Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘waste

Tuesday Night Links!

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* Climate Fiction Short Story Contest judged by Kim Stanley Robinson. Fall fiction contest judged by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.

* Whoa: Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Black Panther Comic for Marvel.

* Whiteness, Political Economy, and the MFA.

The majority of these reasons have to do with student desire. It is obvious that people have to want the degree for universities to feel motivated to create programs. But there are many economic pressures that induce colleges and universities to expand and aggressively advertise and recruit for programs in creative writing. We do not think it is an overstatement that, prior to the 1990s and the intensifying financial pressures that brought about the corporatization of the university, English departments tended to have a studious lack of interest that bordered on disdain about the teaching of creative writing. And top-tier schools still tend to not offer graduate degrees in creative writing. Of the top 10 universities according to USNWR rankings, only Columbia has an MFA program.

The story of how these financial pressures show up in the college where we work — a small liberal arts college that admits self-identified women and people assigned female at birth who do not fit into the gender binary — might provide a useful illustration here. In 1990, the board of the college voted to go co-ed. In response, students went on a strike that they won after two weeks; the board backed down and the school did not go co-ed. Despite the outpouring of support, the college still had significant enrollment issues. Administration responded to this in the 90s by focusing on co-ed graduate programs. Between 1990 and 2013, graduate students went from 25 percent of the total enrollment at the college to 40 percent. The MFA in creative writing was targeted for growth. During the same period, the number of MFA graduates in the creative writing program more than doubled, from an average of 13 to 34 annually. This growth was not under department control. In 2005, after a long discussion, the department decided that they wanted to admit a smaller, more selective class. It was clear that “targeted for growth” meant adding more students, not more resources. But the president of the college held the acceptance letters until the department agreed to admit everyone on the fairly large wait list. This resulted in the largest class ever admitted.

* An excerpt from Claire Vaye Watkins’ upcoming novel, Gold Fame Citrus, “a sweeping, apocalyptic vision of the Southland after the water wars turn California into a roaming sand dune sea.”

Interdepartmental research shows that during that 12-month period when body cameras were in use, instances of some types of force by San Diego police officers actually rose by 10%.

* If You Live In These States You’ll Soon Need A Passport For Domestic Flights. I can’t imagine that this will actually come to pass, but I just got my driver’s license renewal and Wisconsin is treating its default ID as not-airplane-ready.

In honor of the ten years since speculative fiction author Octavia Butler’s untimely transition, the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network and the Octavia E. Butler Society are joining forces to create simultaneous West and East coast events February 25-28, 2016 in L.A. and at Spelman College in Atlanta respectively. The two organizations will also be collaborating on a special edition of the academic journal Palimpsest that highlights her written work and impact on humanity.

The majority of white people who take the implicit association test (IAT) for racial bias do demonstrate biases against dark-skinned people.

* Higher education as Veblen good.

Dispatches From the Future’s Past: How a collection of sci-fi fanzines helps us understand the prehistory of the Internet.

A Newspaper Report on Administrative Bloat: Some Remarks on the Sum of the Details and on Some of the Specific Details.

Why Is College So Expensive if Professors Are Paid So Little?

* “Canada’s oldest independent arts university has struggled financially in recent years, and currently faces a $13-million debt.” So of course the solution is to build a new campus for $25 million.

Cornell’s Pitch to Humanities and Social-Sciences Ph.D.s: All of You, Apply Here.

If 2008 taught us anything, it’s that the whole culture has followed the economic quants far enough down the complexity rabbit hole. I would argue that it might be the scholarship that neoclassical economists dismiss most forcefully that we should look to for help in questioning the self-interested models that the financial sector asserts are real. As these books help us realize, it is humanists who are best trained to pull back the curtain on what we are talking about when we talk about finance.

* Criminal charges for Volkswagen? A CEO just got 28 years in prison after nine people died from his salmonella-tainted peanuts, and VW probably killed more people than that in California alone.

* Men haven’t gotten a raise in forty years.

* Sheboyganfreude: Scott Walker suspends presidential campaign.

* Eleanor Rigby, greenlit for six seasons and a movie.

One dad’s sad, expensive, and brief encounter with Ron Weasley.

* “Hit Charade: Meet the bald Norwegians and other unknowns who actually create the songs that top the charts.”

I Confronted Donald Trump in Dubai.

* Disproving Godwin.

* Why does light have a top speed?

No, I’m Not Piercing My Daughter’s Ears.

A Glossary of Gestures for Critical Discussion.

* Gymnastics and the abusers. Incredible, incredibly disturbing read.

* “Preventing Ethnic Fraud.” Should Universities Be Policing Professors’ Ethnicity Claims?

