Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Wachowskis

Weekend Links

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* By allying us with its protagonist, Gravity universalizes its image of exploited female labor, sells it back to its entire audience, men and women alike. Gravity shows a contemporary ideal of femininity still more sinister than the pinup. It presents woman as an intricate machine, strapped to dozens of wires, working her ass off with the goal of appearing weightless.

* We were born too late: …in the early universe, as Loeb speculates in a paper published in Astrobiology late last year, everything would have been a habitable zone.

* Terry Gilliam thinks he could have screwed up Watchmen waaaaaaay worse than Zack Snyder.

* Another day, another Title IX class action against a major university.

Students Joke About Raping Student Union President, Then Threaten to Sue Her.

Objectification, Humiliation and the Liberal Arts.

* Surprising minimum wage jobs.

Wisconsin income gap widening faster than nation as a whole.

* New Study Confirms It: Breast-Feeding Benefits Have Been Drastically Overstated.

* Man Wakes Up In Body Bag At Funeral Home. Wow.

* Chomsky on academic labor. Life off the tenure track at Boise State.

Polynesian seafarers discovered America long before Europeans, says DNA study.

* Watch Six Colorado Senate Candidates Deny Climate Change Exists In 18 Seconds.

* Inception: The Board Game.

* Man, the rich are different.

“While the entire U.S. population has increased about one-third over the last 30 years, the Federal prison population has increased at a staggering rate of 800 percent, currently totaling nearly 216,000 inmates and currently operates at a 33 percent overcapacity. One-half of those Federal prison populations are drug offenses. While some of them are truly dangerous persons, as Deputy Attorney General Cole said, many of them are first-timers, and by possession only, wound up under Federal laws, the crack cocaine laws, in the Federal system”, she said.

Researchers Find CTE In A Soccer Player For The First Time.

This Is What Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers Looks Like.

When May I Shoot a Student?

Twelve Fixed, Eternal Commandments for Academic Job Candidates.

* The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from: Wachowskis prepping new Matrix prequel trilogy.

* And I think we should all just agree this is the true ending to Harry Potter now.

Monday Links

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* Welcome to the future: Another grandmother gives birth to her own grandchild.

* Whiteness and Breaking Bad: America isn’t flooded with pure meth, and it’s not because our chemists are too ethical. The illegal drug market simply doesn’t reward peerless expertise in the same way celebrity cooking shows do.

The white guy who enters a world supposedly beneath him where he doesn’t belong yet nonetheless triumphs over the inhabitants is older than talkies. TV Tropes calls it “Mighty Whitey,” and examples range from Tom Cruise as Samurai and Daniel Day Lewis as Mohican, to the slightly less far-fetched Julia Stiles as ghetto-fabulous. But whether it’s a 3-D marine playing alien in Avatar or Bruce Wayne slumming in a Bhutanese prison, the story is still good for a few hundred million bucks. The story changes a bit from telling to telling, but the meaning is consistent: a white person is (and by extension, white people are) best at everything.

* Paging Kim Stanley Robinson: NASA seems to have violated its own Prime Directive by failing to consult its Planetary Protection Officer on the Curiosity mission.

Teachers are striking in Chicago. Meanwhile: How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party. Thank goodness Obama’s winning, so he can finally crush the teachers’ unions once and for all!

* Solitary confinement in schools? Jesus Christ.

* Richard Posner is making sense: The notion of using the criminal law as the primary means of dealing with a problem of addiction, of misuse, of ingesting dangerous drugs — I don’t think that’s sensible at all.

* Debt Collectors Cashing In on Student Loan Roundup.

“I couldn’t believe the accumulated wealth they represent — for our industry,” the consultant, Jerry Ashton, wrote in a column for a trade publication, InsideARM.com. “It was lip-smacking.”

Meanwhile, America’s defaulted student loans total more than yearly tuition at public colleges.

* Star Trek 2 has a title: Star Trek Into Darkness. Early returns: Pretty terrible! Star Wars on Poverty. Lord of the Rings That Bell.

* James Cameron always envisioned Avatar as 19 films.

I have an idea for a fourth. I haven’t really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na’vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world. Because when we drop in, even in the first film in ‘Avatar 1,’ as it will be known in the future, we’re dropping into a process that’s 35 years in to a whole colonization.

But what happened before that? And before that? And…

* The director of Looper has a metaphor for a model of time travel logic I don’t think I’ve seen before: the universe as a body with an immune system that seeks to push out foreign objects.

The problem isn’t that this is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my life; the problem is that it’s seven of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my life glued together haphazardly, their inexorable badness amplified by their awkward juxtaposition. Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski wanted to make a movie unlike any other, and they certainly did: Cloud Atlas is a unique and totally unparalleled disaster.

*  Study: There is enough wind on this planet to meet our entire energy needs.

* Tressie McMillan Cottom reviews the captivating documentary The Queen of Versailles, which I caught at the local independent movie house this weekend. It’s quite good—a stunning portrait of the wealthy’s perspective of the “normal” workings of the economy and of the 2008-2009 economic collapse.

* And when polls fail: Do 15% of Ohio Republicans really think Romney killed bin Laden? Probably not.

It’s a Shame This Is Unfilmable

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Monday!

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* Washington Monthly has released the latest version of its college rankings.

