Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Zero Dark Thirty

Monday Night Links!

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* The American University and the Establishment of Neoliberal Hegemony.

* Urban farming in Milwaukee.

* 10 Horrifying Stats About Display Advertising.

1. You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad.
2. Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads (and some of them aren’t even humans!).
3. You are more likely to get a full house while playing poker than click on a banner ad.
4. The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Do you remember any?
5. You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.
6. The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.1%.
7. You are more likely to birth twins than click a banner ad.
8. About 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental.
9. You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad.
10. You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.

* How the CIA script-doctored Zero Dark Thirty.

* The New Yorker profiles David Graeber.

And linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words.’

Pagel and his collaborators have come up with a list of two dozen “ultraconserved words.” It contains both predictable and surprising members. The most conserved word is “thou,” which is the singular form of “you.” “I,” “not,” “what,” “mother” and “man” are also on the list. So are the verbs “to hear,” “to flow” and “to spit,” and the nouns “bark,” “ashes” and “worm.” Together, they hint at what has been important to people over the past 15 millennia.

…And More

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I’ve said this before: let’s have an academic decathlon. You choose a team based on whatever pedagogical criteria you want. You can choose students from public school or private, unionized teachers or not, parochial or secular, from charter or magnet, from Montessori or KIPP or whatever else you want. However, I choose the demographics of the students on your team. For my team, the situation is reversed: you choose the pedagogical factors for my students, but I choose the demographics. You stock your team kids from whatever educational backgrounds you think work, and mine with whatever educational systems you think don’t work. Meanwhile, I give you all children from the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden inner city and impoverished rural districts where we see the most failure. I stock mine with upper-class children of privilege. I would bet the house on my team, and I bet if you’re being honest, you would too. Yet to accept that is to deny the basic assumption of the education reform movement, which is that student outcomes are a direct result of teacher quality. 

Stunning front-page from UNC’s Daily Tar Heel today.

If you are a low-income prospective college student hoping a degree will help you move up in the world, you probably should not attend a moderately selective four-year research institution. The cards are stacked against you.

Elderly Obama And Boehner Daughters Arrive In Time Machine To Demand Climate Action.

Who among us can forget Malia’s first words to a rapidly-growing crowd in this historical meeting between present and future, “People of 2009, we come from–” words that were immediately interrupted by her younger self, surrounded by Secret Service, saying, “It’s 2013,” which led future Malia to punch future Sasha, saying, “I told you not to mess with the controls.” Malia then continued, “2013, seriously? What’s the friggin’ point?”

* Academic jobs watch: Specialist Professor, Homeland Security.

California isn’t a state in which liberals have run wild; it’s a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making. Krugman is optimistic that the Republicans’ stranglehold on the state seems to be abating; I’d note that in the arena of public education at least all the worst ideas are coming from the Democrats.

* When (and how) Brad DeLong trolled David Graeber for months. Jesus.

* That’s because these workers represent what’s happening to U.S. work in three critical ways. First, precarity: Workers lack job security, formal contracts, or guaranteed hours. Second, legal exclusion: Labeled as “independent contractors,” “domestic workers” or otherwise, they’re thrust beyond the reach of this country’s creaky, craven labor laws. And third, the mystification of employment: While a no-name contracted company signs your paycheck, your conditions are set by a major corporation with far away headquarters and legal impunity. Guest Workers as Bellweather.

How to Get a Black Woman Fired.

Overwhelming Student Debt Has Parents Getting Life Insurance Policies on Their Kids.

But if Emanuel brought Byrd-Bennett in to work the same kind of charter magic in Chicago that she did in Detroit, he may be dismayed to encounter one important difference: Chicago is now in a good position to fight back. The school closings hearings were packed with engaged, motivated citizens, and the teachers union is more organized than it’s been in three decades. During its popular and successful strike, the union’s approval rating climbed while the mayor’s fell—public opinion polls showed that taxpayers blamed Emanuel for the ugliness that took place during negotiations. The CTU’s current leadership has built relationships with community leaders and organizations, forming a coalition to fight the slash-and-burn privatization pushed by the Board of Education and its corporate sponsors, and has even hosted civil disobedience trainings open to the public. This afternoon’s protest will serve as further evidence that Emanuel is indeed up against a new opponent, one strong enough that not even the best “cleaner” may be able to defeat it.