Games connect you with the sublime infinity of the mathematical universe, but they intersect with the real world only in secret and for pretend. Only in your head.

A new scandal, though, is putting Johnson’s rise at serious risk. It involves the mayor replacing civil servants with private citizens funded by the Wal-Mart empire and tasked with the twin purposes of working to abolish public education and bring in piles of cash for Kevin Johnson. The rising star, it seems, set up a fake government—and some people are starting to notice.

The Road to a 100% Clean-Powered Planet.

The rise, and rise, of literary annotation.

Selfies Killed More People Than Sharks This Year.

* And it was certainly nice of them to name the whole generation after my kid.

It’s Been Much Too Long And Now There Are Much Too Many Links

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* Job ad (probably best for Midwest-located scholars): Visiting Assistant Professor of English (3 positions), Marquette University.

* There’s a new issue of SFFTV out, all about the Strugatskiis.

* CFP: Octavia E. Butler: Celebrating Letters, Life, and Legacy – February 26-28, 2016 – Spelman College.

* Episode 238 of the Coode Street Podcast: Kim Stanley Robinson and Aurora.

* The weird worlds of African sci-fi.

* Afrofuturism and Black Panther.

* To save California, read Dune.

* All episodes of I Was There Too are great, but last week’s Deadwood-themed episode was especially so.

* Jameson’s essay on Neuromancer from Polygraph 25 (and his new book The Ancients and the Postmoderns: On the Historicity of Formsis available at Public Books.

“My college has had five deans in the last 10 years. They want to make their mark. That’s fine, but the longer I’m in one place as a faculty chair, I see why faculty are cynical and jaded,” Dudley said. “Every time there is turnover, there is a new initiative. There is a new strategic plan. So many faculty are just at the point where they say ‘just leave us alone.’ “

Pomp and Construction: Colleges Go on a Building Tear.

6 Ways Campus Cops Are Becoming More Like Regular Police.

* Diversity and the Ivy Ceiling.

* What academic freedom is not.

7) Academic freedom is not a gratuitous entitlement for privileged faculty but essential in achieving societal progressivity. Those with academic freedom are more likely to produce higher quality research and effective teaching that benefits society, if not always the ruling elites. I frequently state in class: “If I am not free, you aren’t free! For me to do my job, I must speak freely and teach outside the lines to help you expand your frame of knowledge and question your world.” There may not be a” truth, however earnest the search, but the attempt to find it must be unfettered. Society spends billions of dollars on higher education, and the investment is more likely to reap dividends if revisionism, and not orthodoxy, prevails.

* Why Is It So Hard to Kill a College? Why do you sound so disappointed?

An LSU associate professor has been fired for using curse words and for telling the occasional sexually-themed joke to undergraduate students, creating what university administrators describe as a “hostile learning environment” that amounted to sexual harassment.

* Josh Marshall: Here’s an (fun in a surreal, macabre way) article about a recent example of how Twitter has dramatically increased the velocity at which bullshit is able to travel at sea level and at higher altitudes. In fact, the increase is so great that Twitter has become a self-contained, frictionless bullshit perpetual motion machine capable of making an episode like this possible. This is the story of Zandria Robinson, an African-American assistant professor of sociology at the University of Memphis who made some that were both genuinely outrageous and also a peerless example of jargony academic nonsense-speak, became a target of right-wing media and twitter-hounds, then got fired by the University of Memphis because of the controversy, thus making the University a target of left-wingers on Twitter and driving Twitter to cross-partisan paroxysms of outrage and self-congratulation. Except that she wasn’t fired and actually wasn’t even an employee of the University of Memphis in the first place. Thanks, Twitter.

Supreme Court to Consider Case That Could Upend Unions at Public Colleges.

* Adjuncting is not a career, TIAA-CREF edition.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 19: Resilience.

* Fraternities, man, I don’t know.

* Right-wing SF and the Charleston attack.

* Fusion is mapping the monuments of the Confederacy. Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.

* Tomorrow’s iconic photos today.

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* There’s a dark side to everything: the secret history of gay marriage.

* Andrew Sullivan’s victory lap.

* Gay rights in America, state by state (updated 26 June 2015).

* The Y2Gay Problem.

How do you tell a person to choose between having food to eat and getting married?

* When docents go rogue.

* When image recognition goes rogue.

Greece just defaulted, but the danger is only beginning.

* Puerto Rico and debt.

Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret From the Public.

Let that sink in for a moment: “[C]ompanies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals….” And they can collect not just for lost property or seized assets; they can collect if laws or regulations interfere with these giant companies’ ability to collect what they claim are “expected future profits.”

