Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘vice presidents

Tuesday Links, Plus a Very Canavan Podcast!

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There’s No Sheriff on This Planet: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson. The latest in my irregular series of conversations with KSR. The transcript is just the highlights — for the full effect you’ll have to listen.

* Extrapolation 60.1 is out! Articles on rape motifs in contemporary fantasy, Japanese print SF, and Nihād Sharīf’s The Conqueror of Time.

* Endgame ephemera! Avengers: Endgame, or, why this is all your fault. Avengers and the Endgame of Liberalism. And the Russo brothers are on a quest to make sure you know that Endgame being good had nothing to do with them.

* The Night King? Never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened. Bonus appearance by the coffee cup! If these are the final two choices, the only way to win the Game may be not to play.

* “Like Groundhog Day — and while we’re at it, like The Good Place — Russian Doll is Kafka played on easy mode.”

* Watch The Wandering Earth on Netflix!

* Ted Chiang has a new book, why haven’t you bought it yet?

* A new climate change story from Paolo Bacigalupi at MIT Technology Review. Killer ending.

* Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life. One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns. Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace. An open letter to David Wallace-Wells. We are ruled by psychopaths.

* Greta Thunberg, autism, and climate activism.

* For roughly 18 months, AirPods play music, or podcasts, or make phone calls. Then the lithium-ion batteries will stop holding much of a charge, and the AirPods will slowly become unusable. They can’t be repaired because they’re glued together. They can’t be thrown out, or else the lithium-ion battery may start a fire in the garbage compactor. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. Instead, the AirPods sit in your drawer forever. AirPods Are a Tragedy.

It’s time to speak about batshit jobs.

Today, batshit jobs are more widespread than ever. You’re likely doing a batship job if you’re working in advertising trying to maintain mass consumption, in air traffic, industrial farming and forestry, in mining, in the car industry, and first of all if you’re working in oil drilling, fracking, coal mining.

To become dilligent batshit workers we have to be trained, and we have to be able to block out the harm that our work participates in. The beauty of the school strikes is that a generation of young people are preparing themselves to refuse batshit work.

*  It seems to me that anyone who considers this for more than ten minutes has to recognize that “student demand” is a construct: it is the product of a pervasive, cross-institutional pedagogy in social and educational value in which students are immersed from (at least) primary school onward.  If students are demanding STEM in record numbers, this is a because they have been systematically invited to embrace a number of interlocking beliefs: that

  1. STEM fields matter to the welfare and future of human societies more than other fields — that social problems respond best to technocratic solutions; 
  2. college is a course of career training; 
  3. college is an investment that ought to be maximized in order to yield the highest possible return in the form of lifelong higher income;
  4. STEM fields represent areas of continuing high-growth, recession-proof employment. 

“Student demand” is a fact insofar as it reproduces these assumptions, which are already endemic to the privatized, market-driven university.  Other forms of “student demand” (for example, demands for a more racially and ethnically diverse faculty that better reflects regional and national demographics) are routinely ignored.

* Marquette Academic Senate calls for administration neutrality on unionization.

* Measuring the tenure-track success of pre-2009 Ph.D.s is like measuring the ice stability of Greenland’s glaciers before industrialization. Researcher’s suicide reflects bleak prospects for post-Ph.D. life. Adjuncts and Freelancers: Reading Signs of Eventual Destruction.

* Turning Point USA’s dark coup on college campuses.

A lot of older academics will point to the 1970s or the 1990s to say that crisis has always been the default, and there’s truth to this. But they didn’t have the same debt loads back then.

* “Second Chance: Life without Student Debt.”

* For Colleges, Climate Change Means Making Tough Choices.

* People Are Clamoring to Buy Old Insulin Pumps.

What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right. As capitalism starts to crumble, hate finds a familiar foothold.

Liberalism: the other God that failed. The Senate is a much bigger problem than the Electoral College. Here’s how many millennials get help from their parents to pay rent and other bills. Twitter users answer the question: “When did you become radicalized by the U.S. health care non-system?” 42% of Americans are at risk of retiring broke.

