 32% tuition hike. When Yudof became UC president, in-state tuition was $7,126—now it’s $12,946 (that’s an overall increase of 81%). It was because he was “qualified” that he treated workers as obstacles to efficiency, cutting their salaries and firing them essentially at will. For Yudof, faculty had no role to play in terms of shared governance but just stood in the way—“being president of the University of California,” he famously told the New York Times, “is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening.” For the same reason, he saw students not as an integral part of the university community but as a threat, consolidating a police force that consistently surveilled, harassed, threatened, and arrested them, beat them with batons, and shot them with rubber bullets—and even, on one occasion, with live ammunition. He was so “qualified” he was paid more than $800,000 a year to do this.

Friday Night Links

leave a comment »

* Thickness of the ice sheets at various locations 21,000 years ago compared with modern skylines.

* Ian Bogost has a great piece on MOOCs in an otherwise totally skippable LARoB feature on the subject.

MOOCs are a financial policy for higher education. They exemplify what Naomi Klein has called “disaster capitalism”: policy guilefully initiated in the wake of upheaval.  The need to teach more students with fewer resources is a complex situation. It’s partly caused by hubris, especially the blind search for higher institutional status through research programs, and it’s exacerbated by the tax base crises of the ongoing and seemingly permanent Great Recession. MOOCs offer the next logical step in this process of “cost containment.” But those who would call current funding models “unviable” and offer MOOCs as a convenient alternative fail to admit that the very need for an alternative presumes that we want to abandon public education in favor of a corporate-owned infrastructure in the first place.

MOOCs are an academic labor policy. As a consequence of the financial policy just described, MOOCs are amplifying the precarity long experienced by adjuncts and graduate student assistants, and helping to extend that precarity to the professoriate. MOOCs encourage an ad-hoc “freelancing” work regime among tenured faculty, many of whom will find the financial incentives for MOOC creation and deployment difficult to resist. This is particularly true of public institution faculty who have gone years without raises. Many institutions offer tens of thousands of dollars of direct compensation for MOOC development and teaching. And, in some cases, MOOCs offer direct access to student tuition and direct competition among faculty for those new resources, extending the “entrepreneurial” institutional politics of professional schools (and corporate life more generally) to all disciplines.

MOOCs are speculative financial instruments. The purpose of an educational institution is to educate, but the purpose of a startup is to convert itself into a financial instrument.The two major MOOC providers, Udacity and Coursera, are venture capital-funded startups, and therefore they are beholden to high leverage, rapid growth with an interest in a fast flip to a larger technology company or the financial market. The concepts of “disruption” and “innovation,” so commonly applied to MOOCs, come from the world of business. As for EdX, the MOOC consortium started by Harvard and MIT, it’s a non-profit operating under the logic of speculation rather than as a public service. If anything, it will help the for-profits succeed even more by evangelizing their vision as compatible with elite non-profit educational ideals.

It is telling that elite professors and universities who design MOOCs aren’t using them for their own students. Those of us who value education and its role in fostering both literacy and democracy should pass on them too.

* Patton Oswalt: A Closed Letter to Myself about Thievery, Heckling, and Rape Jokes.

* Sarah Kendzior vs. the prestige economy. Good interview.

* Obama wants you to believe he’s really truly going to get serious about the climate next month. Really! Meanwhile, they’ve found another methane time bomb in the permafrost.

There are nearly six times as many showings of Man Of Steel alone as there are of all the films about women put together.

The Seinfeld theme slowed down by 1,200 percent is horrifying.

* High-ranking SS commander found living in Minnesota.

* John Oliver really is a much better host of the Daily Show than Stewart’s been since the Bush years.

The investigation was ongoing, but Undersheriff James Szczesniak said there was no evidence yet that Martino “had any ill intent.” There could be a dozen perfectly legitimate reasons why he’d have 30 to 40 pipe bombs in his apartment.

 Transgender People Can Now Change Their Social Security Record’s Gender Identity.

What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? The answer will totally not surprise you!

* And the time has come at last to raid Detroit’s pensions in the name of bankers’ profits.

Seriously, Like, 10,000 Sunday Links

with 2 comments

Backed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the SUNY20/20 Act sounds the death knell of universal, affordable education.

In May, President Obama visited SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) for a bro-hug with Governor Andrew Cuomo and a speechpraising Albany’s silicon-driven economic agenda. The president’s stamp on Cuomo’s development plan, which calls for public-private research partnerships centered at New York’s university hubs, earned the governor early points for a potential 2016 White House run. In exchange, Obama could tout New York as a state-level version of his ideal economic agenda while jabbing Congress for moving more slowly than Cuomo.

