Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Walt Whitman

February 28 Links! All the Links You Need for February 28

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sfftv-2017-10-issue-1-cover* Science Fiction Film and Television 10.1 is out, with articles on the suburban fantastic, the work of art in the age of the superhero, utopian film, review essays on The Martian and Terminator: Genysis, and my article on apocalyptic children’s literature. At long last, the world can discover why The Lorax is actually bad…

* My Octavia Butler book was discussed on the most recent episode of GribCast, on Parable of the Sower. (They start talking about me about 59ish minutes in, and especially around 1:30.) Meanwhile, later this spring: Octavia E. Butler’s Archive on View for First Time.

* If you knew our friend Nina Riggs, here is the donation page for John and the boys. And here’s the Amazon page for her book, which comes out this June.

* Instrumentalizing Earthseed.

Fast Forward #289 – Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson.

* CFP: “Crips In Space: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Futurism.” And there’s still one day to submit to the SF exec group’s guaranteed MLA 2018 session on Satire and Science Fiction in Dystopian Times.

* Presenting the Nebula finalists.

Inside the Brutal World of Comedy Open Mikes.

* The Melancholy of Don Bluth.

* Comics studies comes of age.

The Capitalocene.

* Purging Iowa’s universities. The Campus Free Speech Battle You’re Not Seeing.

* NEH, NEA, Americorps.

* How Trump’s campaign staffers tried to keep him off Twitter. In Trump’s Volleys, Echoes of Alex Jones’s Conspiracy Theories. Asylum seekers take a cold journey to Manitoba via Trump’s America. We Are Living In the Second Chapter of the Worst-Case Scenario. How to lose a constitutional democracy. Silence of the hacks. Trump’s Tlön. The Trumpocene. Untranslatable. Neurosyphilis?

We can imagine a person slowly becoming aware that he is the subject of catastrophe.

Hear Something About An Immigration Raid? Here’s How To Safely Report It. On ICE. Is ICE Out of Control? ICE detainee with brain tumor removed from hospital. Deportation ruses. What It’s Like to Be a Teen Living in an Immigration Detention Center. Ten Hours in Houston. Abolish ICE.

Donald Trump is unpopular enough that Republicans could lose the House, but there’s a lot of uncertainty.

On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right. 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump.

* On the deep state. Ditching the deep state. The Deep State, the Media, and the Crisis of Legitimacy.

Indeed, both sides are equally illegitimate on the popular level. Both sides are pushing agendas with no constituency. No one outside a small hardcore of party insiders and hack pundits wants either “smart” technocracy or nihilistic faux-libertarianism. The Democrats have been electorally devastated, but the Republicans are in the awkward position of being given the keys to the kingdom and yet realizing that they are advocating things that no one wants. They probably will push through more of their destructive idiocy, just because that’s who they are, but it’s mainly happening because they’ve set up the system so that it’s nearly impossible for them to get voted out — an interesting counterpoint to the other major institutional structures (the Deep State and news media) that we absolutely can’t vote out of office.

The only rallying point for genuine popular legitimacy right now is a desire to remove Trump and, in the meantime, humiliate and impede him as much as possible. And I’ll be clear: those are goals I share. The danger is settling for that goal, in such a way as to finally close the door on democratic accountability altogether.

* On North Carolina’s Moral Mondays.

* Space news! Nearby Star Hosts 7 Earth-Size Planets. SpaceX plans to send two people around the Moon. Mars needs lawyers!

The Relevance of Biopunk Science Fiction.

* Preserving video games.

* Like domesticity, segregation had to be invented.

Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research. The Trump Administration’s Lies About Voter Fraud Will Lead to Massive Voter Suppression.

* Income inequality and advertising. That link is probably the good news.

* Guys I think the FBI might be bad.

* Even Trump’s fake terror arrests are worse.

* Anyway we’re all going to die. And pretty soon!

* Rule by algorithm. An Algorithm Is Replacing Bail Hearings in New Jersey.

* Why facts don’t change our minds.

* Visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

* The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens.

