Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Utopia

Massive Monday Super Mega-Links!

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* Well they can’t take it back now.

* SFRA 18 attendees! Apply for a travel grant, if you have a need!

* Extrapolation 59.1 is here! With articles on climate fiction, Fahrenheit 451, Ballard’s Crash, and fantasy maps.

* CFP: The Future is Unwritten: Representations of Political Resistance and Emancipation in Science Fiction.

* Think of yourself as a planet.

* One year later, Marquette Magazine remembers “Buffy at 20,” with an unforgivably bloated and sweaty picture of me.

* I have a piece coming out in LARB this weekend that talks about the epilogue to The Handmaid’s Tale and why there shouldn’t have been a second season to the Hulu series. The early reviews seem to bear that intuition out.

* Diary of a Settler of Catan.

Janelle Monáe’s About to Drop the Afrofuturist Art Film We’ve All Been Waiting for. How Janelle Monáe Found Her Voice.

* How to write great SF about disability law.

Louis Cha, who is ninety-four years old and lives in luxurious seclusion atop the jungled peak of Hong Kong Island, is one of the best-selling authors alive. Widely known by his pen name, Jin Yong, his work, in the Chinese-speaking world, has a cultural currency roughly equal to that of “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” combined.

AI researchers call that observation Moravec’s paradox, and have known about it for decades. It does not seem to be the sort of problem that could be cured with a bit more research. Instead, it seems to be a fundamental truth: physical dexterity is computationally harder than playing Go.

Why Is the Human Brain So Efficient?

Players Have Crowned A New Best Board Game — And It May Be Tough To Topple.

Ever since the 2016 presidential election, we’ve been warned against normalizing Trump. That fear of normalization misstates the problem, though. It’s never the immediate present, no matter how bad, that gets normalized — it’s the not-so-distant past. Because judgments of the American experiment obey a strict economy, in which every critique demands an outlay of creed and every censure of the present is paid for with a rehabilitation of the past, any rejection of the now requires a normalization of the then.

* Premediating the end of the professorate without even so much as a token consideration of how we might fight back. At the Chronicle, of course!

* A real free speech infraction on campus. This is such a cut and dry case of administrative malfeasance that of course it’s being treated as a major controversy. Lawsplainer.

* Here’s another “actually existing free speech” issue for you.

* Contingent work and free speech.

Three months’ severance after negotiating yearlong contracts in bad faith.

* How to Hold Predators in Academia Accountable.

Inside a university’s controversial plan for Baltimore.

* How Liberty University Build a Billion-Dollar Empire Online.

* Abolish the MLA interview.

* #SaveOurMajors.

* Who will send me checks for $60 now? University Press of New England Will Shut Down.

* The right-wing plot to take over student governments.

Students, employees scour college finances for waste, proof of unfair pay.

Palantir Knows Everything About You.

* A cure worse than the disease: The “fake news” hysteria is unleashing a wave of free-speech crackdowns worldwide.

Neil Gorsuch voted with the liberal justices, but his opinion should chill you to the bone.

Pulling Back the Curtain on the Labor of Professional Sport.

* Seven Days of Heroin in Cincinnati.

* War is over (if you want it).

The lie pictures tell: an ex-model on the truth behind her perfect photos.

Sarah Nicole Prickett on the Myth of the Wonder Woman.

Is Your Body Appropriate to Wear to School?

How Games Can Better Accommodate Disabled Players.

Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes.

* Maria Bamford files restraining order against Trump over nuclear war threats. Trump challenges Native Americans’ historical standing. Gee, weird, what could explain it. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. There’s going to be nothing left.

How the FBI Helped Sink Clinton’s Campaign. ‘What Can I Say, I’m Just A Catty Bitch From New Jersey And I Live For Drama.’ The DNC sues.

* ICE vs children. ICE vs. marriage. ICE vs. journalism. ICE vs. farmers. ICE deports its first Dreamer. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Utah Man Shot and Killed While Complying with Police Commands to Show His Hands.

The US Army is developing AI that can recognize faces in the dark and through walls. Keep scrolling, human…

Top Republican Official Says Trump Won Wisconsin Because of Voter ID Law.

* Democracy! Catch the fever.

* I honestly don’t see how any of our existing press norms can accommodate this technology.