“I want what’s happening at Albany to happen all across the country,” he said, “places like Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, and Raleigh.”

The Crisis in Higher Education. Spoiler: it’s MOOCs.

* Get pepper-sprayed by campus cops, get not all that much money at all considering.

* Quitting an Adjunct Career.

* Great moments in neoliberalism: Under Germany’s welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990. Too good to check! Damn you, Snopes!

* Great moments in neoliberalism, part 2: Camden is going to solve its crime problem by firing its entire police force. But don’t get too excited; it’s just a union-busting thing.

* While we’re on the subject: I just figured out a way to cut crime by 5% overnight.

* Kaplan Post balance sheet suffering as the for-profit scam university sector takes a haircut.

* What I caught up on while I was traveling: Evan Calder Williams on Cop Comedies.  The Prison-Educational Complex. Anti-Anti-Parasitism. Chris Hayes’s Twilight of the Elites.

A graduate of Brown University, Hayes’s path was essentially paved by sixth grade when he passed the entrance exam to attend New York’s Hunter High School—one of the best public schools in the country, and one in which only a standardized test determined admission. But as he points out, one test score hides much—including an entire test-preparation industry that only the wealthy can access. Hayes quotes at length the remarkable 2010 commencement address by 18-year-old Justin Hudson, who laid bare the lie of merit that Hunter perpetuated: “I feel guilty because I don’t deserve any of this. And neither do any of you. We received an outstanding education at no charge based solely on our performance on a test we took when we were eleven-year-olds.”

* BREAKING: Poll Averages Have No History of Consistent Partisan Bias.

* Here it is, mere days after everyone’s already stopped being annoyed about it: Rebecca Solnit’s “Stop Leftsplaining!”

* Freddie de Boer: I don’t know how else it say it, considering I’ve said it a thousand times. I want my country to stop killing innocent people. Our Bipartisan Apathy Toward Civilian Drone Deaths. Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama. Is It Moral for Lefties to Vote for Obama? The Thing about Drones.

* The weird thing about the you-stupid-lefties craze is Obama is decisively winning, Were they just afraid they wouldn’t have a chance to punch any hippies this year? Don’t they know it never goes out of season, no matter what happens?

* On the other side: Romney Aides “Pretty Resigned” to Losing. Is the GOP still a national party? And, of course, poll denialism.

* As if Obama needed the help, the economy turns out to be not quite as bad as reported. Still awful though.

* Americans growing tired of the glories of gridlock. It’s too bad our institutions are designed to essentially guarantee it.

* On undecided voters.

* Wheelchair citizenship.

The absence of pity of any sort from Kim E. Nielsen’s new book A Disability History of the United States, published by Beacon Press, is hardly the most provocative thing about it. Nielsen, a professor of disability studies at the University of Toledo, indicates that it is the first book “to create a wide-ranging chronological American history narrative told through the lives of people with disabilities.” By displacing the able-bodied, self-subsisting individual citizen as the basic unit (and implied beneficiary) of the American experience, she compels the reader to reconsider how we understand personal dignity, public life, and the common good.

Take the “ugly laws,” for instance. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, major American cities made it illegal for (in the words of the San Francisco ordinance from 1867) “any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object” to appear in “streets, highways, thoroughfares, or public places.”

Enterprising Dog Becomes the Ranking Police Officer in a Small New Mexican Town. Nikka 2016?

* If all men were Republicans, would you let your daughter marry one?

* I might have done this one before, but it’s so visually striking: The True Size of Africa.

* All the secrets from Joss Whedon’s Avengers commentary.

25 facts about Star Trek: The Next Generation you might not know.

* xkcd vs. fantasy metallurgy.

* In which Curiosity finds a river bed on Mars.

* My homeland: New Jersey bans smiling in driver’s license photographs. Now, if we could just ban smiling in photographs altogether…

* American tragedies: Man Shoots, Kills Suspected Burglar at Sister’s House Only to Find Out It Was His Teen Son. Pertussis epidemic in Washington.

* This story has everything! “Buddhist ‘Iron Man’ found by Nazis is from space.”

* Film Genre Over Time.

* How to Buy a Daughter. Fascinating that upper middle class Americans prefer daughters.

* Here come the Definite Harry Potter Uncut Final Director’s Cut Special Editions.

* William Gibson: The Complete io9 inteview.

* An oral history of Cheers.

* On being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Meet Leland Chee, the Star Wars Franchise Continuity Cop.

* The end of growth?

* And they solved global warming; they’ll just make the snow for ski slopes out of “100 percent sewage effluent.” You’re welcome, future.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 30, 2012 at 8:41 am