Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘USPS

Monday Morning Links!

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In Milwaukee, I lived two lives. On the East Side was the liberal Catholic school I attended for nine years; on the North Side was everything else. Dateline Milwaukee: Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation. Some Lesser Known Justice Facts about Milwaukee and Wisconsin. And a more positive Milwaukee profile: How Milwaukee Shook Off the Rust: The Midwestern hub reclaimed some of its industrial glory by doing a surprising thing. It cleaned up.

Google’s response to inquiries was chilling: “Google News Archive no longer has permission to display this content.” Entire Google archive of more than a century of stories is gone. Why?

A narrow street dead-ends at the Detroit River, where a black-and-white boat bobs in the water, emblazoned with a Postal Service eagle. This is the mail boat J.W. Westcott II, the only floating ZIP code in the United States.

Hugo Awards Celebrate Women in Sci-Fi, Send Rabid Puppies to Doghouse. Special congratulations to N.K. Jemisin, whose The Fifth Season I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and to Nnedi Okorafar, whose “Binti” I have read already and is fantastic. Relatedly, Abigail Nussbaum asks: Do the Hugos actually need saving?

In Conversation With Colson Whitehead.

* This seems like a pretty big deal: Justice Department Says Poor Can’t Be Held When They Can’t Afford Bail.

U.S. Army only fudged its accounts by mere trillions of dollars, auditor finds.

An Indiana City Is Poised To Become The Next Flint.

* Trump’s Empire.

* Another late-summer syllabus: Problems in Posthumanism. #WelfareReformSyllabus. And a study guide for a world without police.

* “It’s ridiculous—we are talking about the biggest retailer in the world. I may have half my squad there for hours.”

Ranking the Most (and Least) Diverse Colleges in America. Marquette sneaks in at #86, while my alma mater Case Western is a surprisingly high #40 and Duke gets #32.

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* The strangeness of deep time.

* How to make an R2-D2.

“The jobs that the robots will leave for humans will be those that require thought and knowledge. In other words, only the best-educated humans will compete with machines,” Howard Rheingold, an internet sociologist, told Pew. “And education systems in the US and much of the rest of the world are still sitting students in rows and columns, teaching them to keep quiet and memorize what is told to them, preparing them for life in a 20th century factory.” Nothing can stop Judgment Day, but with the liberal arts you just might have a chance of surviving it…

98 personal data points that Facebook uses to target ads to you.

* Hot.
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Only about a hundred groups of isolated indigenous people are believed to still exist, with more than half of them living in the wilderness that straddles Peru’s border with Brazil. Fiona Watson, the field director of the tribal-people’s-rights group Survival International, told me that the situation was dire for the region’saislados, as isolated people are called in Spanish. In a cramped London office, Watson laid out satellite maps to show me their territory, small patches in a geography overtaken by commerce: arcs of slash-and-burn farmland; huge expanses where agribusinesses raise cattle and grow soy; mining camps that send minerals to China; migrant boomtowns. Some of the indigenous groups were hemmed in on all sides by mining and logging concessions, both legal and illegal. One tribe in Brazil, the Akuntsu, had been reduced to four members. Near them, a man known to anthropologists only as the Man of the Hole lives in a hollow dug in the forest floor, warding off intruders by firing arrows. He is believed to be the last of his tribe.

The poet and activist June Jordan once wrote that “poetry means taking control of the language of your life.” Solmaz Sharif does just that in her excellent debut collection, “Look,” pushing readers to acknowledge a lexicon of war she has drawn from the Defense Department’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Language, in this collection, is called upon as victim, executioner and witness.

Mr. Robot and Why TV Twists Don’t Work Anymore.

* Pittsburgh and the birth of the self-driving car.

* Iceland and revolution.

While people around the world will no doubt continue to project various fantasies onto the tiny island republic, the fact remains that Iceland has yet to see any surge in left mobilization comparable to that in Portugal and Greece — or even the more modest adjustments being made inside the two trans-Atlantic establishment left-liberal parties in the form of the Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn campaigns.