* Sean Hannity, forecloser and slumlord.

* Han Solo, parent.

* Greetings from Cape Town at the end of the world.

3635 Pitch Pine Cres.

‘Wolverine: The Long Night’: Marvel’s First Scripted Podcast is Doing What Their Films and TV Shows Never Could.

The average American utters their first curse word of the day at 10:54 am, according to new data. Fucking lightweights.

It turns out Oregonians are good at growing cannabis—too good.

Rare Mutation Among Bajau People Lets Them Stay Underwater Longer.

Hans Asperger, hailed for autism research, may have sent child patients to be killed by Nazis.

* Philly’s prison population has dropped 9 percent since our new DA took office earlier this year.

Florida Police Allegedly Crash Funeral Home to Unlock Phone With Slain Man’s Fingerprints.

* Darwinist literary criticism. Parenting. Life is a journey. Dance like no one’s watching. The Death Spot. Eu-antisociality. Do we own the cats, or do they own us? Moneybattle. Oops.

* Radicalizing teachers.

* Liberalism and cruelty.

The wealth gap between blacks and whites would take 225 years to disappear, according to one recent, rather optimistic, estimate. As to how this could happen, theories abound.

Cynthia Nixon Has Already Won.

* The first person on Mars should be a woman.

National Geographic’s Photography Erased People. It’s Too Late For An Apology.

4 baboons at Texas research center back after brief escape.

Slow-Motion Ocean Apocalypse: Atlantic’s Circulation Is Weakest in 1,600 Years.

Smartphones Are Killing The Planet Faster Than Anyone Expected.

* Meanwhile the dinosaur puppet is already on its second tour in Afghanistan.

* We are discovered; flee at once.

* Places people! We open in two days!

* If I ever do get around to writing about Chloe Sullivan, this will be a very odd footnote.

* And see? All that schooling is good for something.

 

Written by gerrycanavan

April 23, 2018 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning Links!

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* 6 minutes 30 seconds. The Parkland Manifesto. Photos.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: Empty half the Earth of its humans. It’s the only way to save the planet.

Toward an Ecologically Based Post-Capitalism: Interview With Novelist Kim Stanley Robinson.

* Green Manhattan.

* Star Trek: Discovery‘s tour through poorly thought-out Trek arcana looks ready to tackle Section 31 next. The biggest shock here is that they may actually be able to get Michelle Yeoh back.

CFP: Context is for Kings – An Edited Collection on Star Trek: Discovery.

* CFP: Utopian Acts.

Britain: Universities on Strike.

Student Evaluations Can’t Be Used to Assess Professors. Our research shows they’re biased against women. That means using them is illegal.

* Amazing how a CHE piece specifically focused on a college president’s flamboyant anti-faculty rhetoric is still totally agnostic as to whether anything he says is true or whether anything he proposes will work.

How Charles Koch Is Helping Neo-Confederates Teach College Students.

In a Historic Vote, Renowned Art School Cooper Union Commits to Bringing Back Free Tuition For All.

Why Relentless Administrative Turnover Makes It Hard for Us to Do Our Jobs.

These Are the 100 Most Militarized Universities in America.

* The reviews for Isle of Dogs are coming in and they’re pretty mixed, with a lot of attention to the film’s aggressive cultural appropriation. Who could have predicted!

* None dare call it genocide: It’s been almost six months since Hurricane Maria, and Puerto Ricans are still dying.

Bad Games, Broken-World Playing, and the Scholarship of Repair.

* 1977: Semiocapitalism and the Real Subsumption of Fantasy.

Kurt Vonnegut Festival to Feature Father John Misty, Waxahatchee, and More.

As reported by the Kansas City Star, the indictment—which you can, and should, look through for yourself right here—reads like a slowly mounting horror story, as owner Jeff Henry, park manager Tyler Miles, and ride designer John Schooley (described as lacking “any kind of technical or engineering credential relevant to amusement ride design or safety”) apparently did everything in their power to make Verrückt a tragedy waiting to happen. Los Angeles Times correspondent Matt Pearce highlighted a number of the most chilling moments from the indictment on Twitter, including excerpts showing the ride’s rushed design and construction, secret failed bouts of testing, willful destruction of safety reports, and even an incident in which Miles allegedly sent lawyers in an effort to intimidate teenage employees from blowing the whistle on the park. Nationalize water parks.