* ‘Armed Militia’ of Soldiers Plotted to Take Over Army Base, Assassinate Obama. We’re just going full-bore dystopia all the time I guess.

* Speaking of which.

* But it can always get worse:

It’s worse to imagine a world with Obama getting a second term than it is to imagine a world without pizza. Because with Obama in a second term, there will be no pizza. For anyone.

Why I Won’t Vote, By W.E.B. Du Bois.

* I found out today with great sadness that Congress has killed the Jacob Javits Fellowship. That thing paid for my MFA. It was a great program.

* There are many ways to destroy a person, but the simplest and most devastating might be solitary confinement. Deprived of meaningful human contact, otherwise healthy prisoners often come unhinged. They experience intense anxiety, paranoia, depression, memory loss, hallucinations and other perceptual distortions. Psychiatrists call this cluster of symptoms SHU syndrome, named after the Security Housing Units of many supermax prisons. Prisoners have more direct ways of naming their experience. They call it “living death,” the “gray box,” or “living in a black hole.”

Men Defining Rape: A History.

The Republican strategist told Brownstein, “This is the last time anyone will try to do this” — “this” being a near total reliance on white votes to win a presidential election.

* Stat of the day: There are three times as many gun dealers as grocery stores in America.

* Superman once stayed loyal to Lois Lane after a thousand years trapped with Wonder Woman in a pocket dimension. This is blasphemy.

* College Humor, against malaria. I thought Ellie Kemper, Tony Hale, and Rhys Darby alone were worth it.

Vera Farmiga set to play Norman Bates’ infamous mother in A&E’s Psycho prequel series. We had some fun with this on Twitter earlier today, as this Storify may attest. And here’s one that was Facebook only: Before “North by Northwest” there was “Where’s my compass?”

* Who’s ruining Justice League this week? The Wachowskis.

* And yes, alas, we’re all still screwed.

Hoax Alert!

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The Wachowski Brothers are not planning on pulling a George Lucas after all. Citizens, return to your homes.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 26, 2011 at 9:54 am

All the Things That Happened Today

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* Sad news: Terrorist attack at Moscow’s busiest airport.

* Rumors are swirling that the Wachowskis may pull a Lucas.

* Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult.

* SOTU 2011: “How We Win the Future.” Warning: climate change may not exist in the future.

* No composting either.

* Will big-name Republicans sit out 2012?

* The problem with regarding the photography of suffering as ‘pornography.’

* Killjoys keep debunking the “twin suns in 2012” Betelgeuse supernova story. Can’t I have just this one thing?

* Soccer science! As game theory predicts, legitimate falls far outnumber fake falls, Wilson reported at the meeting. Only 6% of the 2800 falls were highly deceptive dives. Players were two to three times as likely to dive when close to the goal, where the payoff was huge: Statistics show that there is an 80% chance of scoring from penalty kicks. Almost none of the highly deceptive dives resulted in free kicks against the diver. And referees were most likely to reward dives that occurred close to the goals—perhaps because the players were farther away and the deception harder to detect, he noted.

No. Just no.

* James Kochalka is Vermont’s first cartoonist laureate.

* Headline of the day: Man admits mailing hundreds of tarantulas.

* I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it appears the Bush administration may have broken the law.

* Genghis Khan: history’s greenest conqueror?

Unlike modern day climate change, however, the Mongol invasion actually cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

So how exactly did Genghis Khan, one of history’s cruelest conquerors, earn such a glowing environmental report card? The reality may be a bit difficult for today’s environmentalists to stomach, but Khan did it the same way he built his empire — with a high body count.

Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world’s total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests.

For certain values of “green”… Via MetaFilter.

* And also via MetaFilter: Vermont vs. corporate personhood. Republicans vs. the Internet. Rahm Emanuel gets Chicago’d. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. The United States of Shame. Teacher salary? Damn you North Carolina!

You Had Me At ‘Will Eventually Be Called Upon to Act as a Medical Doctor’

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What if DC published Marvel characters in the 1960s? What if DC published 1970s Marvel characters in the 1960s? I only wish there were more.

* I’m really looking forward to the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas.

* Forbes has what’s next for Wikileaks: taking down a big investment bank.

What do you want to be the result of this release?

[Pauses] I’m not sure. It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume.

Usually when you get leaks at this level, it’s about one particular case or one particular violation. For this, there’s only one similar example. It’s like the Enron emails. Why were these so valuable? When Enron collapsed, through court processes, thousands and thousands of emails came out that were internal, and it provided a window into how the whole company was managed. It was all the little decisions that supported the flagrant violations.

This will be like that. Yes, there will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos that cames out, and that’s tremendously valuable.

* I’m utterly shocked to discover that some of Ray Kurzweil’s insane predictions have not in fact come true.

By 2010 computers will disappear. They’ll be so small, they’ll be embedded in our clothing, in our environment. Images will be written directly to our retina, providing full-immersion virtual reality, augmented real reality. We’ll be interacting with virtual personalities.

Behold: the future!

* And behold: Scott’s First and Second Laws of Comic Book Medicine.

Scott’s Second Law of Comic Book Medicine: Any hero with a “doctor” in their name or an advanced degree — no matter their actual field of specialty — will eventually be called upon to act as a medical doctor.

I eagerly look forward to applying this standard in my own life.