This brilliant map renames each US state with a country generating the same GDP.

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88 College Taglines, Arranged as a Poem.

* The movie you’ve already completely forgotten about will indeed have a sequel bound to disappoint you.

Lang will reprise his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch, Avatar’s villain who appeared definitively dead at the end of the film after taking several huge Na’vi arrows through his chest. Despite that setback, Quaritch is expected to be resurrected in some way and will appear in all the remaining sequels.

Eywa* save us all.

* Reader, I googled it.

* Lovecraft and suburbia and Stranger Things.

* Anyway, the point I’d like you to take away from this is that while it’s really hard to say “sending an interstellar probe is absolutely impossible”, the smart money says that it’s extremely difficult to do it using any technology currently existing or in development. We’d need a whole raft of breathroughs, including radiation shielding techniques to kick the interstellar medium out of the way of the probe as well as some sort of beam propulsion system and then some way of getting data back home across interstellar distances … and that’s for a flyby mission like New Horizons that would take not significantly less than a human lifetime to get there.

I Went on a Weeklong Cruise For Conspiracy Theorists. It Ended Poorly.

* My new favorite Twitter bot: @dungeon_junk.

* Viacom is hemorrhaging money, in part on the basis of the struggling Star Trek (and Ninja Turtles, and Ben Hur) reboot franchises.

Friend acquires a lot of cheese. What to do with it?

* And of course you had me at Historic Midcentury Modernist Motels of the New Jersey Coast.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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NYEE Links! A Whole Lot of Them!

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* What happened when slaves and free men were shipwrecked together. Amazing read.

* Schedule for the MLA Subconference.

The MLA’s annual report on its Job Information List has found that in 2014-15, it had 1,015 jobs in English, 3 percent fewer than the previous year. The list had 949 jobs in foreign languages, 7.6 percent fewer than 2013-14. The full report.

“These young T.A.s believed they were being asked to prostitute themselves in order to increase enrollment in the Spanish Department.”

33fede02e91b49a340ebc73e372b33f9* A gallery of interesting gravestones.

* Reading Everything Aaron Swartz Wrote.

* “Obscure law lets Prince of Wales set off nuclear bombs.”

* “The hidden legacy of 70 years of atomic weaponry: at least 33,480 Americans dead.”

* Your weekly must-read: N.K. Jemisin has a new SF/F column in the The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in SF: A Conversation.

Adjuncts at Loyola University Chicago Want a Union. Will the Jesuit University Respect Their Demands?

* The Absolute Disruption blog has some thoughts on spoilerphobia and The Force Awakens, with a digression through my Tolkien/TFA piece. That piece has had some interesting patterns of circulation, incidentally; the Salon piece did well on Facebook and Twitter while the WordPress version has had a second life in the conservative blogosphere by way of Ross Douthat and Tyler Cowen….

* George Lucas, genius. Another oral history of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Star Wars and the death of culture. What was cut from The Force Awakens. 13 Story Ideas That Were Dropped from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What is a Mary Sue, and does Star Wars: The Force Awakens have one? I have not seen the new Star Wars but ambient levels of Star Wars have reached such a peak that I feel eminently qualified to review it without actually seeing the film or even reading a plot synopsis. Anakin Skywalker and the Methods of Rationality.

Given that the term Mary Sue will always carry gendered connotations and that it is highly likely to be disproportionately applied to female protagonists—who, in big budget epics, are already vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts—I see very little benefit to its continued use.

* “This iconic picture will live in history. When a women escaped ISIS territory and was able to wear color again.” More links after the photo.

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A suggestion for search committees, and some questions.

The Irresistible Psychology of Fairy Tales.

* From the archives: The Really Big One.

When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater. (Watch what your fingertips do when you flatten your hand.) The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”

In the Pacific Northwest, the area of impact will cover* some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people.

* ESPN is such a money pit it’s even dragging Star Wars down.

