Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘two-body problem

Supersized Post-Computer-Crash Weekend Feel-Good Happy Links

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Sorry I’ve been MIA. John Siracusa’s OS Mavericks review didn’t tell me the update would completely nuke my computer for three days. Fairly big omission, JS.

Only by the grace of God did I not wind up on Senator Session’s anti-NEH hit list.

* Apple screws up Capitalism 101 by having its products remain useful on a too-long obsolescence-cycle.

“If part-time is so good, why don’t we have part-time administration?”

* Against student evaluations. UPDATE: Of course the natural form for discuss this is a Twitter fight.

* Rape culture at UConn. Really stunning report.

Carolyn Luby, a student who organized the complaint, said the university failed to stop harassment she faced for criticizing the school’s new “powerful and aggressive” Husky logo in an open letter to UConn president, Susan Herbst. Luby saw the redesigned logo as “glorifying intimidation with an already prevalent rape culture.”

In reaction, commenters on Barstool Sports posted links to her Facebook page. Rush Limbaugh did a segment criticizing Luby in which he stated, “I, El Rushbo, have amplified it and made it even bigger. Let’s see what happens.”

Luby subsequently received rape and death threats. People walked by her on campus and called her “a bitch,” she said. One email she received told her, “I hope you get raped by a husky,” and another said, “I wish you would’ve run in the Boston marathon.” Fraternity members sexually harassed her, Luby said, making statements like, “Don’t worry, we won’t rape you,” as they drove by.

“[The university] would send campus-wide emails about picking up trash, but no warning about hate speech and harassment,” Luby said.

Unlike Georgetown University’s president, who sent a campus-wide email defending Sandra Fluke after Limbaugh and others made her a target in 2012, UConn did nothing, Luby said. Herbst remained silent, and Luby said one school official told her, “That’s kind of the risk you run when you publish something on the Internet.”

University police suggested she keep a low profile and wear a hat on campus, Luby said.

* I ranted about this one enough on Twitter, but this story about the University of Iowa TA who accidentally emailed nude photos to her class (which I feel dirty even linking to at all) is also rape culture in action.

62% of higher education professionals report experiencing workplace bullying.

Talking with Students about Being an Adjunct. Totally insanely, CUNY hasn’t been paying its adjuncts for months.

The UC Davis Pepper-Spraying Cop Gets a $38,000 Settlement, $8000 more than his victims.

City College of S.F. outlines closing plan.

* Thinking (only) like an administration: Faculty Couples, for Better or Worse.

We have the rare opportunity to chronicle a labor movement’s development in real time from its infancy as we watch the organization of college football players.

Confessions of a Drone Warrior.

Flood Insurance Jumping Sevenfold Depresses U.S. Home Values. I wonder if even “the market speaking” could pull us out of the death spiral now.

* Climate change cost you the McDonald’s dollar menu. Greenland Has Melted So Much That We Can Mine It for Uranium Now. Arctic Temperatures Reach Highest Levels In 44,000 Years. Gambling with Civilization.

* The men’s rights movement is a nightmare from which we are trying to awake.

* Rortybomb on striking fast food workers and the neoliberal failings of Obamacare. From the second:

Conservatives in particular think this website has broad implications for liberalism as a philosophical and political project. I think it does, but for the exact opposite reasons: it highlights the problems inherent in the move to a neoliberal form of governance and social insurance, while demonstrating the superiorities in the older, New Deal form of liberalism.

* The Decline of Wikipedia.

Yet Wikipedia and its stated ambition to “compile the sum of all human knowledge” are in trouble. The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia—and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation—has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking. Those participants left seem incapable of fixing the flaws that keep Wikipedia from becoming a high-quality encyclopedia by any standard, including the project’s own. Among the significant problems that aren’t getting resolved is the site’s skewed coverage: its entries on Pokemon and female porn stars are comprehensive, but its pages on female novelists or places in sub-Saharan Africa are sketchy. Authoritative entries remain elusive. Of the 1,000 articles that the project’s own volunteers have tagged as forming the core of a good encyclopedia, most don’t earn even Wikipedia’s own middle-­ranking quality scores.

The main source of those problems is not mysterious. The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage.