* The Rise and Fall of LSD.

* How FIFA Ruined Soccer.

* Rape on the night shift.

* Self-driving cars and the coming pro-driving movement.

* Class and the professorate.

* “I’ve been a boy for three years and I was a girl for six.” Frontline on growing up trans.

* Why are colleges investing in prisons in the first place? Don’t answer that.

* The view from over there: 38 ways college students enjoy ‘Left-wing Privilege’ on campus.

How to Avoid Indoctrination at the Hands of ‘Your Liberal Professor.’

* Against students.

You Were Right. Whole Foods Is Ripping You Off.

* “You have the wrong body for ballet.”

* The toy manufacturing sublime.

* Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history. I really don’t think going on WTF is that big a deal.

* What Went Wrong: Assessing Obama’s Legacy. [paywalled, sorry]

* Debating polygamy: aff and neg (and more).

Alex Hern decided not to do anything for a week – unless he’d read all the terms and conditions first. Seven days and 146,000 words later, what did he learn?

Philip K Dick’s only novel for children to be reissued in UK.

Postcapitalist Posthumans.

* Preschool justice.

* The World Without Work. The Hard Work of Taking Apart Post-Work Fantasy.

* The Sweatshop Feminists.

Keita “Katamari Damacy” Takahashi is still making the best games.

The Assassin Who Triggered WWI Just Got His Own Monument.

Every state flag is wrong, and here is why.

US military admits it carried out secret race-based experiments to test impact of mustard gas on US soldiers.

Don Featherstone, Inventor of the Pink Flamingo (in Plastic), Dies at 79.

* A people’s history of the Slinky.

* How to fix science.

J.K. Rowling Announces “Not a Prequel” Play About Harry Potter’s Parents. There’s just no way we’re not going to get an official “next generation” sequel series in the next few decades.

Court Affirms It’s Completely Legal To Swear Loudly At Police.

* Oh, but we have fun, don’t we?

* They’re making a sequel to Lucy, more or less just for me.

* Kotsko flashback: Marriage and meritocracy.

If in the Mad Men era the mark of success was the ability to essentially ignore one’s family while enjoying access to a wide range of sexual experiences, now the situation has reversed: monogamy and devotion are the symbol of success. And the reason this can make sense as a symbol of elite arrival is that the trappings of a bourgeois nuclear family can no longer be taken for granted as they were in the postwar heyday of the “traditional family” — they are the exception rather than the norm. In the lower and working classes, successful marriages are increasingly difficult to sustain amid the strain and upheaval that comes from uncertain employment and financial prospects (a problem that is compounded by the systematic criminalization of young men in minority communities). While marriage is still a widely-shared goal, the situation now is similar to that with college: a relatively small elite get to really enjoy its benefits, while a growing number of aspirants are burdened with significant costs (student debt, the costs of divorce) without much to show for it.

I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery.

* When police kill the mentally ill.

* Despair bears

A broken bail system makes poor defendants collateral damage in modern policing strategies.

Drug cops took a college kid’s savings and now 13 police departments want a cut.

The 20 Best Lines From the Supreme Court Dissent Calling to End the Death Penalty.

* Inside Rikers Island.

Someone is turning the Saved By The Bell Wiki into a thing of beauty.

* Dystopia now: “Predictive Policing.” You’re being secretly tracked with facial recognition, even in church. Air pollution and dementia. Rivers of death. The dark future of ‘Advantageous’: What happens when the difference between child-rearing and job training collapses?

* Plus, there’s this creepy shit.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine Abramsverse Star Trek sequels, forever.

* No one else apply for this.

* And they said my English major would never be useful.

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Oops, Forgot a Title Links

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* I have a review out today of Aurora and Seveneves (both great!) in The Los Angeles Review of Books. My review actually has a lot in common with two other reviews they’ve run recently, one from Tom Streithorst on Mad Max: Fury Road and the other from Sherryl Vint on Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife.

* I always said the point of the five-year Ph.D. was “produce more adjuncts,” but UC Irvine has gone and formalized it.

* RT @cnewf: USC fundraising staff: 450. USC TT faculty in Arts & Sciences:460.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Arizona State.

University of Iowa Receives 18,000 Volume Science Fiction Library.

* The Toast interviews @AfAmHistFail.

* On working dads.

#charlestonsyllabus

* Sweet Briar lives. Joy Over Sweet Briar’s Reopening Is Tempered by Questions About the Road Ahead. Lessons from Sweet Briar. Sweet Briar Savors the Promise of Revival, but Fund-Raising Challenge Is Vast. Sweet Briar’s ‘No Nonsense’ New President Faces a Tall Task. Reinventing Sweet Briar. I just want someone to look into all their weird investment losses and figure out what was happening there.

