Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘World of Warcraft

Weekend Links!

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tumblr_ol5we0t6ty1romv9co1_500* Are you at AWP? Or in DC generally? Jaimee is! She’ll be doing a book signing at the Waywiser Table at 12:30 Saturday and then reading at the Waywiser reading at 7:30 PM at the Den.

* I’ll be giving a short workshop on Octavia Butler and Kindred at the Stanford Humanities Center next Thursday, if that’s convenient to you!

This is so outrageous. 21 years in the US, arrived at 14, two US citizen children, arrested at a scheduled check-in with ICE. You could hardly find more compelling proof that this is entirely and exclusively about cruelty.

* “Pentagon journal explores what could happen if a president called for Muslim internment camps.” Gee, I wonder.

Meanwhile, in another classic authoritarian maneuver, the outsized ego at the heart of the Trumpist seizure of power has surrounded himself with an obliging retinue of enablers and quisling yes-men. Trump likes to divide people between “haters and losers”—a cheap shot that is actually a fairly useful way to categorize his own team. It’s Already Happened Here. How to Stop an Autocracy. Profiles in Courage: Rand Paul, Civil Libertarian.

* Every day. Something crazy happens every day.

* The history of this era is going to be so, so unbelievable.

* Neither Nordstrom nor Ivanka but International Socialism.

* Of course…

* It’s getting to the point where you can’t even call for the wanton slaughter of students without some PC SJW raising a stink about it.

tumblr_ol51udr3fd1romv9co1_500How Political Fear Works. Beware of Self-Censorship. Who Benefits From Trump’s Chaos? What’s in it For The Collaborators? There Are No Good Reasons Not To Fight.

* Obama’s Lost Army: When Obama Killed OFA.

* I liked this: The Meitheal Manifesto: Thirteen Agreements to Save the World.

* Some rare good news on the climate.

* Darkest thing I’ve ever seen, first for one the one reason and then for the other.

* The arc of history is long, but Mac malware is slowly catching up to its Windows rivals.

Solitary Confinement Is a Great American Shame.

* Remembering Richard Rorty on Trump (and the reformist left) (again).

* No one is reading those reference letters. “Truly, this is the single easiest fix in academic culture.”

* Science education in the time of Trump.


* You can’t argue with facts, little brother.

* Bees aren’t endangered anymore! Surprisingly easy fix actually.

Everything is hot now and getting hotter. Everything seems off or wrong and it is hard to get your bearings because so few of the old landmarks remain. It is hard to believe that some things ever happened, that certain places ever existed. Sometimes I am convinced my memory is wrong or fooling me. The idea that there might be a United States. The idea that this vast and unruly countryside, these ruined cities, these endless refugee camps, might have once been something else. If no one invades us now and only some countries send food and aid, it is only because they too are under stress. Or because we are so fucked up and so many of us have so many weapons. Somewhere in the lost places, there are still nukes, too. Jeff VanderMeer’s “Trump Land.”

* SF Cities Beyond Blade Runner.

* Graverobbing the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

* Source map from the first great comic book crossover.


* Oh, this was so brutal to read. There but for the grace of God go I at least for now.

Here are my vitals: I have more than $200,000 in student loans and $46,000 in credit card debt—all accumulated during my B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., and then search for a tenure-track job. My annual salary translates to a little more than $3,000 in monthly take-home pay. I pay $800 a month in rent, $1,100 in credit card bills (paying only the monthly minimums), $350 in student loans, and have $285 a month car payment. I also pay the usual insurances, utilities, groceries, gas, et al. I don’t have cable. Or a kitchen table. Or blinds on any of my windows. I’ve cancelled all magazine and newspaper subscriptions—an actual dilemma for a journalism professor. For my first year in Bangor I didn’t even have a bed. Instead I slept on a Target air mattress until it lost its breath; then I moved to the couch (which I had purchased on credit), until my back finally demanded I buy a bed (credit, again).

* And of course you had me at A New Deep Space Nine Documentary Reveals What Would Have Happened in Season Eight. Here’s another good writeup.


