Wednesday, September 26, 2007
As you can see, the show follows the formula established by Pee Wee's Playhouse of appealing to kids with bright colors and standard kids themes and appealing to adults by featuring hip music and being skull-crushingly weird
Note: I originally linked to this version of the intro, which is obviously youtube user contributed extreme weirdness, but is also cool.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Eastern Philosophy Timeline
Originally uploaded by rob helpychalk.
I am convinced that good visuals vastly improve the experience for some students. I am convinced that they take a lot of time and I am not very good at them.
This timeline provides a map for everything we will be covering in my eastern philosophy course. (3000 years of the history of two major civilizations in 10 weeks.)
Sunday, September 23, 2007
During the heydey of the post World War II great academic job market, these smokers were quite different. For one thing, people actually smoked. For another thing, the Baby Boomers actually smoked pot at the smoker. Unless you are a Generation X job candidate who has been stuck at a table with a drunk Baby Boomer during one of these things, and he (it's always a he!) is telling you how great it was "back in the day" when everybody had over ten interviews and there was a "dance circle" of pot smokers in the middle of the room. . . unless you've had this experience added to the penury and hopelessness of the average job candidate, you maybe don't even know the meaning of the word "rage." [To give you a basis of comparison, I found such experiences vastly more rage inducing than the time four drunk Ohio farm kids on a public street called me a "long haired faggot" and then used me as a punching bag. This may just be because I could understand most of what the farm kids were saying, unlike with the atrocious A.P.A.-smoker-room acoustics added to the slurred speech of Doctor Peace Bear and his equally drunk and self-satisfied Boomer colleague Professor Hippypants.]I didn't say this. Any ill consequences for bad mouthing the tenured generation should not be directed at me. I am merely further publicizing these remarks for educational purposes.
224007814_4def8bd557 I speculate that this is one of the main reasons Generation X academics are often so unrelentingly hostile (when talking with one another) about Baby Boomer academics. Note, I don't endorse this. But any fellow Gen Xer not suffering from the kind of Stockholm Syndrome induced by relentlessly acting like a "promising young man," (i.e. a Boomer's idea of a young person instead of an actual young person) knows what I'm talking about. Baby Boomer academics had a much easier time getting jobs and tenure. Somehow on their watch we not only got Reagan, the two Bushes, and abandonment of cool plans to colonize space, but also a university system where now less than half the positions are tenure or tenure-track. And Gen Xers should be forgiven for concluding that they don't care. You go to a faculty senate meeting and all the talk is about: (1) diversity (any comment by me on how this actually works in most universities would take us too far afield), (2) fighting the administration's efforts to make it easier to sack dead-wood Baby Boomers with tenure, or (3) instituting some awful management school thing like "strategic planning" that only results in academics (usually the junior ones) writing useless reports to justify some Baby Boomer vice provost's six figure salary.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Start by remembering what a free mind is. A mind is free if it is not bound by an inherited set of ideas, but is able to consider the widest range of possibilities. Most importantly, a free mind is not trapped by beliefs that justify existing unjust power structures, and can conceive of better alternatives. A free mind has imagination and skepticism.
Honestly, you can't just will yourself to have imagination and skepticism. The main source of imagination and skepticism isn't in you at all. It is in the way you were raised. And while it is possible to develop imagination and skepticism later in life, this too will be largely a product of your experience. The main internal cause for increased imagination and skepticism would be a kind of second order disposition. If imagination and skepticism are themselves dispositions to think a certain way, we can also talk about a disposition to cultivate those dispositions. But once you are in a position to have such a disposition, you pretty much have all you need to be imaginative and skeptical.
Once you have the will to free your mind, your mind is already free.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Just now we've been looking at videos of Redemption Song. I'm fond of this one, which seems to be by some random guy. I had been looking forward to hearing the Joe Strummer/Johnny Cash version for some time, but when I heard this user-made slideshow using it, I was let down. Cash seemed to me to have aged much better than Strummer. Hearing Joey S doing the song on his own made me revise my opinion. Really the voices were just mismatched. The Strummer video also features some first rate testifying at the beginning, and is just a nice video (is that Jim Jarmush?)
Then there is the man himself:
(He looks like he is doing all the strumming with his thumbnail, and just moving his thumb, barely flexing the wrist at all. And he can hit double time that way. Is that possible?)
And check out this version:
Well, the important thing is to have no fear for atomic energy. None of them can stop the times.
The monochrome librarian cries under the imbalance.
A danger patches a bread. A violate war advocates the local socket. Why does Caroline rage beside the enclosed risk? Caroline achieves Joey near an additional ribbon. Caroline rolls with Joey.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The Jeff Buckley version is one of the most popular. It has some fucking incredible guitar work, which makes for a better arrangement than the piano arpeggios that seem to be standards for covers Hallelujah. This is actually my first experience listening to Buckley, despite reading about him constantly.
Buckley has a verse not in Shrek: "Remember when I moved in you/and the holy ghost was moving too/ and with every breath we drew was hallelujah" I swear Cohen has a way of making his own horndogginess into something transcendent. I wish my horndogginess were so transcendent.
The standard arpeggio covers are here (Rufus Wainwright) and here (Alison Crowe, which I only clicked on because I thought it said Alison Krause)
Its a close contest between Buckley and Cale.
The article does not mention it, but I infer that a substantial number of the girls being born are chromosomally male. They have the manly Y chromosome, but its action in development has been completely undone by the estrogen mimickers. I wonder if this means there will be some cases of girls growing penises at puberty.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Time and again, the authors in Biotechnology Journal divide the world into a drama with just two actors: Science and The Public. (One even makes an even more derisory distinction, suggesting that the debate is between "modernists" who believe in progress, and postmodernists who don't even believe in truth.) But there's a third player: Capital.Of course, for every person who sees biotech policy (and technology policy in general) as a conflict between modernists and antimodernists, there is someone who views it as a conflict between evil capital and good nature. But the Salon piece does a good job with one reductionism.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
President Hu Jintao's most ambitious attempt to change the culture of fast-growth collapsed this year. The project, known as ''Green G.D.P.,'' was an effort to create an environmental yardstick for evaluating the performance of every official in China. It recalculated gross domestic product, or G.D.P., to reflect the cost of pollution.
But the early results were so sobering -- in some provinces the pollution-adjusted growth rates were reduced almost to zero -- that the project was banished to China's ivory tower this spring and stripped of official influence.
This spring, a World Bank study done with SEPA, the national environmental agency, concluded that outdoor air pollution was already causing 350,000 to 400,000 premature deaths a year. Indoor pollution contributed to the deaths of an additional 300,000 people, while 60,000 died from diarrhea, bladder and stomach cancer and other diseases that can be caused by water-borne pollution.