* America smartly sets its sights on the one flaw in the Constitution the Founders actually bothered to fix.

* If the president does it, it’s not obstruction.

* This seems heathy. This too! Things are great.

The forgotten history of how Abraham Lincoln helped rig the Senate for Republicans.

* Dialectics of Milwaukee: ‘It’s clear that the secret is out about Milwaukee,’ increased tourism spending shows. There seems to be a surge of unsettling things happening on the Milwaukee education landscape, some of them just more of the same (low student achievement, divisive politics) and some of them not so typical (corruption). Glendale would provide $37 million to help redevelop struggling Bayshore — with $57 million debt paid off.

Sandra Bland, It Turns Out, Recorded Her Own Video of Traffic Stop Confrontation. ICE provides local police a way to work around ‘sanctuary’ policies, act as immigration officers.

* On April 30, my Liberal Studies class, framed as Anthropology and Philosophy of Science, was the site of a horrific event. Two of my students were killed while four more were injured.

Study: Therapy dogs reduce children’s fear, anxiety during dentist appointments.

Aging baby boomers are about to push Alzheimer’s disease rates sky high.

The Saga Of ‘Star Citizen,’ A Video Game That Raised $300 Million—But May Never Be Ready To Play.

* Dystopia watch: Oh Good, a Subway System Is Making Riders Stare at Ads Before They Can Buy a Ticket. Amazon’s staffing up a news vertical full of crime stories designed to scare you into buying a spying, snitching “smart” doorbell. We’ve lived so long that the founding of Amazon Prime is something we can be nostalgic about now.

* Let’s just go with a daily reminder that Philip K. Dick wrote a novel where all films were just called disneys.

* Who Owns the Moon Watch: Why the Moon Is Suddenly a Hot Commodity.

* How angry pilots got the Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings.

* And the biggest danger about an asteroid strike? Lawyers.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm

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Surprise Sunday Links! Watch Out!

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* The route Google Maps recommends if you’re headed to Ferrum College from the west involves what may be the loneliest and most roller-coaster-like stretch of roadway ever to earn a state route number from Virginia. It’s a narrow ribbon of pavement with no center line, a twisting trail you drive imagining that if you go over the edge, weeks could pass before anyone found the wreckage. Only at the other end do you spot a yellow sign that reads, “GPS Routing Not Advised.” Small, Rural Colleges Grapple With Their Geography.

* A friend recommended the short Cuban SF novel Super Extra Grande to me, which I liked a lot. Some profiles on the author: 1, 2.

* Horrific terror attack at historic Orlando gay night club leaves 20 dead.

* Scientists think they’ve figured out the Antikythera Mechanism.

* Being Tig Notaro.

* In search of Cervantes’s grave.

* Old and busted: AI. New hotness: IA.

* Landscaping in the Anthropocene.

As an added experiment, the researchers applied their model to the current distribution of human populations on Earth. They found that, under all the same assumptions, 12.5 percent of the global population would be forced to migrate at least 1,000 kilometers, and up to a third of the population would have to move more than 500 kilometers. 

In a paper published in the May issue of the journal Astrobiology, the astronomer Woodruff Sullivan and I show that while we do not know if any advanced extraterrestrial civilizations currently exist in our galaxy, we now have enough information to conclude that they almost certainly existed at some point in cosmic history.

…what our calculation revealed is that even if this probability is assumed to be extremely low, the odds that we are not the first technological civilization are actually high. Specifically, unless the probability for evolving a civilization on a habitable-zone planet is less than one in 10 billion trillion, then we are not the first.

Twitter must fix this. Its brand is increasingly defined by excessive harassment.

* More on The 7-1/2-Hour O.J. Simpson Doc Everyone Will Be Talking About This Summer.