Detroit Schools Emergency Manager Gets Accolades as Children Fall Further Behind.

* Nate Silver makes your Final Four book: Louisville Favored in Final Four, but Wichita State Could Become Unlikeliest Champion.

* Zero Dark Thirty is supposedly a film about freedom. A “freedom so threatening that there are those around the world willing to kill themselves and others to prevent us from enjoying it,” as the TV sound-bite in the background puts it. The odd thing is that this freedom is never once glimpsed within the film itself. Obviously, we are constantly reminded of the imprisonment and torture of the al Qaeda suspects, but it is never their freedom we are meant to be concerned with. More tellingly, it is the American spaces within the film that leave this freedom unseen. A strange becoming-prisoner takes hold of the spaces, and of the American body itself: not unfolding, in the end, either defeat or victory, but pulling together in a constricted space the impossibility of both.

* Gen X hits the nostalgia capitalism threshold.

* And dollar tracking site WheresGeorge suggests discrete commerce zones in the U.S.

mainborders

Tuesday Night Links

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* Welcome to My Massive Open Online Cult!

Welcome to my MOOC—Massive Open Online Cult—a 10-week course based on the revolutionary educational models of Coursera and edX. Due to the “massive” nature of this course, I am unable to interact with prospective cult members individually. Though I am acutely aware that the most fulfilling cult leader/acolyte relationship arises from months of sustained and deeply personal psychological manipulation, this is simply not an option with the MOOC format. However, I will do my best to break down your resistance mechanisms throughout the taped lectures.

Alex Kudera considers adjunct misery. Treating graduate students as people, not just scholars in training, will make them better professionals. Our Dirty Little Secret.

Now that three-quarters of college teachers are contingent faculty members like Duffleman, the depiction of professors as tweedy, pipe-smoking dons or turtlenecked, bearded radicals with actual authority is inherently reactionary. It paints all faculty members as a pampered elite, disconnected from the “real world,” ignoring the reality that most of them have more in common with Wal-Mart employees than they do with the one-percenters who preside over Kudera’s urban academic hellscape of poverty, terrorism, outsourcing, deskilling, externalization of costs, and privatization of profits.

Hollis surveyed administrators in higher education, with the somewhat startling result that “close to 62% of respondents . . . confirmed that they had been bullied or witnessed bullying in their higher education positions in the last 18 months” (36). And while “African Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community experience proportionally higher levels of bullying,” Hollis found that men in higher education still reported rates of bullying higher than the national rate (41, 42). Hollis argues that these differential rates demonstrate that there is considerable intersection between bullying and harassment, which may expose colleges and universities to legal jeopardy.

* University of California – Diploma Mill.

(1) The New University of California shall provide no instruction, but shall issue college credit and baccalaureate and associate degrees to any person capable of passing examinations.

As the debate about the drone and the war on terror in America emerges, these are the voices that are not heard—those of the victims and the targeted communities.

Salesmen in the Surgical Suite.

* SCOTUSblog menu of today’s coverage of the Proposition 8 argument. Emblazoned in red, same-sex marriage dominates social media.

At this blog, Lyle Denniston observes that, with the Justices so clearly split along ideological lines, focusing on Justice Kennedy to predict an outcome was an “even more reliable approach this time” than usual, and Justice Kennedy appeared strongly tempted to conclude that the case was improvidently granted. Thus, as Amy Howe observes in her review of the arguments “in Plain English,” “the real question before the Court is not whether it would strike down Proposition 8, or what the broader effect of such a decision might be, but whether it is going to reach the merits of the case at all.” Tom Goldsteinexplains that if these indications hold true, the Court’s ruling will take one of two forms: Either the Court could conclude that the proponents of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring the claim, in which case it would “vacate the Ninth Circuit opinion but leave in place the distinct court decision invalidating Proposition 8,” or “the Court may dismiss the case because of an inability to reach a majority. . . . The upshot of either scenario is a modest step forward for gay rights advocates, but not a dramatic one.”

* Atheism as the next civil right issue? We shall overcome…

Robots Have Taken All the Good Jobs, Report Economists.

* Aaron Bady vs. magical realism. Aaron vs. the Great American Novel.

* Google Objects To Existence Of New Swedish Word.

* Planetary gets an omnibus.

* John Brunner accurately predicted 2013.