* “If you are seeking a sentence of 3 years incarceration, state on the record that the cost to the taxpayer will be $126,000.00 (3 x $42,000.00) if not more and explain why you believe the cost is justified.” Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner Promised a Criminal Justice Revolution. He’s Exceeding Expectations.

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Were Struggling Before Arizona Crash. I was completely willing to give the automated cars the benefit of the doubt before I saw the video, but it’s clear this technology is not ready and these trials should be suspended until it is.

A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy.

Facebook is enmeshed in another controversy, this time over accusations that the firm Cambridge Analytica abused Facebook data to help Donald Trump win the 2016 US presidential election. But this is a big deal fundamentally because of a larger and more fundamental problem: Facebook is bad.

* White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households. Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys.

* Five-year relative survival is lower for blacks than whites for most cancers at each stage of diagnosis.

Unarmed black man shot to death in own backyard after police mistake cell phone for weapon.

The Jumpsuit That Will Replace All Clothes Forever. The immediate criticism of this article I saw on Twitter: the outfit requires women to get almost entirely naked to go to the bathroom, change a tampon, or nurse.

An Arbitrary Number of Theses on Donald’s Trump.

* The United States of Amnesia, again and again. 15 Years. More Than 1 Million Dead. No One Held Responsible.

*  For the first time, we are living in a truly post-cold-war political environment in the United States.

Underground network readies homes to hide undocumented immigrants.

Immigrant mom arrested in front of kids and accused of human smuggling is released without charges.

‘Where’s Mommy?’: A family fled death threats, only to face separation at the border.

Five Manhattan doctors were paid more than $800,000 by a pharmaceutical company to prescribe a spray version of the highly potent and addictive opioid fentanyl to more and more patients whether they needed it or not, according to an indictment handed up Friday in federal court.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches across 617,000 square miles of the northern Pacific Ocean, based on their survey, and plastics make up 99.9 percent of the trash in the patch.

* U.S. Military Is World’s Biggest Polluter.

Humanity’s Meat and Dairy Intake Must Be Cut in Half by 2050 to Avoid Dangerous Climate Change. Why It’s Time for America to Tax Meat.

Destruction of nature as dangerous as climate change, scientists warn.

The world’s last surviving male northern white rhino has died after months of poor health, his carers say.

* Utah just legalized what parenting was like in the 1980s.

* Behold, the famous efficiency of capitalism.

* Stephen Hawking, socialist.

Jordan Peterson & Fascist Mysticism.

Welcome to Powder Mountain – a utopian club for the millennial elite.

My Cow Game Extracted Your Facebook Data.

Jack Kirby’s 1979 concept sketches for “Science Fiction World”, a proposed theme park.

Analyzing the Crazy, Complicated Credits of Avengers: Infinity War.

My estimates regarding the average revenue generated by major-conference football and basketball players are based on varying assumptions, ranging from very conservative to relatively liberal, regarding the effects of big-time college sports on fund raising. Yet even the low-end estimate suggests that, if players were compensated on the model employed by professional sports leagues when they divide revenue, major college football and basketball players should receive an average of $750,000 annually. Note that this figure would still result in these nonprofit — and therefore largely untaxed — universities retaining revenues generated by football and basketball that would equal their entire athletic operating budgets just a decade ago.

* Punishing Women for Being Smart.

So in 2014, the Tampa Bay Times set out to count every officer-involved shooting in Florida during a six-year period. We learned that at least 827 people were shot by police — one every 2½ days.

Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility.

When Police Officers Use Sexual Assault to Terrorize Vulnerable Communities.

A proposal to stop 3D printers from making guns is a perfect parable of everything wrong with information security.

* If it’s anything like the comics, this could be really good: ‘Astro City’ TV Series Based On Comics In Works At FremantleMedia North America.

* Mars, bitches!

* Our nukes, ourselves.

* Not great, Bob.

What in God’s Name Happened to Ricky Gervais?

* I’ll certainly hear the asteroid out.

* The Fermi Paradox and the miracle of life.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* And of course you had me at Dungeons and Dragons creatures, generated by neural network.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 25, 2018 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Sunday Morning After ICFA Links!