* Mitch Hurwitz at the New York Television Festival.

* Davis Sedaris writes about the suicide of his sister Tiffany.

* We should put hyper-efficient rich people in charge of everything: How to lose $172,222 a second for 45 minutes. That’s why they earn the big bucks, I guess.

Condé Nast Discontinuing Internship Program. The first of many, I’d bet.

* After all this time I’m completely amazed that people still talk to the Daily Show at all. “They made all those other people look like total idiots! I’d better be super-careful as I make my wise and reasoned argument!”

* From the archives: How They Made Bottle Rocket. 1995.

* Wisconsin conservatives file challenge against state’s same-sex partnership law. Special Prosecutor Looking At Wisconsin Recall Elections. Milwaukee has still not enrolled anyone for ACA.

What Good Wife Storyline Did CBS Kill to Avoid Pissing Off the NFL?

* They said it: Fox News: Anti-Bullying Policies Limit Conservatives’ Free Speech.

America’s Most Popular Boys’ Names Since 1960, in 1 Spectacular GIF.

* The Harvard Crimson says don’t teach for America.

American Schools Are Missing 389,000 Teachers. Study: Charters Pose a Financial Threat to Already-Struggling School Districts.

* The Duke Chronicle says walk out on Charles Murray.

A man is stealing your home, poisoning your food and burning the forests around you, all the while explaining why you should thank him. Maybe you are allowed to question his genius, and maybe he answers. Some nod; others frown.

And you watch the flames rise, knowing at least you have engaged in “discourse.”

Mayor Bloomberg grants Metropolitan Museum of Art right to charge mandatory entrance fee.

The homeless population of New York City is higher than it’s been in decades. Nobody seems to notice.

List of reasons for admission to an insane asylum from the late 1800s, supposedly.

California Deputies Shoot and Kill Boy Carrying a Fake Gun. Black Teen Detained by NYPD for Buying an Expensive Belt.

Zombie Simpsons: How the best show ever became the broadcasting undead.

* It’s handled: Scandal has its own scandal after popular fan blogger turns out to be ABC executive. UPDATE: Followup!

* Old villains never die, they just fade away: Diebold charged with bribing officials, falsifying records in China, Russia, Indonesia; fined nearly $50 million.

* Gawker is seriously arguing no one should be fired for uncritically publishing an entirely fact-free smear job so ludicrously inaccurate it didn’t even last two hours. I disagree!

* We’ve all been there: Groom Who Called in Bomb Hoax to Own Wedding Sentenced to Year in Jail.

Facebook OKs Decapitation Videos (But No Breastfeeding).

* OMG WTF TSA.

* And today’s apocalypse: “We’ve Reached ‘The End of Antibiotics, Period.’”

Written by gerrycanavan

October 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Links for the Weekend

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What Search Committees Wish You Knew. This is a reasonably good article with one piece of deeply terrible advice. Do not tell a search committee anything about your personal life or your relationships that will harm your chances until after you have received a written offer. Being open and honest about your two-body problem will not help you in the least. UPDATE: When I posted this on Twitter, @academicdave had a much harsher take, and found the piece pretty wanting. I don’t know. I think it’s useful for applicants to try to humanize their imagination of the search committee a bit (which can be hard). And then of course once you’ve done that you have to put brakes on that impulse, because they’re still not your friends, and they don’t really care about you much at all.

* Ads without Products has a great pedagogical post on teaching writing and critical perversity. I think I’m going to steal some of this language for my course next semester.

So how do I teach “practical criticism”? In the seminar groups that I lead, I model and encourage the following “flow chart” of thought: Anticipate what other intelligent readers of this piece might say about it. Try to imagine the “conventional wisdom” about it that would emerge as if automatically in the minds of the relatively well-informed and intelligent. And then, but only then, figure out a perverse turn that you can make within the context of but against this conventional wisdom. “Of course that seems right, but on the other hand it fails to account for…” “On first glace, it would be easy and to a degree justifiable to conclude that…. But what if we reconsider this conclusion in the light of….”