Because poetry is considered so small, so irrelevant, it’s tempting for poetry critics to look for the BIG themes in poems to demonstrate that poetry matters. I continue to learn from critics who take on this labor. However, because ALL African literary criticism is assumed to matter the more it focuses on the BIG SOCIOPOLITICOECONOMICDISASTERTHATISAFRICA, I am inclined to turn to quieter moments—spaces for the intimate, the friendly, the quiet, the loving, the depressed, the depressing, grief, and melancholy. I’m drawn to the register that is not the shout, and never the headline. I linger at the quotidian to insist that the African imagination considers livability and shareability.

For everyone, he claims, is shortchanged when the guiding principle and “key driver” of the institution is no longer thought, but money (ix). Faculty are silenced, yes, by the drive to conformity and homogeneity. But students are also cheated when they are treated simply as “human capital”: “When the university is reduced to the function of preparation for jobs and not for life, life itself gets lost under the jobs” (85). Most broadly and seriously of all, society as a whole suffers as the university abandons its traditional role as “that institution that has a responsibility to counter the incipient violence of natural force” (40). The fate of the university is bound up with the fate of democracy and citizenship at large. If society is to change, and injustice and inequality challenged, we need now more than ever an institution whose role is to be “’critical’ of the existing world state of affairs, dissident with respect to it” (6).

* I sometimes wish tenure were what its enemies believe it is.

* White supremacist PACs and Trump. The stain of Trump. “A GOP senator might vote for Hillary Clinton. Here’s how rare that is.” Trump has underperformed the real estate market by a mere 57% since 1976. Alas, Mitt.

* I’m calling it: Trump will drop out of the race by July 5 at the latest. He will blame the unfair media and political correctness, allude to some wack-ass conspiracy involving Black Lives Matter and/or Hezbollah, and go to his grave telling everyone he knows that if he had stayed in the race, he would’ve beaten Clinton.

* You may be done with your quasi-legal homebrew server, but your quasi-legal homebrew server is not done with you: The FBI has been conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information for months.

We narrowed Clinton’s vice-presidential possibilities to 27. Now you pick one. For a long time I’ve thought it definitely be one of the Castro brothers, probably Julian, but Elizabeth Warren has made such a push lately I’ve started to think it could actually be her. Of course you can pick Trump’s too, from such a weak field it includes his own daughter.

Let me close with a broad statement. In the news you will see some rather hysterical statements about how all bets are off this year. That is true to an extent: on the Republican side, the national party’s positions and their rank-and-file voters’ preferences are far out of whack. In a deep sense, their decision process in 2016 became broken. But that does not mean that opinion is unmeasurable. Far from it. In the aggregate, pollsters still do a good job reaching voters. And voters are still people whose opinions move at a certain speed. To my thinking, polls may be the best remaining way to assess what is happening.

* But just in case: I Spent the 90s Fighting Fascists on the Streets of Warsaw.

* According to multiple federal complaints, young black students in New York City are being forced out of school after being sexually assaulted.

* If you’re not sick of these yet: What Hamilton Forgets About Hamilton.

* The gentrification of Sesame Street.

* Review: Warcraft Is The Battlefield Earth Of The 21st Century. Warcraft, Hollywood, And The Growing Importance Of China’s Box Office.

* Because you demanded it! Kevin Smith Says That His Mallrats Sequel Will Be a 10-Part TV Series.

* Same joke but for The Passion of the Christ 2.

Sixty Million Car Bombs: Inside Takata’s Air Bag Crisis: How the company’s failures led to lethal products and the biggest auto recall in history.

* The case for Lady Stoneheart showing up in season six of Game of Thrones. Let me say I have my doubts.

* What to do if you find a goose than lays golden eggs. Machine Learning: A Flowchart. If you read Kafka’s stories backwards, they all make great kids’ movies.

* And the moral cowards at Wikipedia have moved to suppress my work again.


Written by gerrycanavan

June 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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* Most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex objects, according to a new study of elementary school-age kids in the Midwest.

* Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.

* Bruce/Batman, distracted by his mommy-daddy-me orphan issues, has not realized that he has become the villain. Batman Occupied.

* So you say you want to be vice president.

* And just because: What Playing Cricket Looks Like to Americans.