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* Two poems from the great Jaimee Hills: “Frosted Palm” and “The Books in the Bushes.”

* ICYMI: My #ICFA39 talk, “Star Trek after Discovery.” Building on my AUFS post from last week, and it’s already inspired an expansion at r/DaystromInstitute.

* Have you played this new gritty realistic fantasy game?

* How does Neil Gaiman work?

* How vulture capitalists ate Toys R Us.

* The constitutional crisis is always arriving and never arrived. It’s been here at least twenty years.

* The market can’t solve a massacre.

And so in schools across the country, Americans make their children participate in Active Shooter drills. These drills, which can involve children as young as kindergartners hiding in closets and toilet stalls, and can even include simulated shootings, are not just traumatic and of dubious value. They are also an educational enterprise in their own right, a sort of pedagogical initiation into what is normal and to be expected. Very literally, Americans teach their children to understand the intrusion of rampaging killers with assault rifles as a random force of nature analogous to a fire or an earthquake. This seems designed to foster in children a consciousness that is at once hypervigilant and desperate, but also morbid and resigned—in other words, to mold them into perfectly docile citizen-consumers. And if children reject this position and try to take action, some educational authorities will attempt to discipline their resistance out of them, as in Texas, where one school district has threatened to penalize students who walk out in anti-gun violence actions, weaponizing the language of “choices” and “consequences” to literally quash “any type of protest or awareness.”

All rise and no fall: how Civilization reinforces a dangerous myth.

* Rethinking dehumanization.

There Are No Guardrails on Our Privacy Dystopia.

On misogynoir: citation, erasure, and plagiarism.

ICE Spokesman Resigns, Saying He Could No Longer Spread Falsehoods for Trump Administration.

* The U.S. separates a mother and daughter fleeing violence in Congo.

James Mattis is linked to a massive corporate fraud and nobody wants to talk about it.

* Amazing that Trump’s personal aide was fired by the White House while being investigated and then immediately rehired by the campaign and it’s like a C story at best.

* The A story.

How America’s prisons are fueling the opioid epidemic.

* The rise of the prison state.

Trump administration studies seeking the death penalty for drug dealers.

Former Black Panther Herman Wallace dies days after judge overturns murder conviction that saw him serve 41 years in solitary confinement.

* Oconomowoc schools impose limits on ‘privilege’ discussions after parents complain.

* With a tightening labor market, CEOs are chasing after the same workers they once derided as unemployable.

America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just Beginning.

* The YouTube Kids app has been suggesting a load of conspiracy videos to children.

* The missing Obama millions.

* What America looked like before the EPA.

Supreme Court Can’t Wait to Kill Youth Climate Lawsuit.

Rapid Arctic warming and melting ice are increasing the frequency of blizzards in the Northeast, study finds.

* YouTube mini-lecture from Adam Kotsko: Trump as mutation, or parody, of neoliberalism. And some more Kotsko content: Superheroes, Science Fiction, and Social Transformation.

The Rise of Dismal Science Fiction.

* The Science Fiction of Roe v. Wade.

* Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities: A Collection of Space Futures. A response.

* Against popular culture.

David Foster Wallace and the Horror of Neuroscience.

* Neither utopia nor apocalypse? Somedays I feel like both is the most likely outcome of all, a heaven for them and a hell for the rest of us.

Who Owns the Robots? Automation and Class Struggle in the 21st Century.

* Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking. His last goodbye.

* Facing Disaster: The Great Challenges Framework.

‘Picked Apart by Vultures’: The Last Days of Stan Lee.

For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.

Why museum professionals need to talk about Black Panther.

PSA: Marvel’s Black Panther Animated Series is Streaming for Free on YouTube.

* Hate spree killings in Austin.

* Wakanda Forever.

* Thus Spake Black Bolt.

* To Catch a Predator. You know it’s a bleak story when the NYPD are the good guys.

The radical vision of Wages for Housework.

* Happy International Women’s Day.

* Hundreds of Missouri’s 15-year-old brides may have married their rapists.

If NYT printed the *actual, real-life* sentiments of today’s conservative masses, it would print a bunch of paranoid, Fox-generated fairy tales and belligerent expressions of xenophobia, misogyny, racism, and proud, anti-intellectual ignorance. 

