Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘when you stare too long into the abyss the abyss stares back into you

Friday Morning Links!

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* ICYMI! SFFTV CFP: “When the Astronaut is a Woman: Beyond the Frontier in Film and Television.” At the link there’s also details for SFFTV’s year-round reading period.

* Climate Scientists Warn That All Super Mario Levels Will Be Underwater by 2025.

* On academic mobbing.

* Okay, but it’s only barely half.

Duke University’s non-tenured faculty have reached a tentative agreement in their first union contract, which includes higher pay and longer-term teaching appointments.

* Yours, Mine, but Not Ours: Why the politics of national security means that we’re all living in failed Hobbesian states.

* Ethnic cleansing remains the one arena of policy where this White House can focus. Emboldened by Trump, U.S. Border Officials Are Lying to Asylum Seekers and Turning Them Away.

Judge Derrick Watson is soft on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz Threatens Stranger in Emails: ‘Watch Your Back , Bitch.’

* I sincerely hope the lawsuits associated with this pronouncement bankrupt Anthem.

* Game of Thrones fan fiction getting serious now.

At the end of the second Obama administration, there seemed to be more time and world in which to noodle around with those questions than there is today. In this new age of anxiety and emergency, existential threats seem very close indeed. Our own game of thrones has taken a terrifying turn. Winter is other people.

It is ridiculous how beyond debate the collusion case has become and how little it matters anyway.

* It’s going to pass.

* Why Are We So Unwilling to Take Sylvia Plath at Her Word?

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (dir. John Hughes, 2017). This will definitely hold up in court. I hope this is still legally binding. At this point I’d at least hear them out. When you stare too long into the abyss. From A to Z.

“I set a goal to only eat meat that I killed and helped butcher myself” is the most Hannibal Lecterish thing this guy has ever said. So far.

* The war on drugs goes speculative.

* Income Inequality Will Survive the Nuclear Apocalypse.

And Here’s Your First Look at an Insanely Detailed Model of Disney’s Star Wars Land.

Monday, Monday

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* The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

* The exciting return of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional,” and friends, this one could be a doozy. Here Is What Will Happen If The Supreme Court Strikes Down Obamacare’s Subsidies. And from the archives: Halbig, King, and the Limits of Reasonable Legal Disagreement.

* George W. Bush, meritocrat.

* It’s baaaaack: A totally legal, totally shady way that Republicans could ensure Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

* The Quest for Restoration, or, Gone Girl and Interstellar Considered as the Same Film.

* As a society, we are somewhat obsessed with the risks of dying – from car crashes, cancer, terrorists, Ebola, or any of the thousands of mortal terrors that haunt our nightly newscasts. But we’re less accustomed to consider the risks of living long – of outliving our retirement savings.

* Is Serial problematic? Serial: listeners of podcast phenomenon turn detectives – with troubling results. What Is An Ending? ‘Serial’ And The Ongoing Story Of Wanting Too Much. Alas, I listened to this this weekend and got hooked despite all my critical detachment.

* Doritos-Flavored Mountain Dew Is Real, PepsiCo Confirms. This is unfathomable. There are some lines never meant to be crossed.

* Can anyone even remember postmodernism?

* World Cup Watch: North Koreans working as ‘state-sponsored slaves’ in Qatar.

* Against spoiler alerts, in the LARoB.

The rise of spoiler-free criticism seems like a move away from criticism as art — and a move toward criticism as an arm of fandom marketing. It’s fine to not want spoilers in your criticism. But there is something distasteful about the assumption that providing spoilers is some sort of lapse in ethics or etiquette. If you don’t treat art first as a consumer product, the spoiler-free doctrine seems to suggest, you’re being cruel and unfair. But critics really are not under any obligation to like what you like or to treat art with one particular kind of reverence. In the name of preserving suspense, the command to remain spoiler-free threatens to make criticism and art more blandly uniform, and less surprising.

* On artificial intelligence in board games.

* Wikipedia’s list of deleted articles with freaky or inappropriate titles.

* Tig Notaro, national treasure.

