Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘vigilante justice

Easter Monday (Hardly Knew ‘Er)

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Marquette suspends McAdams through the fall 2016 semester. Marquette’s statement. McAdams has some interesting comments specifically with regard to the the apology requirement on his blog. What a mess.

* Alien vs. Predator: Connecticut Politicians Want to Tax Yale Endowment.

* Husband and wife HMS students seek treatment for her fatal disease. It isn’t Huntington’s, though it’s very similar, and Huntington’s research does play a minor role in the story.

* Good Friday in Middle-earth.

* Batman v. Superman: you know, for kids. But, honestly, at this point I almost feel bad.

For 15 years, the superhero blockbuster has allowed American audiences to project an illusory dual image of its character, a fiction in which it’s at once helpless victim and benevolent savior, the damsel in distress and the hero coming to her aid. Where Batman vs. Superman and Captain America: Civil War strive and likely fail, Suicide Squad presents a much more honest, holistic image of America as superpower in the 21st century. It’s the conclusion to an argument whose articulation has been 15 years in the making. We’re neither the victims nor the heroes, it suggests. The resemblance isn’t passing. We simply are the villains.

* Why Superheroes Don’t Kill.

* Sanders had a strong week, and this has been a crazy year in politics. But there’s nothing in the recent results to suggest that the overall trajectory of the Democratic race has changed. Clinton was and is a prohibitive favorite to win the nomination. The Long March of Bernie’s Army.

For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others. And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.

These Are The Phrases That Sanders And Clinton Repeat Most.

* The death of Twitter.

Sublime Photos of African Wildlife Roaming Their Lost Habitat. The links keep coming after the picture.

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* The Harvard Library That Protects The World’s Rarest Colors: The most unusual colors from Harvard’s storied pigment library include beetle extracts, poisonous metals, and human mummies.

* The woman who can see 100 times more colors than you can.

Here comes pseudolaw, a weird little cousin of pseudoscience.

* The emergency managers Snyder imposed on Detroit and Flint had no chance of restoring those cities to solvency. Forced austerity can’t solve financial problems caused by a low tax base and a lack of revenue sharing. Meanwhile, in Illinois: How to destroy a state.

Civic leaders in Portland, Oregon, want to start busing homeless people out of town. The city council there quietly set aside $30,000 to buy one-way tickets for certain homeless individuals last week, the Portland Mercury reports.

* Fighting over my vote: Who’s the Most UFO-Friendly Presidential Candidate? Related: Hillary Clinton Is Serious About UFOs. And in local news: Aaron Rogers Describes Seeing a UFO in New Jersey in 2005.

* Remembering Perot.

* Sample Questions from the Trump University Final Exam.

N.F.L.’s Flawed Concussion Research and Ties to Tobacco Industry. Jerry Jones: Absurd to Link Football to CTE. Absurd!

* How to Make a Hugo.

* The True Story Behind the Legendary “Lost Ending” of The Shining.

* How 4chan and 8chan turned that chatbot racist. How Not to Make a Racist Bot.

* 10 Rules for Students, Teachers, and Life.

Happily ever after? Advice for mid-career academics.

About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology. 

* Somehow I’d forgotten Netflix is actually doing Voltron, and that wasn’t just a joke about the creative bankruptcy of our times.

* This, however, I’m 100% in favor of.

* Why Cryonics Makes Sense.

Mr. Speaker, this is not a perfect bill. I never said it was. I saw Hamilton, so now I’m going to orphan my son.

* With The Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling Shows Us Harry Potter’s Future Isn’t What You Expected.

Tycoons plan base on moon by 2026.

* Harrowing tales of true crime.

* Secret history of the Clinton email scandal.

* They stole Shakespeare’s skull!

To Boldly Go Provides a Rare Look Behind the Scenes of Star Trek.

* Bedrock City in Ruins: The rise and fall of the Flintstone empire.

* Just the thought every parent wants in their mind on the happy occasion of their daughter’s fourth birthday: I had a baby in my 40s. Part of my job is preparing my daughter for life without me.

* And there’s nothing sweet in life: Red Mars TV Series Now On Hold After Showrunner Suddenly Departs.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 28, 2016 at 9:00 am

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Friday! Friday! Hooray!

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China Miéville: Marxism and Halloween.

The Halloween candy to avoid if you don’t want orangutans to die. This is why consumerist approaches to struggle will never work. Horrors lurk everywhere.

Anti-Humanism and the Humanities in the Era of Capitalist Realism. A reminder.

That table reveals that in 1970-1971, 17.1% of students who received BAs in the United States majored in a humanities discipline. Three decades later, in the midst of the crisis in the humanities we hear so much about, that number had plummeted to 17%.

There is little talk in this view of higher education about the history and value of shared governance between faculty and administrators, nor of educating students as critical citizens rather than potential employees of Walmart.  There are few attempts to affirm faculty as scholars and public intellectuals who have both a measure of autonomy and power. Instead, faculty members are increasingly defined less as intellectuals than as technicians and grant writers. Students fare no better in this debased form of education and are treated as either clients or as restless children in need of high-energy entertainment – as was made clear in the 2012 Penn State scandal. Such modes of education do not foster a sense of organized responsibility fundamental to a democracy. Instead, they encourage what might be called a sense of organized irresponsibility – a practice that underlies the economic Darwinism and civic corruption at the heart of a debased politics.