* Surveillance in everything: A US university is tracking students’ locations to predict future dropouts.

* Dialectics of the superhero: 1, 2.

* #MAaEEoOGFwNCBA.

* Pew pew.

* Huge, if true: Studying for a humanities PhD can make you feel cut off from humanity.

* From the archives: The Racial Injustice of Big-Time College Sports.

* Podcast minute: Screw It, We’re Just Gonna Talk about Spider-Man and The Beatles. The first is new and the second is old but both are worth checking out.

* Goodbye, cruel world.

* And I’m not a lazy home owner. I’m a goddamn hero.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 18, 2018 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Don’t Fall Behind, Spring Ahead with These Sunday Morning Links

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* The R.D. Mullen Fellowship is calling for applications. The deadline this year is April 2, 2018.

Fully Automated Luxury Socialism: The Case for a New Public Sector.

* For Your Consideration: African Speculative Fiction Society Nommos 2018.

I had a few bad parents during my time in One Hour, One Life but only one of them outright abandoned me. Most of them, even if they could barely care for themselves, tried to keep me alive. “We’re going to die,” one mother told me when I spawned into the game with her in the middle of a barren wilderness. We did, but she carried me with her every step of the way through our brief lives. ‘One Hour, One Life’: This Game Broke My Heart and Restored My Faith in Humanity.

We Must Cancel Everyone’s Student Debt, for the Economy’s Sake.

* Solarpunk: Against a Shitty Future.

Despite their claim to be the champions facts, reason, and evidence the right-wing and alt-liberal figures have failed to understand a simple fact about universities: they’re not actually left-wing places at all.

* Fewer foreign students exacerbate financial challenges for some U.S. universities.

* 99 Problems in Academia.

* What passes for intellectualism on the right.

* Unpaid internships are back.

All The Movies I Didn’t See.

My guess is, having elected, much to their surprise, a lunatic as the most powerful man on the planet, a man who boasts of ‘his’ nukes being bigger than Kim Jong-un’s, a man who could actually be crazy enough to unleash a nuclear warhead on millions, the Americans are sorely missing a time when the white man did something right.

* A slow, cerebral, Miracleman depiction of Barry Allen losing all touch with his humanity Dr.-Manhattan-style seems like the only way for The Flash to proceed from here.

* Black Panther crosses $1 billion.

* “President Trump would be able to dispatch Secret Service agents to polling places nationwide during a federal election, a vast expansion of executive authority, if a provision in a Homeland Security reauthorization bill remains intact.”

* Echoes of the Fugitive Slave Act in today’s immigration debate.

We’ll Never See This Politically Themed Black-ish Episode Because of ‘Creative Differences.’

* How to Lose Your Job From Sexual Harassment in 33 Easy Steps.

This Is What Happens When Bitcoin Miners Take Over Your Town.

YouTube, the Great Radicalizer.

* Super Mario as it was meant to be experienced.

* The legend of Kelly.

* The Singularity in theory and practice.

* If you want a vision of the future.

I Felt Despair About Climate Change—Until a Brush With Death Changed My Mind. “Leukemia and climate change have more in common than you might think.”

* Remembering The Hobbit: The Text Adventure.

* love 2 post on social media

* And a much-too-long-delayed Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal roundup: The oceans are warming. It’s altering turtle reproduction so that the vast majority of offspring are female. It was mistake to drop acid with Neil Degrasse Tyson. Pure evil. I’ll do anything for a good grade. Dear science. Dr. Bees. On sequels. I have this nightmare where a giant monster chases me. I’m going to give you a pill that’ll double your intelligence. Welcome to robot heaven. Penguin have a much happier version of the Titanic story. Finegan’s Wake. You are watching The Nihilist Channel. Where do you think all these fossils come from? Get me a scientist! Purposelessness is the only real super villain. Daddy, can I ask you something? The fundamental kid utility function. And my whole life has been one string of failures. Please send help.