Surprise Sunday Links! Watch Out!

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* The route Google Maps recommends if you’re headed to Ferrum College from the west involves what may be the loneliest and most roller-coaster-like stretch of roadway ever to earn a state route number from Virginia. It’s a narrow ribbon of pavement with no center line, a twisting trail you drive imagining that if you go over the edge, weeks could pass before anyone found the wreckage. Only at the other end do you spot a yellow sign that reads, “GPS Routing Not Advised.” Small, Rural Colleges Grapple With Their Geography.

* A friend recommended the short Cuban SF novel Super Extra Grande to me, which I liked a lot. Some profiles on the author: 1, 2.

* Horrific terror attack at historic Orlando gay night club leaves 20 dead.

* Scientists think they’ve figured out the Antikythera Mechanism.

* Being Tig Notaro.

* In search of Cervantes’s grave.

* Old and busted: AI. New hotness: IA.

* Landscaping in the Anthropocene.

As an added experiment, the researchers applied their model to the current distribution of human populations on Earth. They found that, under all the same assumptions, 12.5 percent of the global population would be forced to migrate at least 1,000 kilometers, and up to a third of the population would have to move more than 500 kilometers. 

In a paper published in the May issue of the journal Astrobiology, the astronomer Woodruff Sullivan and I show that while we do not know if any advanced extraterrestrial civilizations currently exist in our galaxy, we now have enough information to conclude that they almost certainly existed at some point in cosmic history.

…what our calculation revealed is that even if this probability is assumed to be extremely low, the odds that we are not the first technological civilization are actually high. Specifically, unless the probability for evolving a civilization on a habitable-zone planet is less than one in 10 billion trillion, then we are not the first.

Twitter must fix this. Its brand is increasingly defined by excessive harassment.

* More on The 7-1/2-Hour O.J. Simpson Doc Everyone Will Be Talking About This Summer.

Because poetry is considered so small, so irrelevant, it’s tempting for poetry critics to look for the BIG themes in poems to demonstrate that poetry matters. I continue to learn from critics who take on this labor. However, because ALL African literary criticism is assumed to matter the more it focuses on the BIG SOCIOPOLITICOECONOMICDISASTERTHATISAFRICA, I am inclined to turn to quieter moments—spaces for the intimate, the friendly, the quiet, the loving, the depressed, the depressing, grief, and melancholy. I’m drawn to the register that is not the shout, and never the headline. I linger at the quotidian to insist that the African imagination considers livability and shareability.

For everyone, he claims, is shortchanged when the guiding principle and “key driver” of the institution is no longer thought, but money (ix). Faculty are silenced, yes, by the drive to conformity and homogeneity. But students are also cheated when they are treated simply as “human capital”: “When the university is reduced to the function of preparation for jobs and not for life, life itself gets lost under the jobs” (85). Most broadly and seriously of all, society as a whole suffers as the university abandons its traditional role as “that institution that has a responsibility to counter the incipient violence of natural force” (40). The fate of the university is bound up with the fate of democracy and citizenship at large. If society is to change, and injustice and inequality challenged, we need now more than ever an institution whose role is to be “’critical’ of the existing world state of affairs, dissident with respect to it” (6).

* I sometimes wish tenure were what its enemies believe it is.

* White supremacist PACs and Trump. The stain of Trump. “A GOP senator might vote for Hillary Clinton. Here’s how rare that is.” Trump has underperformed the real estate market by a mere 57% since 1976. Alas, Mitt.

* I’m calling it: Trump will drop out of the race by July 5 at the latest. He will blame the unfair media and political correctness, allude to some wack-ass conspiracy involving Black Lives Matter and/or Hezbollah, and go to his grave telling everyone he knows that if he had stayed in the race, he would’ve beaten Clinton.

* You may be done with your quasi-legal homebrew server, but your quasi-legal homebrew server is not done with you: The FBI has been conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information for months.