The academic career path has been thoroughly destabilised by the precarious practices of the neoliberal university.

* A new study suggests interdisciplinary PhDs earn less than their colleagues.

* How to be a tenured ally.

* Scenes from the academics’ strike in the UK. Another report from the trenches.

Most Colleges Still Haven’t Implemented The Right Policies To Prevent Rape.

* A Marxist consideration of white privilege.

The women in magazines don’t look like the women in magazines.

Man buys $27 of bitcoin, forgets about them, finds they’re now worth $886k. Exactly how currencies are supposed to work!

Jane Austen: The Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game.

* America as Walter White.

The tragedy of Michelle Kosilek. A better treatment of the issue than the headline’s framing would suggest.

“Being condemned to death is unlike any other experience imaginable.”

Macy’s security has arrest quota, ‘race code system’ for nonwhite shoppers. An exemplary case, I think, of the phenomenon Adam Kotsko describes in “What if Zimmerman had been a cop?”

* And speaking of which: George Zimmerman’s Hometown Bans Guns For Neighborhood Watches.

Boy Who Shot Neo-Nazi Dad Sentenced to 10 Years in Juvenile Detention.

Appeals Court Gives NYPD Go Ahead to Restart Stop-and-Frisk.

* There’s something really revealing about how the Daily Show can’t process this story about an unaccountable shadow government running the national security apparatus, and so just punts to a random n-word joke instead. Liberalism, I think, characteristically flinches whenever the conclusion that the system is fundamentally broken is inescapable.

* Honorary vertebrates?

U.S. Teams Up With Operator of Online Courses to Plan a Global Network. MOOCtastic!

* And in honor of the last pop culture lunch of the semester, my favorite zombie short: “Cargo.”

‘Incorrigible Teenagers’

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm

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…

‘Martin Left the House Where He Was a Welcome Guest to Buy Candy for a Younger Child; A Little While Later, His Dead Body Was Spread Out on a Lawn’

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When I asked on Twitter, there were two sorts of answers about what Martin should have done at this stage of the night: variations on “run straight home” and “not be black.” Those options are themselves mirror images. The idea that Martin, when he saw a light-skinned man looking at him strangely, should have realized his mistake and cleared out is a way of saying that he ought to have been exquisitely conscious of his blackness, of how he looked. Zimmerman’s lawyers argued that Zimmerman was properly scared; more subtly, they made the case that it was perverse of Martin not to recognize and manage his own scariness. And yet there are complications in instructing a black teen-ager to start running: Martin seems to have alarmed Zimmerman and the police dispatcher both when he moved too quickly and when he was slow. As Charles Blow wrote in the Times, “So what do I tell my boys now? At what precise pace should a black man walk to avoid suspicion?”

What Should Trayvon Martin Have Done?

Written by gerrycanavan

July 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Monday

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* Today in my classroom: Freida Hughes’s poem “My Mother.” I used this at the tail end of our discussion of Sylvia Plath today and found it really useful as a way of interrogating just what it is we do as critics.

This American Life Features Error-Riddled Story On Disability And Children. Of course, it was a Planet Money piece.

Think about it: MOOAs are the perfect solution to the rising cost of higher education. We take superstar administrators and let them administer tens, maybe even hundreds, of thousands of faculty at a time. The Ivy League and Nescac colleges could pool their upper management as could, say, Midwestern state colleges that start with “I” or “O.”

If the administrators cannot compete and be effective online, then it’s time to get out of the way for the people who can. After all, no student ever thought it was worth $55,000 a year for time in a room with a particular dean or vice president, but we might be able to convince them, at least for a while longer, that the educational experience of the classroom is worth it.

Median Salaries of Higher-Education Professionals, 2012-13.

Committee tasked with creating standards for for-profit colleges folds under industry pressure.

* “It is difficult to identify a single instance where an emergency manager has succeeded in turning around the financial fortunes of a city or jurisdiction.”

* And thus began the great Georgia-Tennessee War.

The Great Melting: Polar Ice Across The Arctic And Antarctic.

* Today in dystopia: White Student Union at Towson University will conduct nighttime campus patrols. What could possibly go wrong?

5 Products That Should Fear Google’s Next Killing Spree.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

* Today in fanboy supercuts: Watch all six Star Wars movies at once. It actually is sort of revealing.

There’s a dark cloud hanging over the science of climate change, quite literally. Scientists today have access to supercomputers capable of running advanced simulations of Earth’s climate hundreds of years into the future, accounting for millions of tiny variables. But even with all that equipment and training, they still can’t quite figure out how clouds work.

Matternet Founder Paola Santana Wants To Replace The Postal System With Drones.

* Out of sight, out of mind: the story of every known victim of drone bombings in Pakistan.