* Rand Paul continues his hard pitch at the readers of this blog: Sen. Paul: Obama, Bush ‘lucky’ they weren’t arrested for smoking pot as kids.

“Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use,” Paul said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Look what would have happened. It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky. But a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky. They don’t have good attorneys. They go to jail for these things. And I think it’s a big mistake.”

* And another great what if: With today’s technology, would it be possible to launch an unmanned mission to retrieve Voyager I?

Sunday Links

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Suff1(some shamelessly borrowed from you-know-who)

* Britain paid reparations for slavery? That’s fantast–oh god.

The true scale of Britain’s involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country’s wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

Fathers matter, but so do grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Indeed, it may take as long as 300-500 years for high- and low-status families to produce descendants with equal chances of being in various parts of the income spectrum.

* The Ambition Gap: When researchers have studied the ambition gap, they’ve discovered something peculiar: It’s not there. Women do ask for more. They just aren’t rewarded for it. Via Feminéma.

7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown-Up Literature. Joyce! Twain! Woolf! Eliot! Shelley! Tolstoy! Wilde! 7 (More) Obscure Children’s Books by Famous “Adult” Lit Authors. Huxley! Stein! Thurber! Sandburg! Rushdie! Fleming! Hughes!

* Actually existing media bias: Glenn Greenwald on what’s become of MSNBC.

I wonder: does someone who goes from being an Obama White House spokesman and Obama campaign official to being an MSNBC contributor even notice that they changed jobs?

* Mentoring and cruel optimism.

* Race and the cuts at Emory.

* Rehabilitating Zero Dark Thirty.

Susan Sontag once wrote that every mass art form is practiced and experienced as “a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.” Zero Dark Thirty’s critics, unwilling to understand themselves as the film’s intended audience, instead imagined that “real Americans” were being made tools of power through one of their most important social rites: moviegoing. What these critics did not confront was their own need to fend off anxiety. For Maya, as for many Americans, the anxiety has to do with the inadequacy of Osama bin Laden’s death as consolation for all of the disasters that preceded it. How else to explain the manic focus on proving that torture did not contribute to the search for bin Laden? It suggests a kind of desperation, a desire to hold up just this one episode as separate and different from the rest of the war. This desire is Zero Dark Thirty’s true subject, as well as the object of its critique.

‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis.’

The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose, the Most Reviled Six-Year-Old Girl on the Internet. People are the worst. Jesus Christ.

* Texts from Pride and Prejudice. Texts from Don Quixote.

* Ten Little Suffragettes.

* George Saunders, lapsed Catholic.

* Papal Conclave 101.

Perhaps the classic expression of this idea belongs to none other than the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

Then the clincher:

There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

* Hayley Schafer chose her dream job at the age of 5. Three years later, her grandmother told her that if she wrote it down, the dream would come true. So she found a piece of blue construction paper and scrawled on it with a pencil: “Veterianian.” “No one told me how to spell it,” she remembers. “They just said, ‘Sound it out.’ ”

At the age of 30, she still has the sign, which is framed on her desk at the Caring Hearts Animal Clinic in Gilbert, Ariz., where she works as a vet. She also has $312,000 in student loans, courtesy of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Or rather, $312,000 was what she owed the last time she could bring herself to log into the Sallie Mae account that tracks the ever-growing balance.

* The Cost of Prison.

* A brief history of the car cup holder.

* Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male.

* Oscar Pistorius and the Media. The curious case of Reeva Steenkamp’s boyfriend. Inspiration porn and compulsory able bodiedness.

* Stay Free or Die Tryin’: Scenes from the student protests at Cooper Union.

Hidden behind a false wall and a fast-food restaurant, large black and brown images depict the faces of seven UCLA alumni, symbolizing the struggle of social activism and black history.

* Could a president use drones to kill journalists?

* Being David Bowie.

But what I wanted to talk about is the way that the Harlem Shake meme seems perfectly designed for the workplace.

And a Few More Weekend Links

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* Someone has adapted China Miéville’s The City and the City for the stage in Chicago. Sold.

* Republicans legislating what answers should get full credit on homework in Oklahoma.

Last year’s program copped to the death of Hollywood cinema-as-art. All that was left was looking backward over a once-hallowed institution and weeping over the corpse. This year, though, the tears have dried. What we see instead is a clear vision of the utility of cinema. The 85th Academy Awards, like no show before it, will elevate films that are openly ideological, weaponized tools of the state.