We narrowed Clinton’s vice-presidential possibilities to 27. Now you pick one. For a long time I’ve thought it definitely be one of the Castro brothers, probably Julian, but Elizabeth Warren has made such a push lately I’ve started to think it could actually be her. Of course you can pick Trump’s too, from such a weak field it includes his own daughter.

Let me close with a broad statement. In the news you will see some rather hysterical statements about how all bets are off this year. That is true to an extent: on the Republican side, the national party’s positions and their rank-and-file voters’ preferences are far out of whack. In a deep sense, their decision process in 2016 became broken. But that does not mean that opinion is unmeasurable. Far from it. In the aggregate, pollsters still do a good job reaching voters. And voters are still people whose opinions move at a certain speed. To my thinking, polls may be the best remaining way to assess what is happening.

* But just in case: I Spent the 90s Fighting Fascists on the Streets of Warsaw.

* According to multiple federal complaints, young black students in New York City are being forced out of school after being sexually assaulted.

* If you’re not sick of these yet: What Hamilton Forgets About Hamilton.

* The gentrification of Sesame Street.

* Review: Warcraft Is The Battlefield Earth Of The 21st Century. Warcraft, Hollywood, And The Growing Importance Of China’s Box Office.

* Because you demanded it! Kevin Smith Says That His Mallrats Sequel Will Be a 10-Part TV Series.

* Same joke but for The Passion of the Christ 2.

Sixty Million Car Bombs: Inside Takata’s Air Bag Crisis: How the company’s failures led to lethal products and the biggest auto recall in history.

* The case for Lady Stoneheart showing up in season six of Game of Thrones. Let me say I have my doubts.

* What to do if you find a goose than lays golden eggs. Machine Learning: A Flowchart. If you read Kafka’s stories backwards, they all make great kids’ movies.

* And the moral cowards at Wikipedia have moved to suppress my work again.


Written by gerrycanavan

June 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Election Links, One Last Time

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Friday Night!

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Warcraft and Utopia

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“Warcraft and Utopia,” an essay on the politics of play by Duke album Alexander Galloway.

World of Warcraft evokes a pre-modern hodgepodge of technologies and narrative scenarios (given time, one might cognitively map the historical fantasy of the game’s narrative — trace when exactly the blunderbuss was invented, or the introduction of certain kinds of armor, for example, all the while knowing that such a pursuit could never be “fixed” or arrived at with any degree of precision), overtly participating in the “utopia for the before,” imagining life before capitalism. However, the functionality of the game is pure software culture, suggesting that perhaps the more one tries to strip utopia of its machinic core, by cloaking it in any manner of pure fantasy or pre-modern worlds (“dungeons and dragons,” “swords and sorcery,” etc.), the more informatic and algorithmic it becomes, reverting to the software equivalent of twenty-sided dice. Indeed dice are repurposed in World of Warcraft: into the various logics of software code; random number generation; action statistics; and particularly in terms of how identity is defined as a set of mathematical variables such as stamina, agility, health, and so on.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 11, 2008 at 1:33 am

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Crazy Demographic of the Day

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Crazy demographic of the day: In today’s America, there are more World of Warcraft players than farmers. Via Paul Krugman by way of an email from Steve.

There are four times as many Americans living in urban than rural areas. There are four times as many people sucking back coffee in New York city alone than make a living farming. According to the Burea of Labor, there are just as many people employed in Architecture and Engineering as farming, hell, 3 million people working in Computer and Mathematical jobs. But when one of these “What does America think about culture” pieces comes on, do I ever see a mid-30’s software engineer onscreen bitching about having to download BitTorrents of “The IT Crowd”? Fuck and no.

Four million people in the US play World of Warcraft. And yet, do I ever hear:

ANDERSON: We stopped by the gates of Ogrimmar in Durotar, on the east coast of Kalimdor, where one local told us Hollywood just can’t relate to the level-grinding life.

UNIDENTIFIED ORC: They’ve never been back here, questing Razormane or Drygulch Ravine, y’know … or farming for Peacebloom and Silverleaf. They’re out of touch.

No. No I do not.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 21, 2007 at 1:16 pm

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