* Checking in with SMBC: The Problem of Good. The Path of a Hero. How to Solve a Physics Problem. On the Etiology of Fuckers. Paging r/DaystromInstitute. Solving Sophie’s Choice. Gifts from God. And now to insult my core demographic. And that’s why I invented cancer. Don’t you dare stop scrolling, not now, not ever.


* The radical argument of the New Oxford Shakespeare.

The Rise and Fall of the Socialist Party of America. After more than a half-century in the wilderness, the socialist left reemerges in America.

Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal.

* The ACLU sues Milwaukee over stop-and-frisk.

* The last days of Standing Rock.

‘Alternative’ Education: Using Charter Schools to Hide Dropouts and Game the System.

Grad student Zachary Turpin discovers a long lost Walt Whitman novel, about a year after he discovered a long lost Whitman self-help treatie.

* “For decades they hid Jefferson’s relationship with her. Now Monticello is making room for Sally Hemings.”

Now Arizona has responded with a new — and some say bizarre — solution to this quandary: Death row inmates can bring their own execution drugs. The state’s manual for execution procedures, which was revised last month, says attorneys of death row inmates, or others acting on their behalf, can obtain pentobarbital or sodium Pentothal and give them to the state to ensure a smooth execution.

* And I say $100/day is too good for ’em!

Scientists Say They’ve Discovered a Hidden Continent Under New Zealand. Probably ought to invade just to be on the safe side.

* Huge, if true: Millennials aren’t destroying society — they’re on the front lines against the forces that are.

Fighting Gerrymandering With Geometry.

* Radical feminism finds a way.

This is what Earth will look like if when we melt all the ice. Is It Okay to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change? Milwaukee temperature hits 66 degrees, shatters record. Wednesday marks 67 consecutive days since the City of Chicago logged an inch of snow.

Up to 16% of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill liquids every year, according to new research from US scientists.

* This interview with Peter Singer makes it very hard to see his work as anything but horrifyingly eugenic. What seemed to begin several decades ago as a thought experiment about animal intelligence has shifted into very disturbing ableism.

* Andrew Cuomo is so obviously the worst possible Democrat for 2020 I don’t see how they can possibly do anything else.

* In an age without heroes, there was the Boss.

* In search of Forrest Fenn’s treasure.

* The kids are all right.

* I hate this more than the discovery that the Death Star flaw was engineered. I don’t like much of this either. Bring back the old EU!

* This one’s okay.

20 Brutally Hilarious Comics For People Who Like Dark Humour. You had me at hello!

What Are the Chances? Success in the Arts in the 21st Century.

* Zombie cities of the Chinese Rust Belt.

The nation’s only deaf men’s college basketball team, on the verge of its first March Madness. Meanwhile, UVM is undefeated.

* Uber is doomed.

* And you can’t fool me: this one was already a Black Mirror episode.


Written by gerrycanavan

February 28, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links 2: Even Weekendier!

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A beard, said Whitman, is preferable in a man as “a great sanitary protection to the throat.” Walt Whitman’s lost advice to America’s men: meat, beards and not too much sex.

If defendants had well-funded, effective representation, our adversarial system would do what it is intended to do. What we have right now, however, simply is not adversarial: relatively well-funded, well-staffed prosecutor offices square off against public defenders whose caseloads defy imagination.

Hell’s Kitchens: Privatized Prison Mess Halls.

* The end of Howard University.

Everyone poops, and everyone pees, but no one should be stigmatized or criminalized when they answer nature’s call.

* Bring on the climate trials: When kids sue the government for failing to protect future generations against climate change, it’s a long shot. But on Friday, in King County, Wash., Superior Court Judge Hollis R. Hill ruled in favor of eight Seattle-area youth petitioners: The Washington State Department of Ecology must deliver an emissions reduction rule by the end of this year.

Living at the Edges of Capitalism.

The best podcasts, Ted Talks and academic papers about Beyoncé.

The PhDictionary: A Glossary of Things You Don’t Know (But Should) About Doctoral and Faculty Life.