Time Travel Will NEVER Be Canon on gerrycanavan.wordpress.com, and Other Tuesday Links

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* Dialectics of Black Panther: By sliding between the real and unreal, Black Panther frees us to imagine the possibilities — and the limitations — of an Africa that does not yet exist. Ultimately, “Black Panther” does what all superhero movies do: It asks us to place faith in the goodness of individuals rather than embracing revolutionary structural change. In effect, the Wakandan Kingdom is caught between two bleak visions of America: walling itself off, or potentially imposing on other nations. The Afrofuturistic Designs of Black Panther. ‘Black Panther’ offers a regressive, neocolonial vision of Africa. Africa is a country in Wakanda. What to Watch After Black Panther: An Afrofuturism Primer. I was asked to write a short piece for Frieze building on my blog post from the weekend, so look for that as early as tomorrow…

* Adam Kotsko’s talk on Rick and Morty and BoJack Horseman is now streaming from mu.edu.

* Major nerd news: Star Wars: Rebels just introduced time travel into the main canon for the first time. There were minor, often debatable incidents before, but never in the “main plot,” and never as a key incident in the life of a character this important to fans. I’m surprised: I used to use “no time travel in Star Wars” as an example of how franchises police themselves — though as I was saying on Twitter this morning the recent introduction of true time travel to both Star Wars and Harry Potter suggests it may in fact be what happens to long-running fantasy franchises when they grow decadent. Now Tolkien stands alone as the only major no-time-travel SF/F franchises, unless I’m forgetting something — and Tolkien considered a time travel plot for a long time, and actually promised CS Lewis he would write one, but abandoned it…

Leaving Omelas: Science Fiction, Climate Change, and the Future.

Half of world’s oceans now fished industrially, maps reveal. North Pole surges above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists. What Land Will Be Underwater in 20 Years? Figuring It Out Could Be Lucrative. Scott Pruitt’s EPA.

In order to do this I propose a test. A favorite trope among the administrative castes is accountability. People must be held accountable, they tell us, particularly professors. Well, let’s take them at their word and hold themaccountable. How have they done with the public trust since having assumed control of the university?

Lecturers on Strike.

Disaster Capitalism Hits Higher Education in Wisconsin.

Anonymous faculty group threatens to take down Silent Sam.

West Virginia Teachers Walk Out.

Markelle Fultz — along with a slew of huge names and top college basketball programs — have been named in a bombshell report into NCAA hoops corruption involving illegal payouts to players. The Real Lesson of the Weekend’s NCAA Scandals Is That College Basketball Coaches Should Be Dumped in the Ocean.

* Meanwhile.

What directional school is the most directionally correct? A case study.

* The Yale student who secretly lived in a ventilation shaft.

How the Activists Who Tore Down Durham’s Confederate Statue Got Away With It.

The teenagers from Stoneman Douglas are fearlessly reimagining how to effect change in the Trump era.

* Coming soon: Muppet Guys Talking.

Disney’s Frozen musical opens on Broadway: ‘More nudity than expected.’

* Greenwald v. Risen re: Russia.

“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?” technologist Aviv Ovadya warns.

* Despite the NPR’s handwringing about threats and vulnerability, the United States already possesses the most responsive, versatile, and deadly nuclear strike forces on the planet. In essence, the Pentagon now proposes to embark upon an arms race, largely with itself, in order to preserve that status.

* Simulating nuclear war.

* The case against tipping culture.

The Tipped Minimum Wage Is Fueling Sexual Harassment in Restaurants.

* Monica Lewinsky in the Age of #MeToo.

Life Without Retirement Savings.

Americans’ reliance on household debt ─ and poor people’s struggles to pay it off ─ has fueled a collection industry that forces many of them into jail, a practice that critics call a misuse of the criminal justice system.

Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection.

* Gerrymandering a 28-0 New York.

On Being a Woman in the Late-Night Boys’ Club.

In the article, Sally Payne, a pediatric occupational therapist, explains that the nature of play has changed over the past decade. Instead of giving kids things to play with that build up their hand muscles, such as building blocks, or toys that need to be pushed or pulled along, parents have been handing them tablets and smartphones. Because of this, by the time they’re old enough to go to school, many children lack the hand strength and fine motor control required to correctly hold a pencil and write.

* Understand your user feedback.

Switzerland makes it illegal to boil a live lobster.

* The U.S. Border Patrol’s violent, racist, and ineffectual policies have come to a head under Trump. What can be done? Mother and daughter are now at detention facilities 2,000 miles apart. Warning of ICE action, Oakland mayor takes Trump resistance to new level.