For example, research in economics has shown that the wage gap between lighter- and darker-skinned African Americans is nearly as large as the gap between African Americans and whites. In our analysis of data from theNational Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we found that the darkest-skinned African American girls were three times more likely to be suspended at school than their lighter-skinned counterparts — a disparity that is again roughly equal to the gap between blacks and whites. Alternatively put, while African American girls are three times more likely to be suspended than white girls, the darkest-skinned African American girls are several times more likely to experience suspension.

* A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life.

Frenzied Financialization: Shrinking the financial sector will make us all richer. Finance as a New Terrain for Progressive Urban Politics.

Former Football Player Sues UNC Over Fake Courses. A University President’s Comments on Rape. Brown University Student Tests Positive For Date-Rape Drug at Frat Party.

* Occasion #7 is all about debt.

* Cloud computing: the race to zero.

* Telepathy is now possible using current technology.

* White men as institution.

* Let me pause and say here: of course I love many literary dudes. They are not, all of them, smug and condescending. But let me say something else: I thought for a while that the really terrible ones were time limited — that they were products of the 1950s, of a particular time period, and that it really was a viable strategy to just talk about snacks until they all retired. But I have now realized this is not true; new terrible smug dudes are coming up through the ranks. Hydra-like, smug dude attitude keeps springing forth from itself.

* The corals that came back from the dead.

* Billboard ads are expensive to construct, maintain and rent, but they don’t serve any functional purposes — so Michal Polacek redesigned them to house the homeless. The next best thing to just abolishing homelessness.

In 2012, DiMaggio released the results of his own Safe Routes to School program. Child pedestrian injury rates had plummeted, falling to half their original numbers. “We showed that kids can still be kids,” says DiMaggio. “They can walk and bike to school and be safe.” The project’s federal funding expired last year, however, and no plans exist to extend the initiative to areas beyond the immediate vicinity of the selected schools.

You don’t have to be a monster or a madman to dehumanise others. You just have to be an ordinary human being.

* Obama endorses net neutrality.

* Incredibly misleading ad placement at Amazon inside the book description makes every book seem like it was an Amazon Editors’ Favorite Book of the Year.

* “But a deep look at Mars One’s plan and its finances reveals that not only is the goal a longshot, it might be a scam.” No! No! I won’t believe it!

* How Much of a Difference Did New Voting Restrictions Make in 2014’s Close Races?

* And Jacobin remembers 1917.

2014-11-10 08.20.31 am

 

President Constitutional Law Professor

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The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries. But don’t worry!

An expert in this aspect of the law said Wednesday night that the order appears to be a routine renewal of a similar order first issued by the same court in 2006. The expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, said that the order is reissued routinely every 90 days and that it is not related to any particular investigation by the FBI or any other agency.

More at MetaFilter.

Sir, You Have Fooled Me Twice – 2

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But Jon Stewart is a media story unto himself, the anti-pundit turned unnecessary pugilist. And it’s gotten to the point where he has blurred the line to the point of failure — where pundits are somehow, at least in election season, more rewarding, if more annoying. For someone interested in going beyond the fray, Stewart hasn’t done much to seize his two million viewers a night for much more than bombast and boring. Where there could be lengthy explanations of health-care policy, there is a bizarre Glenn Beck impersonation; where there could be a real usurping of the television media, there is a dick-measuring match with Rick Sanchez. And this matters: Stewart’s disdain for pundits who abuse the responsibility vested in them as a veritable fourth branch now apply as much to Bill O’Reilly as they do to Stewart. If all he’s going to do when face-to-face with the president of the United States is ask the same old questions, I’m not sure why anyone sees Jon Stewart as a success while everyone follows him down the rabbit hole in casting the rest of the bloviators as a undeniable failure.

Which is why, maybe, he’s doing the whole rally thing. Not that anyone knows what’s going down on Saturday, exactly. Is it just some elaborate parody of Glenn Beck’s sermon on the mount? A fanboy convention? An actual political event? And then there’s the lefty from PETA and the Huffington Post, while even some campaign volunteers seem to be attending the rally as a semi-official event. Stewart himself seems unclear on exactly what’s going on. All we know right now is that it exists, and not to bring coolers. The contention by David Brooks that this could be “a ‘jump-the-shark’ moment” for the show may be a bit overblown, but if health care was almost Obama’s Waterloo, this could at least be Stewart’s Stonehenge. Maybe.