* My life as a job creator.

Guy Beats Fallout 4 Without Killing Anyone, Nearly Breaks The Game.

It’s a brute-force method, yes. Like I said earlier, Fallout 4 really doesn’t want you to play the game this way, and all of its mechanics ensure that, at some point during a normal playthrough, you’ll have to lodge bullets into someone’s noggin. Even if you take the so-called peaceful perks.

Cleveland Officer Will Not Face Charges in Tamir Rice Shooting Death. How Can No One Be to Blame for Tamir Rice’s Death? How Philadelphia prosecutors protect police misconduct: Cops get caught lying — and then get off the hook. Police Rarely Criminally Charged for On-Duty Shootings. When is it legal for a cop to kill you?

Why we turned off comments on Tamir Rice news stories.

* ASU’s Global Freshman Academy Is a Complete Bust.

* Being Véra Nabokov.

* Today in loopholes: consumptive demand.

* Loophole watch, part two: Pope Francis: atheists who follow their consciences will be welcome in Heaven.

* Why not cubic centimeters, or raw tonnage? Among other issues, the report said, Princeton had allotted “only 1,500 square feet” for student incubator and accelerator programs, “whereas Cornell has 364,000; Penn 200,000; Berkeley 108,000; Harvard 30,000; Stanford 12,000; Yale 7,700; N.Y.U. 6,000; and Columbia 5,000.” 

* Great moments in political campaigning.

* This story has everything.

* Like Goodfellas but for embezzling from a fruitcake company.

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions.

* Africa and the Looting Machine.

* The House That Marx Built. Marxism for Tomorrow.

How Esurance Lost Its Mascot to the Internet.

* NSFW, obviously, but: These Real Women Want to Show You How to Give Them an Orgasm.

* Everything is totally normal, don’t even sweat it.

* We’ve been talking about climate change for a long time. Why Engineers Can’t Stop Los Angeles’ Enormous Methane Leak.

The Opium Wars, Neoliberalism, and the Anthropocene.

The Radical History of 1960s Adult Coloring Books.

The DMCA poisoned the Internet of Things in its cradle.

* More than one-third of wells in dairy farm-intensive Kewaunee County were found to be unsafe because they failed to meet health standards for drinking water, according to a new study.

William Gibson: how I wrote Neuromancer.

This Man Just Guessed How Much the Movies Have Spent “Rescuing” Matt Damon.

* For the poor in the Deep South’s cities, simply applying for a job exposes the barriers of a particularly pervasive and isolating form of poverty.

* Your 2016 TV Preview.

Why Do Employers Still Routinely Drug-Test Workers?

When Gun Violence Felt Like a Disease, a City in Delaware Turned to the C.D.C.

Reports of rapes of college-age women in localities of big-time teams go up significantly on game days, national study finds.

After difficult summer, UW-Madison fighting off efforts to poach top professors. The view from the provinces.

The Coolest Images From National Geographic’s 2015 Photo Contest. This Is Your Brain on Nature.

Star Wars Lego Sets Exploding at 3,000 Frames per Second Is the Best Guilty Pleasure.

* When Bobby Shrugged.

The science myths that will not die.

* Because you demanded it! The DeBoerist Manifesto.

* And Here’s More Evidence That Galactic Super-Civilizations Don’t Exist. But don’t you believe it! Bring on 2016!

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 30, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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

Monday Morning Links!

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* David Mitchell on how to write: “Neglect Everything Else.” I’m already doing it!

* Capitalism turned California into a desert. You’ll never believe what happened next.

* Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge Under Global Warming?

The rise of bottled water here in the States shows how a public institution can be demonized and replaced by a much more expensive privatized solution.

* Mistakes Parents Make With Financial Aid.

* In between the time Shane Morris suffered what seemed to be an obvious concussion and the time he was carted off the field, Brady Hoke made him play football.