Oddly enough, the late novelist David Foster Wallace, a friend of Franzen’s, appears to cast a shadow over the portrayal of Andreas, whom Franzen endows with personality traits he saw in Wallace — especially the idea that he was “unworthy” of love. Over his lifetime, Wallace suffered from various addictions and struggled with depression for years; like Andreas, he ultimately committed suicide. In his essay “Farther Away: ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ David Foster Wallace, and the island of solitude,” Franzen says that he “loved a person who was mentally ill.” Franzen attributes Wallace’s suicide, in large part, to the fact that Wallace felt there was something wrong with him and he was unworthy of love; “[a]nd this feeling was intertwined, ultimately to the point of indistinguishability, with the thought of suicide.” Inaccessible on his private island of self-laceration, believing there was something wrong with him, Wallace could never reach a farther shore, and nobody could reach him. Ultimately, Franzen speculates, his suicide was designed “[t]o prove once and for all that he truly didn’t deserve to be loved.”

* Lake Chad in the Anthropocene.

* Yahoo, when looked at in a certain way, is worth approximately -$8 billion.

* Who owns Klingon?

* Life in the 21st century: Fearing a nuclear terror attack, Belgium is giving iodine pills to its entire population. Creeps Are Using a Neural Network to Dox Porn Actresses. Black Teenage Boy Charged With Possession of Child Porn for Sexting With White Girlfriend. Julia Ioffe profiled Melania Trump. Then she started getting calls from Hitler.

The Untold Story of Canadian Super Heroes.

* A Japanese Map of European Stereotypes.

We must mine redheads for the secret of their immortality gene.

* That’ll solve it: “Crisis-hit Venezuela to push clocks forward to save power.”

* How many friends can a person have?

For the first three decades of the film industry’s existence, American “courts were not yet ready to consider motions pictures as speech worthy of constitutional protection.” And local and state governments were not ready to give up censorship as a form of good government. “In addition to the moral uplift, the logistics of film regulation were attractive. Regulation was a revenue generator; boards charged distributors for examination and approval and charged theaters for permitted exhibitions.”

Daniel J. Berrigan, Defiant Priest Who Preached Pacifism, Dies at 94.


Weekend Links!

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* CFP: ASAP, Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present.

* Real-life trolley problem: programming a self-driving car to decide what to aim at in the event of a crash.

As one of the first full-time faculty members at Southern New Hampshire’s online college, Ms. Caldwell taught 20 online courses last year: four at a time for five terms, each eight weeks long. The textbooks and syllabi were provided by the university; Ms. Caldwell’s job was to teach. She was told to grade and give feedback on all student work in 72 hours or less.

* The digital humanities bubble has popped. Climb on board the science fiction studies bubble before it’s too late!

* March Madness: The University of Oregon and the local district attorney’s office appear to have colluded to prevent a rape accusation from interfering with basketball. What a mess. “I thought, maybe this is just what happens in college,” she told police, “… just college fun.”

How to Combat Sexual Assault: Three universities are addressing sexual assault the right way.

The Worst of All Possible Universes and the Best of All Possible Earths: Three Body and Chinese Science Fiction.

* Go ahead, make your jokes: Harvard Faculty Members Approve College’s First Honor Code.

* “The Day I Started Lying to Ruth”: A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer.

The CPB also usefully charts the changing funding fortunes of higher education and corrections.  As they remind us (4), there has been an effective reversal in the priorities placed on higher education and corrections since the early 1980s.  In 1980-81 2.9% of the General Fund was spent on corrections; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 9%.  In 1980-81, 9.6% of the General Fund was spent on higher education; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 5.1%. Actually the reversal is worse than the CPB indicates since Brown’s General Fund budget does not include the spending being sent to counties for realignment.  This has allowed him to appear as if he is cutting back on correctional spending when he is not.

* Money, Politics, and Pollution in North Carolina.

Portland Committee Reviews Arrest of Nine-Year-Old Girl. Give them time! They really need to think through if arresting kids is really a good idea!

* Snapchat goes on twenty-year probation with the FTC.

* Atrocious: The Globe and Mail wants its management to the have the right to assign editorial employees to write and edit advertorial copy as part of their regular duties, according to this union bulletin. 

