Thursday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

My Internet is back, and many interesting new links have accumulated in the meanwhile. Enjoy!

According to Cass Sunstein, studies in psychology and behavioral economics show that 80% of the population is “unrealistically optimistic.” When it comes to their own actions and life prospects, people tend to have unwarranted expectations that things will work out well for them. The other 20%? The realists? They “include a number of people who are clinically depressed.” And most of these diseased “realists” are, without a doubt, academics.

In the absence of a genuine scandal, even a really third-rate one from the bowels of the bureaucracy, they’ve got to pretend that Benghazi! is a real scandal.  It’s the madness of sheer desperation, but the Republicans just don’t know how to let go.” Very true. Benghazi will bury the Republicans in 2016, just like “Bush lied!” buried the Dems in 2004. The capacity to recognize when the argument that matters to you a whole lot just doesn’t resonate with the majority is a crucial skill for politicians.

Cushions for weirdos.

Net neutrality doesn’t initially sound like a vital feminist and social justice issue, particularly since it’s typically been framed through boring white dude tech speak as a fairly abstract idea instead of something real and concrete that directly impacts online organizing. Even the biggest nerds’ eyes glaze over during discussions of how fast data moves through teh series of tubes.” No, this was not written by a woman-hating bigot who wants to believe that all women are brainless air-heads. This comes from the most popular feminist blog known to humanity. I, for one, don’t think net neutrality is too complex for my feeble womanly brains, which is why I was never welcomed on that website.

But why should I be surprised if this same feminist website opposes family planning.

The brute fact that Latvia is a member of the NATO alliance is hard to ignore. The United States and other members have solemnly pledged themselves to regard “an attack upon one as an attack upon all.” But will German troops come to Latvia’s rescue? And if they did, would a majority of Germans support that action? Would the French, or British? Would Americans?” The answers are: no. No, no. And no. What are you, dumb? We’ve all seen how much all these “solemn pledges” are worth. Let’s forget all about that NATO childishness already.

A new trend in hiring: the death of the CV.

But as I watched Frozen, I was struck by how easily what played out on the screen could play into the arguments I heard growing up, arguments about the treachery of men and young women’s romantic vulnerability and need of protection. But of course, this is not the fault of the film’s writers, because there is a much more straightforward lesson to be taken from what happened between Hans and Anna. You see, Anna fell for Hans as quickly as she did in large part because of her sheltered and isolated upbringing. She had seen nothing of the world, and she knew that this ball might be her only chance to find “true love.” Anna was gullible, innocent, and inexperienced.” This is all shades of stupid. Falling in love fast is a sign of great psycho-sexual health. I fell in love with N the moment I glimpsed him through the window of Starbucks. And I was anything but sheltered and inexperienced at that point.

Professor Is In subverts her own point about people who leave academia by publishing one idiot after another (as if there were a shortage of brilliant and articulate former academics): “In many ways, my transition to working in corporate settings has required me to sacrifice depth for breadth. In academia, there is a tendency to talk with people with whom you, for the most part, fundamentally agree.” What a surprise that this idiot who didn’t manage to develop a single opinion of her own while in academia turned out to be an utter failure!

Either put yourself out there with a plan or shut the fuck up, I say.  Also, the idea that they “can’t” do this because some people “dominate” the conversation?  It’s a red herring.  The reason some people might appear to be dominating is because they are the ones who do the fucking work!  Do the work and you have a voice!  It ain’t rocket science!” A hundred times, yes. And the rest of the post is great, too. I had the exact same experiences at the end of the academic year and I identify, which is super rare for me.

I keep hearing people promoting post-academic careers saying things like “you can do more than ‘just teach’ with your PhD.”  That’s right “just teach,” as if shaping the minds of America’s youth was some kind of piddly, useless job, as if all the work, care, and mental, physical, and spiritual labor it takes to reach teenagers is not all that meaningful or difficult to do.” I know, it’s offensive to me, too!

