Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Udacity

Thursday Links!

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* Some seriously great news for my particular demographic: Kim Stanley Robinson’s acclaimed Mars Trilogy is colonizing TV.

* Flooding risk from climate change, country by country. Meanwhile: World’s Cities All Becoming Teeming Hellscapes.

* A brief history of mana: How an Austronesian Concept Became a Video Game Mechanic.

* A History of The Lord of the Rings in Video Games.

* LARoB considers the criminally underrated Chronicles of Pyrdain and the night genre was born.

* Age discrimination and adjuncts. I still think this is a seriously underreported story considering how dramatically it would change the landscape of hiring in higher education if it were to prevail.

While surely a simple economic determinism would be distorting, it should still be clear that the epistemic and cultural divide between the “hard” sciences and the humanities cannot be easily disentangled from a noticeable financial divide.

* How For-Profit Universities Make a Killing By Exploiting College Dreams.

* Udacity has moved on to a new scam: nanodegrees.

* Angry Letters to the One Member of Congress Who Voted Against the War on Terror.

* “Reluctant Warrior Bombs Yet Another Country.”

* FSU chooses a politician as its new president despite major opposition from faculty and students. From the archives: FSU to phase out academic operations.

* Head’s up, math geeks: big discovery about prime numbers.

* Chimpanzees Raised by Humans Have Social Difficulties With Other Chimps.

* Listen, it’s about yardage: FiveThirtyEight provides the cheat sheet necessary for me to interact with other Wisconsinites.

* ESPN suspends Bill Simmons for repeating ESPN’s own reporting about the NFL and drawing the only possible conclusion.

* 15.4% growth of Harvard’s endowment brings the total to a cool $36 billion, assuring Harvard’s continued existence for another year. And thank goodness.

* I think I’ve discovered a way to precrastinate my procrastination, which means I’m always so late I never bother to get off the couch.

* Science proves no one is allowed to have any fun: Researcher shows that black holes do not exist.

* Fraternities finally look in the mirror and confront the enemy within: drunk female guests. Should we ban frats?

* What it’s like to be struck by lightning. What it’s like to lose your memory at 22.

* Please don’t ever drive and text.

* And if you want a vision of the future, imagine Mitt Romney running for president, forever.

Late Night Sunday B-B-B-Bonus Links! May Cause Depression!

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* Alternet, against charter schools: Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed.

* Cops in Baton Rouge arresting people under a sodomy law overturned a decade ago. The police officers who are participating in this ought to be thrown in jail.

Could a Private University Have Made a Difference in Detroit? It’s an interesting thesis but requires a bit more data than just a spitball.

Reuters’ Climate Coverage Slashed Under “Skeptic” Editor. White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral. Does Lake Michigan’s record low mark beginning of new era for Great Lakes?

New Jersey Nightmare: A Mind-Boggling New Proposal Could Make The Next Superstorm Even More Deadly And Destructive. This is honestly insane:

Now, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, as coastal communities are still in the rebuilding process, Governor Chris Christie has a bill on his desk, S2680, that would give the green light to development on piers — all of which are now classified as high-hazard V-zone areas, according to FEMA’s new post-Sandy flood insurance maps.

* That’s one lesson delivered by San Jose State, though it’s unclear whether the school knows it. Of the $150 the students paid for each online course, the university kept only $40, with the rest going to Udacity.

* Competitive no-pay fellowship at Bard Graduate Center. (Don’t) apply today!

* But it’s not all bad news! Fast food workers will strike in seven cities tomorrow, including Milwaukee.

* An end to Limbaugh and Hannity? Where’s the anti-Kickstarter for this?

* After having bananas thrown at her during a political rally, Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black minister, told reporters that she would continue doing her job and that protesters should stop “wasting food.” Bananas. (Marc) Marone.

* And Randal Monroe has finished “Time.”

Thursday!

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* First we must understand that though the humanities in general and literary studies in particular are poor and struggling, we are not naturally poor and struggling. We are not on a permanent austerity budget because we don’t have the intrinsic earning power of the science and engineering fields and aren’t fit enough to survive in the modern university. I suggest, on the basis of a case study, that the humanities fields are poor and struggling because they are being milked like cash cows by their university administrations. The money that departments generate through teaching enrollments that the humanists do not spend on their almost completely unfunded research is routinely skimmed and sent elsewhere in the university. As the current university funding model continues to unravel, the humanities’ survival as national fields will depend on changing it. Via MLA.

* No one could have predicted: Citing disappointing student outcomes, San Jose State pauses work with Udacity.

* Tomrorow’s outrageous acquittals today: Here’s Florida’s Next Trayvon Martin Case.

* Possible Homeland Security pick tainted by racial profiling accusations. It would be terrible if racial politics were somehow allowed to corrupt the mission of Homeland Security.

* Eric Holder: I Had To Tell My Son How To Protect Himself From The Police Because He Is Black.

* Wyoming is a place with two escalators; it probably shouldn’t get two senators.

* As western water leaders converged on Las Vegas in December 2001, Southern California’s inability to contain its voracious appetite seemed finally to be bumping up against reality – there is only so much water in the Colorado River.

* My friend Fran McDonald has a piece in the Atlantic about laughter without humor.

The glitch aesthetic of the GIF emphasizes the uncanny quality of laughter. At each moment of re-looping, Portman performs a miniature convulsion that registers as an inhuman twitch. If humor makes us human — an assumed correlation that is so deeply written into our culture that the two share a basic etymological root — then laughter without humor appears to render us mechanical, terrifying, monstrous. It is not a coincidence that laughter without humor has become the great cinematic signifier of madness: think of Colin Clive’s maniacal “it’s alive!” hysterics in the famous 1931 film version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the crazed cackle of The Joker in the Batman comics.

* Today, surrogacies in the U.S. are managed by profitable “voluntary” clinic-agencies speaking the language of the “gift.” The labor (no pun intended) that commercial surrogates perform in the U.S. is not legally recognized as work but as volunteerism, though surrogacies cost at least four times the 1986 sum—whether they be traditional, in which the surrogate is impregnated with a client’s sperm, or, as is increasingly the case, gestational, in which an in-vitro-­fertilized embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s womb. Strict means-testing is used to assess a surrogate’s independent wealth, purporting to check for authentic “voluntariness.” This effectively bars working-class American women from entering surrogacy agreements. The U.S. surrogacy industry prefers to cast surrogacy as akin to basket-weaving or amateur pottery, not ­assembly-line factory work.

In India, the reverse is true. There are upwards of 3,500 so-called womb farms in the country, in which conscripted women offer the vital force of black flesh considered untouchable at home to incubate white children destined to be shipped back to Denmark, Israel, or the U.S. It’s a “purely economic arrangement” with a “mere vessel,” explains Dominic and Octavia Orchard of Oxfordshire, UK, a commissioning couple featured in the Daily Mail in 2012. To couples like these, surrogates are presented as transnational reproductive-service workers, their job description posted online and accompanied by detailed terms of service.

* And a Dan Harmon profile with more information on his firing and rehiring and plans for season five, for anyone who still hasn’t lost patience with either the series or him personally…