* ‘Can You Make Sure There’s Nothing Un-Islamic In Our Oriental Shlock-Fest?’ – G. Willow Wilson In The Bleeding Cool Interview.

The point is that after years of studies about charter schools, there is not really any definitive proof of any “charter magic” they bring to the field.

* Meanwhile, standardized testing in Chicago asks immigrant students to choose the best argument for their own exclusion from society.

* Yes we can! Interest Rates on New Federal Student Loans Will Rise for 2014-15.

* Professors’ non-existent privacy rights.

* Economists: Still the Worst.

* Scenes from the adjunct struggle in San Francisco.

* Pope Demands ‘Legitimate Redistribution’ Of Wealth. Sold!

* North Dakota Is the Deadliest State to Work In.

* RIP, Community. For now!

* I’m a little surprised we don’t already have a few trillionaires lying around. Get to work, capital! You’re slacking.

* Iowa Secretary of State makes voter fraud his signature issue, pours a ton of money into finding it, comes up with 117 illegally cast votes and gets six convictions. Typical voter turnout in Iowa is around one million people.

* Scientists create truly alien lifeforms.

The Recommendation Letter Ralph Waldo Emerson Wrote For A Job-Hunting Walt Whitman.

* The tragic case of Monica Lewinsky.

Four Ways You Can Seek Back Pay for an Unpaid Internship.

Stress Gives You Daughters, Sons Make You Liberal. Well, that about solves all the big questions forever.

* The Secret Origins of Benghazi Fever.

* And bell hooks vs. Beyoncé: whoever wins, we… Well, look, Beyoncé’s going to win. Let me start over.

Tuesday Mo(u)rning Links

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* Utopian for Beginners: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented.

* Uncomfortable metaphor watch:

The two spacecraft, Ebb and Flow, have been orbiting the Moon since their launch in September 2011 to create a gravity field map of its surface.

But, with not enough fuel to carry out further experiments, the American space agency opted for a “controlled descent” to avoid the risk of obliterating astronaut Neil Armstrong’s footsteps on the Moon.

Questions They Might Ask You at Your MLA Interview.

* Great moments in attendance policies.

* Fill-in-the-Blank Generic Gun Massacre Cartoon. Joe Scarborough, communist. Obama speaks at Sandy Hook Vigil. The formula is simple: The more batshit malevolent the gun cult gets, the more power they exert. Our Moloch. On politicizing tragedy:

What that means in practice is that in the aftermath of contemporary gun tragedies, we don’t see new gun legislation. What we do see is a spike in gun sales. After the shooting last summer in Aurora, Colorado, gun sales went up. After the Giffords shooting, there was a surge in purchases of the very Glock semiautomatic that wounded her. Certainly, the firearm industry and lobby will confront some bad P.R. in the coming weeks, but they can likely find succor in an uptick in business. Following the Newtown shooting, Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners for America, suggested that these massacres might be avoided in the future, if only more teachers were armed.

As Pratt’s sentiment should make clear, the United States has slipped its moorings and drifted into a realm of profound national lunacy. Ponder, for a second, the fact that I cannot walk into a C.V.S. today and purchase half-a-dozen packages of Sudafed, but I can walk into a gun dealership and purchase a .50 caliber rifle of the sort that U.S. snipers use in Afghanistan. In fact, I can buy six or ten—there is no limit imposed by law. Should the gun dealer think it fishy that I might want to acquire a weapon capable of downing a small aircraft (much less six of those weapons) he may report the purchase to the A.T.F. But in most states, he’s not required to.

You are terrible: The tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is a price that is paid for protection of the Second Amendment. You are terrible: Huckabee Blames ‘Tax-Funded Abortion Pills’ For Newtown Massacre. You are terrible: Can you imagine being in the shoes of the one who feels his power slipping away? You are terrible: If we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.

Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism,  McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication.

I mean really.

Support the creation of local organizations to act as “neighborhood watch” for schools. Had George Zimmerman been at the front door instead of some mechanical card reader those children would still be alive. Perhaps it’s time we start asking for volunteers to protect our children. It will require security checks, but isn’t that worth it? This dovetails with the union problem; the unions will fight this measure tooth-and-nail.