Students tend to demonstrate resistance, early on, to this practice. For one thing, especially in the first year, they don’t really (and couldn’t possibly) have a fully developed sense of what the “conventional wisdom” is that their supposed to be augmenting, contradicting, perverting. At this early stage, the process requires them to make an uncomfortable Pascalian wager with themselves – to pretend as though they are confident in their apprehensions until the confidence itself arrives. But even if there’s a certain awkwardness in play, it does seem to exercise the right parts of the students’ critical and analytical faculties so that they (to continue the metaphor) develop a sort of “muscle memory” of the “right” way to do criticism. From what I can tell, encouraging them to develop an instinct of this sort early measurably improves their writing as they move through their degree.

But still (and here, finally, I’m getting to the point of this post) there’s a big problem with all of this. I warn the students of this very early on – generally the first time I run one of their criticism seminars. There’s a big unanswered question lurking behind this entire process. Why must we be perverse? What is the value of aiming always for provocative difference, novelty, rather than any other goal?  Of course, there’s a pragmatic answer: Because it will cause your writing to be better received. Because you will earn better marks by doing it this way rather than the other. Because you will develop a skill – one that can be shifted to other fields of endeavour – that will be recognised as what the world generally calls “intelligence.” But – in particular because none of this should simply be about the pragmatics of getting up the various ladders and depth charts of life – this simply isn’t a sufficient response, or at least is one that begs as many questions as it answers. What are, after all the politics of “novelty”? What are we to make of the structural similarity between what it takes to impress one’s markers and what it takes to make in “on the market,” whether as a human or inhuman commodity? What if – in the end – the answers to question that need (ethically, politically) answering are simple rather than complex, the obvious rather than the surprising?

* A possible example of critical perversity from Deadspin: Everything You Need To Know About Pennsylvania’s Lawsuit Against The NCAA (And Why You Should Support It). Though frankly I’m pretty sympathetic to the claim that the NCAA has no jurisdiction over criminal conspiracies, much less that it followed a rational procedure to adjudicate competing claims in this case.

Bousquet asked the audience why police departments are far more diverse than English departments, by and large. Noting the silence in the audience following his question, Bousquet noted, “We have made it too difficult for those who are not advantaged” to enter the profession. Asked whether he believes faculty diversity is a priority for elite institutions, such as the one he now teaches at, Bousquet said such institutions are “constantly trying to work on the question of diversity.

“For me, the question is why do they fail so much, despite all of those efforts. And I think one of the reasons, amongst many, is the irrationalism of faculty compensation.” Bousquet adds, “Eighty percent of faculty are working like for $15,000 a year” taking into account adjuncts and graduate students.

* “Sustainable Teaching Fail”: The conditions of non-tenure-track faculty are setting us up to be failures as effective pedagogues.

* Lincoln explains the modern GOP.

“Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.”

* But don’t worry! There’s a hack for that! The self-evident Calvinball lunacy of this trillion-dollar-coin thing is all the proof I need that our system is broken and our elites are insane.

Politicians Should Learn Bigger Lessons From Their Pet Causes.

But too many politicians, and this especially includes self-described fiscal conservatives, simply can’t draw the obvious conclusion from all this: namely that you shouldn’t support help for the poor and the sick and elderly only if you personally happen to know someone who’s poor or sick or elderly. All of these people exist whether or not they happen to be family members.

* Blue Mars: What Mars would look like with oceans and life.

* A California appeals court has found that raping a sleeping woman isn’t illegal if she’s unmarried. I swear to God, I don’t even know where to begin with this bullshit anymore.

* Elsewhere in rape culture atrocities: Basically an entire town colludes to protect their football team from rape prosecution.

House GOP lets the Violence Against Women Act expire for first time since 1994. I mean really.

* Inside Chernobyl’s Abandoned Hospital.

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* More Evidence Shows That Pro Sports Teams Don’t Boost The Economy.

* There Are Two Law School Grads for Every Lawyer Job.

* The Original Star Wars Trilogy As Maps.

Commander Riker lorem ipsum.

* Everything that’s wrong with football, in ten seconds. WHAT A HIT! I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN WAIT TO SEE IF THE PLAYER HAS BEEN HURT OR KILLED! VIOLENCE! EXCITEMENT! YELLING!

* Google is not an illegal monopoly, so they can go on ruining all their products with dumb attempts to monetize your data. Hooray!

* And George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year. Sold!