Evil Middle School Teachers Prank Students with Fake Disney World Field Trip.

* And your headline of the decade: U.S. Government Plans To Air Drop Toxic Mice To Fight Snake Invasion.

Literally Every Weekend Link There Is

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* It’s official: J.J. Abrams will ruin Star Wars (more).

* More drone fiction, please. Tweets not bombs. Lip-syncing the poetry of empire.

Žižek vs. Zero Dark Thirty.

Imagine a documentary that depicted the Holocaust in a cool, disinterested way as a big industrial-logistic operation, focusing on the technical problems involved (transport, disposal of the bodies, preventing panic among the prisoners to be gassed). Such a film would either embody a deeply immoral fascination with its topic, or it would count on the obscene neutrality of its style to engender dismay and horror in spectators. Where is Bigelow here?

* Anti-war activism at the University of Wisconsin, c. 1940.

* Stunning read on living as a victim of child abuse from the New York TimesThe Price of a Stolen Childhood.

* David Foster Wallace and depression, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

* Steve Benen and Maddowblog has been all over the Republican vote-rigging scheme, even going so low as to cite one of my tweets. What The 2012 Election Would Look Like Under The Republicans’ Vote-Rigging Plan. Scott Walker, of course, is rigging-curious. And a delicious little bit of schadenfreude.

It is a sin against the new world of mediocrity to be distinct or distinguished.  We are in the chain-store, neon-lighted era.  Almost every city looks the same.  The same people all dress the same – kids as Hopalong Cassidy, men with loud sportshirts and Truman suits, women in slacks.  Sometimes you can tell whether a trousered individual is a man or a woman only by the width of the buttocks.  Only a few cities have individuality.  They are the seaports, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.  Boston reeks of decay, and is not genteel.  The rest are all Cleveland.

* Today in legal hyperformalism.

Would you believe me if I told you that President Obama is in constitutional trouble—with hundreds of decisions of the National Labor Relations Board from the last year now potentially invalid—over the meaning of the word the?

* When The Shining had an optimistic ending.

* So we’re going to destroy the world: Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada’s oilsands.

* The trouble with English.

None of these past challenges compares with the one under way now. While other humanities disciplines—philosophy, linguistics, and modern languages, for example—have relied upon a range of foundational practices at the modern mass university, many English professors have depended on literature (narrowly defined), written discourse, and the printed book as the primary elements in teaching and scholarship. But hidebound faculty members who continue to assign and study only pre-computer-based media will quickly be on their way toward becoming themselves a “historical” presence at the university.

That’s why I specialized in iPad-2-era Twitter-based fan-fiction, and frankly I’ve never looked back.

* Mainstreaming MOOCs.

* Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational: Ian Bogost vs. “The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.”

* New research indicates tuition has little correlation with educational outcomes.

If markets are efficient and if markets make things better, then there is no explanation for why we have the worst media in the world rather than the best. The problem is that markets don’t really make things better or more efficient. They make things cheaper and they’re responsive. That’s why we get the news we want rather than the news we need.

Child labour uncovered in Apple’s supply chain.

* n+1 visits MLA.

* Defending freedom: A St. Paul man who recently purchased an assault rifle out of fear of an impending gun ban threatened his teenage daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

For The Sixth Time In One Week, Man Shot At Gun Show.

* Adam Mansbach: My fake college college syllabus.

* Copy Of The Scarlet Letter Can’t Believe The Notes High Schooler Writing In Margins.

* Debunkng the “the Soviets used a pencil” gag. The more you know!

* Occam’s Razor suggests it must be Cory Booker who is putting these people and animals in danger in the first place.

* More on the Arizona “loyalty oaths” issue, with a religious freedom focus.

* New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence.’ Republicans, honestly, we have to talk.

* Seriously, though, I could fix the whole damn system if they’d listen to me.

* Even the Pentagon doesn’t know what the the point of the draft is supposed to be.

* Xavier and Magneto Heading to Broadway for Waiting For Godot.

* And a little something just for the Harmenians: “I wanted a memorable Harmontown show in Kansas City, and for my sins they gave me one.” Dan Harmon predicts pain.

Weekend Links – 2!

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