* But the broader problem with these optimistic, utopian tales is that they rationalise the pathologies of the current political and economic system, presenting them as our conscious lifestyle choices. Against the Sharing Economy.

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* BREAKING: The American health care system is the absolute worst.

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* Education Gibberish Generator.

We will triangulate innovative paradigms in data-driven schools.
We will mesh hands-on methodologies for our 21st Century learners.
We will aggregate intuitive guiding coalitions through the use of centers.

* Inside the Starbucks at Langley.

* Brooklyn Postal Worker Hoarded 40,000 Pieces of Undelivered Mail. The kicker: “Brucato admitted to hoarding the mail since 2005 and has been suspended with pay until the case is settled.”

* The Golden Age of Television Is the Golden Age of American Divorce.

* The PEN Panel on Sex and Violence in Children’s Literature.

* David Simon’s Next.

* Hobbit 419.

In view of this, I received your contact through a friend and counselor, an ingenious wizard, who noted you as a Burglar who wants a good job, plenty of Excitement and reasonable Reward. And I and my twelve companions have agreed to give you 10% of the total gold and jewels that the dragon Smaug now rests upon if you can join us on our long journey. When you have agreed please tell us the place where you dwell and send one hundred pence so that we might travel to you.

* Google Derek Jeter Truth. Wake up sheeple!

* What went wrong on Alien3.

Some thoughts on Harry Potter as a dystopia.

* And lots of smart people didn’t like this piece, but I thought it was bracing: How to abolish labor within 5 years in five simple steps. I think it helps that I read so much SF.

Thursday Night

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* Maryland votes in gay marriage! 42 to go.

* A new study finds academic dads abusing paternity league.

* How to predict a student’s SAT score: Look at the parents’ tax return.

* Map of the night: U.S. military and CIA interventions since World War II.

* Regarding The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence.

* Two terrible tastes that taste bad together: Rick Santorum and for-profit colleges.

* Mittpocalypse: Romney Drops Below 40 Percent Against Obama in Rasmussen Tracking Poll. Not that Obama’s doing so great either.

* Taibbi is loving it.

* Ron Paul, Peter Theil, and Palantir.

* USPSocalypse.

* Furious backpedaling in Virginia.

* Republic Windows and Doors has been re-occupied. Elsewhere in Occupied America: Rebecca Solnit rhapsodizes—but maybe also eulogizes—Occupy Oakland, while a group affiliated with Occupy Wall Street will host a national convention in July.

“We feel that following the footsteps of our founding fathers is the right way to go,” an organizer told the AP.

I propose we rethink that.

* Why do people make false confessions?

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has confirmed that scientists have found errors in a physics experiment that recorded particles traveling 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light in late 2011. But now, the agency says that one of the errors means the particles could have been traveling faster than that!

* And today’s chilling vision of things to come: “Mutated Trout Raise New Concerns Near Mine Sites.” Enjoy your weekend!

What’s Wrong with the Post Office?

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But what has been lost in the political debate over the Post Office is why it is losing this money. Major media coverage points to the rise of email or Internet services and the inefficiency of the post model as the major culprits. While these factors may cause some fiscal pain, almost all of the postal service’s losses over the last four years can be traced back to a single, artificial restriction forced onto the Post Office by the Republican-led Congress in 2006.

At the very end of that year, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Under PAEA, USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do.”

As consumer advocate Ralph Nader noted, if PAEA was never enacted, USPS would actually be facing a $1.5 billion surplus today:

By June 2011, the USPS saw a total net deficit of $19.5 billion, $12.7 billion of which was borrowed money from Treasury (leaving just $2.3 billion left until the USPS hits its statutory borrowing limit of $15 billion). This $19.5 billion deficit almost exactly matches the $20.95 billion the USPS made in prepayments to the fund for future retiree health care benefits by June 2011. If the prepayments required under PAEA were never enacted into law, the USPS would not have a net deficiency of nearly $20 billion, but instead be in the black by at least $1.5 billion.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 29, 2011 at 11:20 am