Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Wells Tower

All the Midweek Links There Are

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* My media empire: I have a piece on climate change and science fiction in the new New Inquiry issue on weather, which has gone out to subscribers but isn’t online yet. I’ll let you know when you can read it, though for a mere $2 you could read it this very minute.

* “It’s one of those situations where everybody says it’s an issue but the people who have the most influence and the most ability to do something about it are not acting on it,” said Gary Rhoades, professor of higher education at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education, a virtual think tank supported by faculty and labor groups. He called the adjunct issue a “widely acknowledged challenge” with deep, interwoven roots – many of which pit administrative prerogatives against labor concerns and educational outcomes.

IRS Says Colleges Must Be ‘Reasonable’ When Calculating Adjuncts’ Work Hours. What if the adjuncts shrugged?

* Yesterday marked the 202th anniversary of the largest slave revolt in US history.

* Game of the day: run from Michel Foucault. Do not become enamored of power.

* Another great rundown of science fiction in China. Via io9.

* zunguzungu is gathering notes towards a canon of post-9/11 literature. I contributed Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” as well as the inevitable science fictional treatments: Battlestar Galactica, District 9, Nolan’s Batman…

* Warmest Year On Record Received Cool Climate Coverage. It’s so hot in Australia they’ve had to add a new color to the weather map.

* This paper uses annual variation in temperature and precipitation over the past 50 years to examine the impact of climatic changes on economic activity throughout the world. We find three primary results. First, higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries but have little effect in rich countries. Second, higher temperatures appear to reduce growth rates in poor countries, rather than just the level of output. Third, higher temperatures have wide-ranging effects in poor nations, reducing agricultural output, industrial output, and aggregate investment, and increasing political instability. Analysis of decade or longer climate shifts also shows substantial negative effects on growth in poor countries. Should future impacts of climate change mirror these historical effects, the negative impact on poor countries may be substantial.

* The Seven Lady Godivas: Dr. Seuss’s Little-Known “Adult” Book of Nudes.

* io9 celebrates the classic tabletop role-playing game Paranoia.

* The American Prospect considers the legal hyperformalism the GOP has embraced in the face of longterm demographic crisis and declining real power.

What all these efforts have in common is that they are all perfectly legal,  and yet they all violate the norms of how American politics had been practiced for decades or even for centuries. All of them exploit some loophole in the law or the Constitution to give Republicans some immediate advantage in the basic ground rules of how political issues are contested.

* National Geographic’s photographs of 2012.

original

* The great moral question of our time: On heckling.

* The Superhero Delusion: How Superhero Movies created the Sad Perfect Badass Messiah, and what that says about America.

* Television as narcissism.

* Installing the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History.

* Science catches up to what the poets always knew: Our perception of time changes with age, but it also depends on our emotional state. Research is steadily improving our understanding of the brain circuits that control this sense, opening the way for new forms of treatment, particularly for Parkinson’s disease.

* Debating that rape viral infrographic.

* Great moments in advertising: the UC spends $4.3 million to attract a single student.

* The forever war on women: Under Obama, a Skew Toward Male Appointees.

* And Mitch Hurwitz teases the new Arrested Development. I am…optimistic?

TAL: ‘Long Shot’

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I thought This American Life was especially good this week even by its usual high standards, featuring the losingest high school football team in Utah, the longest shot ever to win the Kentucky Derby, and a murderer sentenced to life in California who suddenly receives parole after twenty-seven years in San Quentin—subject to Schwarzenegger’s veto. The last of the pieces, by perennial Canavan favorite Wells Tower, doesn’t seem to have all that much to do with long shots, but it hit home for me anyway; I have more than one Close Associate who uses entropy as a maintenance scheme and everything Tower had to say I wish I’d written.

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

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Wells Tower reads a personal favorite, “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.”

Written by gerrycanavan

April 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm

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"Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned"

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One of my favorite obscure writers is about to become a lost less obscure; Wells Tower’s first collection of short stories is coming out after a too-long wait. I’ve taught Towers’s Viking-flavored story “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” a few times and I appreciate it more each time I read it. Knowing nothing about the circumstances of its writing beyond its original publication date (2002), I see it as one of the great fictional commentaries on the psychic state of post-9/11 America. The ending, still, just kills me.

Purist that I am, I’ll quote the original version here behind a [+/-], which I think is better than the book’s slightly modified version. But don’t read it until you’ve read the whole thing, or unless you’re existentially certain you never will.

Where had the good times gone? I didn’t know, but when Pila and me had our little twins and we put a family together, I got an understanding of how terrible love can be. You wish you hated those people, your wife and children, because you know what awful things the world will do to them, because you have done some of those things yourself. It’s crazy-making, but you cling to them with everything and close your eyes against the rest of it. But still you wake up late at night and lie there listening for the creak and splash of oars, the clank of steel, the sound of men rowing toward your home.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm

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