The City & The City coming to TV in 2018 (again).

* BoJack Horseman and modern art.

* Legitimately teared up.

* The future sucks.

* Let’s see what else is in the news. Wisconsin exceptionalism. Mister Sun, why do you wear sunglasses?

A Few Quick Thoughts on BLACK PANTHER I Haven’t Already Seen Elsewhere

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(1) I haven’t seen anyone point out that this was the MCU’s take on a Bond movie, right down to M, Q, a Bond girl, an extraneous mission in Korea, and even a Felix Leiter.

(Updated.)

(2) I loved pretty much everything about the Wakandan world-building; pretty much my only minor quibble there was a slight over-reliance on American idioms (like Shuri giving the finger, or the General saying someone “did not get the memo”). It’s a small thing but it fits into point (4) below about the inability of Marvel to imagine a Wakanda that was genuinely independent from Western hegemony, much less the hegemon of the world that it would actually be.

(2a) I do feel a bit like I want to rewatch the T’Challa scenes from Civil War though because I think there was quite a bit of retconning and reimagining happening here; the later scenes with Cap seem not to have happened, and the earlier position of Wakanda in the United Nations seems a bit hard to square with the treatment here.

(2b) Shuri was awesome, incidentally. I demand a Shuri spinoff.

(3) I’ll leave it to others to say “Killmonger was right” but you really do feel your heart sink in the third act as the Wakandans begin to fight each other. For me the real “heart sink” moment was when the planes started exploding over the Wakandan capital; perhaps it was the presence and participation of Everett Ross but you really feel the gut-wrenching rupture of the Wakandan Afrofuturist utopia in that moment.

(3a) Killmonger was right though.

(4) I also had an unhappy moment of clarity about the prominence of Wakanda in the Infinity War trailer. As some of you know I’ve written a chapter on “Wakanda as Nation” for an upcoming collection called Afrofuturism in Time and Space.

Not to belabor the point, but a few more quick quotes from the chapter:

With regard to Wakanda specifically, this problem of interpretation has only compounded over decades of Marvel comics, which frequently upend Wakanda’s historic inviolability in the name of giving individual Black Panther stories sufficient emotional stakes. Thus an African nation that was never colonized historically becomes, over the long run of Marvel stories, the site of repeated meta-imperial11 incursion, from the U.S., from alien invaders, from supervillains like Dr. Doom, from the Atlantean king Namor the Sub-Mariner… As Ta-Nehisi Coates notes in an interview with the science fiction news website io9, part of his task when he took over Black Panther in 2016 was precisely to reestablish Wakanda as the undefeatable global superpower it was always intended as, but never quite was allowed to be.

[…]

We see a similar contradiction in the depiction of Wakandan trade, which has the effect of eroding and destroying Wakandan traditions through Western influence even as Wakanda is ostensibly the more powerful trading partner in this equation—replicating the colonial narrative but with an ahistorical logic that takes the superiority of Western values as axiomatic (and totally untied to the West’s brutal practices of invasion and domination). Already by the 1970s, Black Panther is unsure whether he has done the right thing in entering foreign markets at all, wondering if the reforms he and his father have instituted in opening Wakanda to the world have actually doomed the country—as are many of his countrymen. It is relatively late in the game that Marvel writers even begin to interrogate the techno-progressivist, secular assumptions behind the foundation of the Wakanda story: that a monarch would actually strip-mine a “sacred” site, the Mound, instrumentalizing its special properties for technological gadgetry and even selling parts of it to the West in the name of economic development, all without any cultural struggle or resistance from the population—much less the nearly magical faith that doing so would make things in Wakanda better rather than worse.

Indeed, by the “Doomwar” storyline of the 2010s, the presence of the vibranium within Wakanda has proved to be such a “resource curse” that the heroic resolution of the story sees T’Challa activate a process he has invented that renders all the vibranium in the world (both inside and outside Wakanda) inert, in order to protect it both from foreign invaders like Dr. Doom but also to break the country’s cruel-optimistic dependence on the resource.