How to Teach Your White Kids to Fight Racism.

* The flag might actually come down.

* For every “justifiable” gun homicide, there are 34 criminal gun homicides, 78 gun suicides, and two accidental gun deaths.

Rhodesia and American Paramilitary Culture.

The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why.

* CCC, call your PR office.

The brutal truth is that most of American political history is an experiment in seeing what will happen if national political elites agree not to offend white supremacist Southern white men.

* “Sanders surge is becoming a bigger problem for Clinton.”

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, she leads Sanders by 47 percentage points.

Surge!

But set Obama’s impressive electoral victories aside and the Democrats look less like an emerging majority and more like a party in free fall: Since Obama was sworn in six years ago, Democrats have suffered net losses of 11 governorships, 30 statehouse chambers, more than 900 statehouse seats, and have lost control of both houses of the U.S. Congress. They’re certainly finding every possible way to blow it.

* Scenes from the charter school scam: Milwaukee Public Schools edition.

For as long as women have been doing time, prisons have had to contend with the children they carry.

The Martian Author Andy Weir Explains All the Ways Mars Wants to Kill You.

* Erasmus Darwin, supervillain.

* Think Progress on suicide and trans* identity.

* Use/Mention distinction really hits the big time.

* What happens when the sea swallows a country?

* It’s just impossible to elect anyone who is actually on the left. Look what happens.

* It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of McDonalds.

* Amazon developing exciting new ways to destroy publishing.

Clash of Clans is made by the Finnish game studio Supercell. It launched in August 2012 and rapidly became one of the top five highest-grossing titles in Apple’s App Store. In 2013, when Yao and his invitation-only clan, North44, were at their peak, Clash of Clans helped create $555 million of revenue for the company. The next year, Supercell’s revenue tripled to $1.7 billion — a seemingly inexplicable sum produced by a roster of games that, like Clash, are free to download and can be played without spending a dime. So how is Supercell generating all that money? By relying on players who don’t simply want to enjoy the game but who want to win. Players who, like Yao, are willing to spend a great deal of cash.

* Against porn. May have spoken a bit too directly to me given that I read it while watching the Rashida Jones documentary Hot Girls Wanted, which is utterly, soul-crushingly depressing.

‘Star Trek’ Fan Invited to Pitch ‘Star Trek Uncharted’ TV Series to Paramount. The best part: it actually sounds like a good idea.

* And the arc of history is long, but Walter White From ‘Breaking Bad’ Will Appear in a Future Episode of ‘Better Call Saul.’

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2015 at 7:53 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Morning!

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021814-nu-union-150* Man tragically unable to remember saying Barack Obama would make a great president says Hillary Clinton will make a great president. Meanwhile, the rest of us are reduced to talking about Obama’s secret achievements.

* Faculty on Strike at UIC.

Solitary Confinement May Dramatically Alter Brain Shape In Just Days, Neuroscientist Says.

* Last Night on Jeopardy No One Wanted to Answer Qs About Black History.

Noose Found Around The Neck Of Statue Honoring Civil Rights Icon At Ole Miss.

* On Teaching While Black.

What Does it Mean that Most Children’s Books Are Still About White Boys?

The J.R.R. Tolkien Manuscripts: Public Showings in 2014.

* Here are the hoops a college football team has to jump through to be allowed to form a union.

* 84-Year Old Nun Sentenced To Prison For Weapons Plant Break-In.

Academic freedom with violence.

Has humanity produced enough paint to cover the entire land area of the Earth? The dream remains alive.

* Whistle-blower fired from Hanford nuclear site.

“We do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly,” URS said, adding Busche was fired for reasons unrelated to the safety concerns. “Ms. Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny.”

Busche is the second Hanford whistle-blower to be fired by URS in recent months. Walter Tamosaitis, who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired in October after 44 years of employment.

* A new China Miéville short story collection, scheduled for November 2014.

* A world of horrors: There is no such thing as a child prostitute.

In the same way that certain styles of dance simulate sex, the Winter Olympics simulates scraping one’s February-chapped nostrils against the surface of a Kleenex whose aloe content is useless and reaching out for the warm escape of death. It’s an art of failed suicide attempts.

* A preliminary sketch of the data reveals, of course, that by 2050 films will be reviewing us.

* “First, why would we even think about letting it go through?”

“This whole thing is totally and completely bonkers.”

Grace Kerr sometimes jokes with her family that “Amanda was not that great. Zach is awesome.” What she means is that her son is finally happy, and is helping others.

* Diseased and unsound meat: Hot Pockets®!