No, Really, Regulate the Bullets. Race, Class, Violence and Denial: Mass Murder and the Pathologies of Privilege. What makes America’s gun culture totally unique in the world, in four charts. But maybe this chart is the only one you need.


Dreams in Infrared: The Woes of an American Drone Operator.

Leaked IPCC Draft Report: Recent Warming Is Manmade, Cloud Feedback Is Positive, Inaction Is Suicidal.

* I’m sorry to say I’ve followed Ricky Gervais pretty far down the “obnoxious asshat” rabbit hole, and even I can’t imagine how his staring in The Muppets 2 could possibly turn out good.

* When Stoker wrote Whitman.

Popular Mechanics makes 110 predictions for the next 110 years.

2012 to 2022

Drones will protect endangered species. Guarding at-risk animals from poachers with foot patrols is expensive and dangerous. This summer rangers in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park previewed a savvy solution: Hand-launched drones armed with cameras and GPS provided aerial surveillance of threatened Indian rhinos.

Digital “ants” will protect the U.S. power grid from cyber attacks.Programmed to wander networks in search of threats, the high-tech sleuths in this software, developed by Wake Forest University security expert Errin Fulp, leave behind a digital trail modeled after the scent streams of their real-life cousins. When a digital ant designed to perform a task spots a problem, others rush to the location to do their own analysis. If operators see a swarm, they know there’s trouble.

Vegetarians and carnivores will dine together on synthetic meats. We’re not talking about tofu. We’re talking about nutritious, low-cost substitutes that look and taste just like the real thing. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has already invested in Beyond Meat, which makes plant-based chicken strips so convincing they almost fooled New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.

Bridges will repair themselves with self-healing concrete. Invented by University of Michigan engineer Victor Li, the new composite is laced with microfibers that bend without breaking. Hairline fractures mend themselves within days when calcium ions in the mix react with rainwater and carbon dioxide to create a calcium carbonate patch.

* The east coast of 2057.

* Catfood forever! Catfood for everyone!

* And Republicans are still planning on rigging the Electoral College. Or you could just try being popular. You could, just once, try that…

Tenured Literature

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Writers who have been lucky enough to land these gigs are inclined to talk — when we aren’t grumbling — about their good fortune in sensible language, citing all that is sane, healthy, balanced and economically viable about their jobs. But another question is discussed less. What exactly does all this teaching do to our writing? And what, if anything, does it mean for a country to have a tenured literature? What exactly does all this teaching do to our writing? And what, if anything, does it mean for a country to have a tenured literature?

So asks David Gessner in the New York Times Magazine.

Consider that our first great national literary flowering constituted, in part, a rebellion against what was thought of as academic, effete and indoors-y in English writing. It slightly complicates things that this flowering was greatly influenced by an Englishman, Wordsworth, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that in the 1850s Melville published “Moby-Dick” (1851); Thoreau, “Walden” (1854); and Whitman, “Leaves of Grass” (1855), while at the same time Emily Dickinson began to hit her private stride and Emerson was still lecturing. Thoreau claimed to have never wasted a walk on another, and it’s hard to imagine him taking a break from one of his marathon strolls to waste three hours teaching a graduate workshop. Equally difficult is picturing Melville asking a group of undergrads, “What’s at stake in this story?” or Dickinson clapping a colleague on the back after a faculty meeting.

There was an essential fanaticism in all their efforts, the sense of an entire life thrown into the great project of creating works of art. Even if we grant that you can be as original within the university as up in your garret, we must concede the possibility that something is lost by living a divided life. Intensity perhaps. The ability to focus hard and long on big, ambitious projects. A great writer, after all, must travel daily to a mental subcontinent, must rip into the work, experiencing the exertion of it, the anxiety of it and, once in a blue moon, the glory of it. It’s fine for writing teachers to talk in self-help jargon about how their lives require “balance” and “shifting gears” between teaching and writing, but below that civil language lurks the uncomfortable fact that the creation of literature requires a degree of monomania, and that it is, at least in part, an irrational enterprise. It’s hard to throw your whole self into something when that self has another job.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 23, 2008 at 5:53 pm