[…]

Here, as always, we see the fundamental tension in Wakanda as both/and/neither/nor, as it has been reproduced again and again across its fictional history: an Afrofuturist vision of African superiority that nonetheless must always be disciplined by final subordination to the West…

So, look back at that Infinity War trailer. Based on my study of fifty years of Black Panther stories for my chapter, I’m feeling very confident that white supremacy will reassert itself here again precisely as it always does in Wakanda stories; we’ll never get to see Wakanda become the global hegemon it by all rights ought to be because it’s going to get catastrophically smashed up beyond all recognition before it gets the chance. Count on it.

Weekend Links!

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* I’m heading to Zurich later tonight for the From Human to Posthuman? Ethical Inquiry workshop to be held at the Collegium Helveticum. I’ll be talking about the Anthropocene and various versions of The Time Machine, jumping off my Paradoxa “Global Weirding” essay and a loooong forthcoming piece for a Ralahine Utopian Studies collection on “Science Fiction and Utopia in the Anthropocene.”

Faculty Favorites: Books to Add to Your Shelf This Spring. With a book recommendation from me, among others!

* Marquette’s Center for the Advancement of the Humanities will host a 12-week seminar on the work of Bob Dylan.

* All Hail her most Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Kronos, Regina Andor, All Hail Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius.

* How democracies die.

* Analyzing Elections Since Trump Won the Presidency. Here’s everything Republicans could be doing to stop Trump. Are you a Saturday Night Massacre or a Saturday Night Massacan’t? Trump Launched Campaign to Discredit Potential FBI Witnesses. Trump’s Friends and Advisers Are Terrified of What He Might Say to Mueller. Elite opposition to Trump is collapsing.

* More great Le Guin remembrances from Karen Joy Fowler, Kim Stanley Robinson, adrienne maree brown, Jo Walton, Jacob Brogan, Matthew Cheney, and many others…

* And in a rather Le Guin mode: Read the Into the Black Contest’s Winning Story, Set in a Future Where Economics Are Also Humane.

* I hadn’t realized the Aronofsky adaptation for HBO was cancelled, but MaddAddam is coming to TV, again.

For many years now, tuition-dependent institutions — notably small private colleges and regional public universities — have grappled with such existential questions. Many find themselves in a difficult, complex market, with rising costs in operations, pressure to keep tuition down, increasing competition, an insufficient supply of traditional-age students, and national doubts over the value of college. Naturally, those factors have prompted many observers to take a dour view of the institutions’ future. Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded higher education’s outlook from “stable” to “negative,” noting that demographic challenges, weak revenue growth, and rising labor costs will bedevil colleges in the near term.

* Life transformed into data is life permanently mobilized for capital.

We Are Truly Fucked: Everyone Is Making AI-Generated Fake Porn Now.

As ICE Targets Immigrant Rights Activists for Deportation, Suspicious Vehicles Outside Churches Stoke Surveillance Fears. ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US.

Research has identified embedded racism in IQ tests. Now, prosecutors in at least eight states are using that research—to legalize more executions.

Prisons, as the journalist Tom Wicker once wrote, “have a dual function: to keep us out as well as them in.”

On the fifth floor of a beloved New York institution, the @AMNH, the remains of 12,000 people sit in cabinets and cardboard boxes.

The female price of male pleasure.

* The gig economy and sexual harassment.

* They should carve Aly Raisman’s entire statement into the walls of the lobby of every athletic organization in the world.

* Post-Presidency Benefits at Michigan State. NCAA president Mark Emmert was alerted to Michigan State sexual assault reports in 2010.

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die.

* Some monkey news: First Primate Clones Produced Using the “Dolly” Method. 10 Monkeys and a Beetle: Inside VW’s Campaign for ‘Clean Diesel.’ Paris zoo evacuated after 52 baboons escape enclosure.

* Trump vs. migratory birds. Trump vs. the air itself.

* Oh no.

The world’s richest 2000 billionaires could wipe out extreme poverty with one seventh of what they gained last year.

Ghost towers: half of new-build luxury London flats fail to sell.

State of the climate: how the world warmed in 2017.

* A world without Holocaust survivors.

* A world without football.

* There’s only one story and we tell it over and over.

The Short-Lived Normalization of Breastfeeding on Television.

* On the greatness of Swastika Night.

* California doing its best to prove the libertarians right.

And are Dungeons & Dragons Players in a Cult? These Hilarious Warning Signs From 1989 Prove It.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 27, 2018 at 10:00 am