* The University of Maryland at College Park doesn’t have a copy of the contract it signed to join the Big 10, The Washington Post reported. The Post filed an open records request for the contract, and was told that the university didn’t have a copy. The Big 10, which is not subject to open records requests, keeps all such copies. Maryland officials said that not keeping a copy was in line with Big 10 policies, which are designed to reflect that most of its members are public universities, subject to open records requests.

A growing body of evidence shows, however, that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Can an octopus use tools? Do chimpanzees have a sense of fairness? Can birds guess what others know? Do rats feel empathy for their friends? Just a few decades ago we would have answered “no” to all such questions. Now we’re not so sure. Experiments with animals have long been handicapped by our anthropocentric attitude: We often test them in ways that work fine with humans but not so well with other species. Scientists are now finally meeting animals on their own terms instead of treating them like furry (or feathery) humans, and this shift is fundamentally reshaping our understanding. See also: Clever Hans the Math Horse.

* Presenting the invisible bike helmet.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc has sued a major grocery workers union and others who have protested at its Florida stores, the latest salvo in its legal fight to stop “disruptive” rallies in and around its stores by groups seeking better pay and working conditions.

* “Do you know that unless you’re willing to use the R rating, you can only say the ‘F’ word once? You know what I say? F*ck that. I’m done.” And it’s new to me: Jimmy Kimmel’s unnecessary censorship.

MLK Day Links

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tumblr_mgtgpfnLyP1qap9gno1_50017 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes You Never Hear. The Martin Luther King You Don’t See on TV. Beyond Vietnam, 1967. And of course “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

* Jacobin gets profiled in the New York Times—and because the magazine was founded by a man, it gets to be in “Books,” not “Style”!

* Graduate school from admissions to job applications, from Karen “The Professor is In” Kelsky: Graduate School Is a Means to a Job.

* Inequality in American Education Will Not Be Solved Online.

To summarize: the answer to underfunded, lower effectiveness primary and secondary education requires subsidizing a private, VC-funded bet made on a roulette wheel fashioned from the already precarious prospects of a disadvantaged population.

Bowling Green State University announced Friday that it will cut the size of its faculty by 11 percent, eliminating 100 full-time faculty jobs, The Toledo Blade reported. The reduction will be made by not filling positions of those who resign or retire, and also by not renewing many one-year teaching contracts. Officials said that more than $5 million would be saved, and that the funds would be invested in other priorities. In addition, administrators said that there would be no impact on the quality of instruction students receive. Also chocolate and puppies for everyone.

* Purdue University’s new president doesn’t really care for universities. Sounds like the perfect guy for the job!

* More new revenue streams: Carleton University has started a commercial rent-a-mathematician service, a calculated move to bring in some cash and also fix real-world problems. Will explain science fiction for food…

Surviving the Next Apocalypse: a Modest Curriculum.

* Because everything in college sports is running so smoothly, the NCAA has decided it’s time to eliminate a whole bunch of rules.

Some Ph.D.’s Choose to Work Off the Tenure Track. “Choose” is doing a lot of work in that headline.

* “What a deformed monster is a standing army in a free nation”: the U.S. and military spending.

* Kid Kills 5 in Family in New Mexico, Planned Slaughter at WalMart.

The weapons included not just the AR-15 but more.  He had gotten them out of his  father’s unlocked closet, not a gun-safe, after he had a “minor disagreement” with his mother.  He shot her in her bed, then the three little kids, in their beds.  Mulitple times.  Perhaps with the semi-auto rifle.   Waited a few hours, then shot dad when he came home.

Then:  Loaded up van with weapons and started to drive to local Walmart, where he planned to slaughter many more,  then kill himself.  Called friend, though, who suggested he stop by church and maybe think about it.  Security guard there calls cops.

5 People Shot At 3 Different Gun Shows On Gun Appreciation Day. Ohio church sponsors private gun buyback.

“If the district attorney agrees to send me to prison for a long time, then I will confess and plead guilty,” Hubatch told Madison police Detective Tom Helgren after his arrest on Monday, according to a criminal complaint. “Otherwise, I have nothing else to say, and if released I will do it again.” The versatile law degree, University of Wisconsin edition.

CVS Manager Fatally Strangles Homeless Man for Shoplifting Toothpaste. No charges filed because America.

* Where to Be Born: 1988-2013. Do your research, kids.

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* 50 collective nouns. The best of these I’ve heard recently was totally fake, but funny, on the new Paul F. Tompkins “Analyze Fish” Jaws podcast: “a jar of jellyfish.”

* Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Shapes of Stories,” Tumblrfied.

* ‘Quadruple helix’ DNA discovered in human cells. I feel certain this is where the X-factor that creates mutants is located.

* I’m taken in by the needless honesty of a telepathic shield maker that bothers to say “only one failure since 1998.”

* Fracking on the San Andreas Fault? What could possibly go wrong?

* “Escape from Tomorrowland,” filmed without Disney’s knowledge at Disney World.

* And your text adventure of the day: Reset.