Michael Barthel on Jon Stewart. Via zunguzungu’s Rally to Restore Sanity roundup.

Behold, the Mother of All Saturday Linkdumps!

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* Polish President Lech Kaczynski has apparently been killed in a plane crash in western Russia, alongside much of the leadership of the country. Updates at MeFi.

* Yesterday Stevens made it official. The timeline. A shortlist. The politics of shortlists. An offbeat shortlist. How about Cory Booker? Why Obama shouldn’t shy away from a confirmation fight. Why Glenn Greenwald is lukewarm on frontrunner Elena Kagan. Why the GOP may use the SCOTUS hearings as another excuse to freak out about health care. Or maybe just another excuse to flip out period. Still more at MeFi.

* Totally independent of anything anyone anywhere has said or done, threats against members of Congress have increased threefold in recent months. It’s a funny coincidence that means absolutely nothing.

* George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

* Everything old is new again: Gingrich says Republicans will shut down the government if they take over.

* Tony Judt on crisis, neoliberalism, greed, the end of history, and the need for a new New Left.

For thirty years students have been complaining to me that “it was easy for you”: your generation had ideals and ideas, you believed in something, you were able to change things. “We” (the children of the Eighties, the Nineties, the “Aughts”) have nothing. In many respects my students are right. It was easy for us—just as it was easy, at least in this sense, for the generations who came before us. The last time a cohort of young people expressed comparable frustration at the emptiness of their lives and the dispiriting purposelessness of their world was in the 1920s: it is not by chance that historians speak of a “lost generation.”

If young people today are at a loss, it is not for want of targets. Any conversation with students or schoolchildren will produce a startling checklist of anxieties. Indeed, the rising generation is acutely worried about the world it is to inherit. But accompanying these fears there is a general sentiment of frustration: “we” know something is wrong and there are many things we don’t like. But what can we believe in? What should we do?

* Full with polls: The IRS is more popular than the tea partiers.

* “Kind of a Glenn Beck approach”: On male studies. More at Salon.

* Another great segment from the Daily Show about blatant Fox News dishonesty, this one on the lies they’re telling about the START treaty. But the quote of the day on this comes from who else but Michele Bachmann, who calls for the U.S. to commit to nuclear retaliation in the event of a devastating cyber attack.

* Matt Yglesias on Treme‘s battle between realism and sentimentality.

* Comic book cartography. Their link to the principles of Kirbytech from my friends at Satisfactory Comics is pretty great too.

* Could our universe be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe? I’m surprised there’s even debate about something that is so trivially true.

Negative Twenty Questions, John Wheeler’s analogy for quantum mechanics.

* Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. Welcome to the elderly age.

* Multicellular life found that can live entirely without oxygen.

* xkcd’s version of hell is now fully playable.

* Chris Christie working overtime to destroy public universities in New Jersey.

Outsourcing TAs?

* In Washington, D.C., you’re not a rape victim unless police say so. Via Feministe.

* HIV-positive Michigan man to be tried as bioweapon.

* Are we still waiting for the other shoe to drop on Greece?

* The Texas miracle? Wind power in an oil state.

* Two from Krugman: Building a Green Economy and Al Gore Derangement Syndrome.

* Somewhat related: Tim Morton on hyperobjects.

Hyperobjects are phenomena such as radioactive materials and global warming. Hyperobjects stretch our ideas of time and space, since they far outlast most human time scales, or they’re massively distributed in terrestrial space and so are unavailable to immediate experience. In this sense, hyperobjects are like those tubes of toothpaste that say they contain 10% extra: there’s more to hyperobjects than ordinary objects.

* The Illinois Poison Control Center has a blog. MetaFilter has highlights.

* And Gizmodo has your periodic table of imaginary elements.

When You Stare Too Long into the Abyss the Abyss Stares Back into You

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Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people. Via MeFi.

America! America! God Shed His Grace on Thee

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