In Act Of Protest, Ai Weiwei Vase Is Destroyed At Miami Museum.

* News You Can Use: Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Castrate a Hippo.

A portrait of Steve Jobs made entirely out of e-waste.

* The Ice Caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Candy Crush: Addictive Game, Incredible Business, Horrible Investment.

How the north ended up on top of the map.

* Inside Kappa Beta Phi, the Wall Street Fraternity.

* And our long national nightmare is over: Obama apologizes for disparaging art historians.

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The Five-Year Ph.D. as Improved Plumbing, Redux

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In this respect, the restructuring of the Graduate Center follows a rather banal and callous neoliberal trend across higher education today: the gutting of social sciences and humanities; assembly-line style speed-up in PhD production time; and the loss of spaces for long-term, dedicated, and quality research and writing. Title refers to this. Via @claudiakincaid.

The Five-Year Ph.D. as Improved Plumbing

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Marc Bousquet, How the University Works:

From the perspective of casualization, the possibility of a toxic buildup of degree holders is not, as commonly maintained by job-market theorists, the result of “too many” graduate students. On the contrary, it is precisely the nature of permatemping to arrange that there are always “just enough” graduate students and other nondegreed flex workers to be delivered “just in time” to serve the university’s labor needs. It is in the interest and logic of the system to have as many graduate students as it can employ while producing the fewest number of degrees—or, better yet, to produce persons with degrees who don’t make a claim for permanent academic employment. This is one reason that graduate school administrations have recently promoted the Marie Antoinette or “let them eat cake” theory of graduate education: “Why, if they cannot find teaching work, let them be screenwriters!” This is a kind of excrement theory for managers, through which the degree holder figures as a horrible stain or blot, an embarrassment that the system is hysterically trying to scrape from its shoes. By institutionalizing the practice of preparing degree holders for “alternate careers,” the system’s managers are creating a radiator or waste pipe to flush away persons whose teaching services are no longer required precisely because they now hold the degree.

The five-year Ph.D. works exactly the same way  — flush out the used-up instructors faster and cleaner. It’s better plumbing. We know this is true (alas) because these proposals don’t ever talk about admitting fewer students to Stanford. The result of reducing time-to-degree while keeping admitting the same number each year will be be more graduate students passing through Stanford, not fewer — but the ones that do pass through will disappear more easily, making fewer demands on the institution materially and affectively as they go. Despite its claimed goals, most of which are perfectly laudable in the abstract, this is the unhappy purpose to which the five-year-degree proposal actually directs itself: not the production of fewer Ph.D.s, but a mechanism to get rid of the “used-up” Ph.D. better than we do now.

The five-year Ph.D. with alternative job training is therefore not, as Claire Potter has it, “an accounting reform posing as educational reform”; it’s an efficiency measure designed to better manage the cheap labor on which the contemporary university demands and better dispose of the people whose time in the system is up. Bousquet again:

Nearly all of the administrative responses to the degree holder can already be understood as responses to waste: flush it, ship it to the provinces, recycle it through another industry, keep it away from the fresh meat. Unorganized graduate employees and contingent faculty have a tendency to grasp their circumstance incompletely—that is, they feel “treated like shit”—without grasping the systemic reality that they are waste. Insofar as graduate employees feel treated like waste, they can maintain the fantasy that they really exist elsewhere, in some place other than the overwhelmingly excremental testimony of their experience. This fantasy becomes an alibi for inaction, because in this construction agency lies elsewhere, with the administrative touch on the flush-chain. The effect of people who feel treated like waste is an appeal to some other agent: please stop treating us this way—which is to say to that outside agent, “please recognize that we are not waste,” even when that benevolent recognition is contrary to the testimony of our understanding. (And, of course, it is only good management to tell the exploited and superexploited, “Yes, I recognize your dignity. You are special.”)

By contrast, the organized graduate employee and contingent faculty share the grasp of the totality of the system that proceeds from the understanding that they are indeed the waste of that system. They know they are not merely treated like waste but, in fact, are the actual shit of the system—being churned inexorably toward the outside: not merely “disposable” labor (Walzer) but labor that must be disposed of for the system to work. These are persons who can perform acts of blockage. Without expelling the degree holder, the system could not be what it is. Imagine what would happen to “graduate programs preparing future faculty” if they were held responsible for degree-granting by a requirement to continue the employment of every person to whom they granted a Ph.D. but who was unable to find academic employment elsewhere. In many locations, the pipeline would jam in the first year!

Another Single Chart The Explains Everything

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Administrative Waste Consumes 31 Percent of Health Spending. Via Marc Bousquet, who basically adds, “See also: academia.”