A hilarious post for academics who want to become small business owners: “Before you embark, consider this checklist of qualities that characterize many a successful business owner: optimism, organizational skills, a tolerance of risk and uncertainty, a willingness to advocate for oneself and one’s talents, an insane work ethic, and an ability to envision the future and get other people excited about that vision.” I think this post is meant to be sarcastic because there is no way anybody with a functional brain could find these characteristics in a regular academic.

An interesting plan to cut down time spent on grading final essays. The plan wouldn’t work for me because my grades on these essays are very low and students don’t accept them unless I can point out the 127 mistakes that justify a grade of 15%. But it’s a very good plan nonetheless.

It’s incredible how much garbage gets published under the guise of research: “We often attribute the narcissistic tendencies of others to parenting practices or early social experiences. But new research reveals that economic conditions in the formative years of early adulthood may also play a role. The research shows that people who entered their adulthood during hard economic times are less narcissistic later in life than those who came of age during more prosperous times.” This is simply painful for me to read for a variety of deeply psychoanalytic reasons.

The federal government will have spent roughly $800 million on its Healthy Marriage Initiative by the end of the federal fiscal year, according to the federal Administration for Children and Families. The money, drawn from the welfare budget, has funded a range of programs to help couples have better relationships.” Surely, this can’t be true, right? Just some silly talking point. But it does sound quite scary.

Anarchist crackpottery. Hilarious.

Very funny things students write on their finals.

Brooks and Douthat love wagging their finger at what they consider the loss of traditional values, even though they support the biggest force for the destruction of tradition that the world has ever known: capitalism.  In a lot of ways, I think this reflects a fundamental contradiction at the heart of modern conservatism, one that should not be allowed to continue unnoticed.” Yes. And this is precisely why I like capitalism.

Another inane attempt to destroy the (ridiculous and noxious) concept of privilege. In this blogger’s world, men and women are small kids who are given candy by a parental authority. These pieces of candy are privilege. The blogger in question is so dumb that it doesn’t even occur to him  to wonder who it is that he sees as this overarching paternal authority that rules over perennially childish men and women. The funny thing is that the blogger in question just invented patriarchy and didn’t even recognize it.

The worst thing about living in Ukraine are the butt-ugly apartment buildings which is where the absolute majority of Ukrainians live. See how one brilliant young woman in Kiev solved the problem. The post is in Ukrainian but the most important thing about it are the photos. They are sensational!

11 thoughts on “Thursday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion”

  1. “Net neutrality doesn’t initially sound like a vital feminist and social justice issue, particularly since it’s typically been framed through boring white dude tech speak as a fairly abstract idea instead of something real and concrete that directly impacts online organizing. Even the biggest nerds’ eyes glaze over during discussions of how fast data moves through teh series of tubes.”
    In other words net neutrality didn’t really matter until its impact on feminism was noticed. Now that it has its ultra important. And its pretty insulting that the writer tries to sum up previous discussion of it as “boring white dude tech speak” that was somehow not real and concrete before.

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  2. I admit that I do not understand how much practical difference the end of net neutrality would mean. Would it mean, for example, that an email I send might take three or four years to be delivered? Three or four months? Three or four hours? Three or four minutes? Nothing meaningful has ever been revealed by anyone, as far as I have seen. Is it because no one really knows?

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    1. Some websites will load much faster than others. Given the increasingly short attention spans of most, the political movements that can’t bribe the companies to load their websites as fast as their competitors will lose their voice. Today, most of the actually effective political activism and organizing happens online. The end of net neutrality will severely limit the chances of anybody but the ultra rich to organize politically online.

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  3. “Falling in love fast is a sign of great psycho-sexual health.”

    You believe in love at first sight? I’m much more skeptical about it 🙂
    My first impressions on someone haven’t always been spot-on.

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    1. Ahem, I didn’t actually reblog it, I pressed a wrong button on my phone. 🙂 Damn smartphones. But while I am writing a comment anyway, I want to say I really appreciate your link collections, which make me read articles I would never have found otherwise and which are always thought-provoking or entertaining.

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  4. No way Germany or any other EU country is fighting a war against Russia any time soon. The interdepence between the EU and Russia is just way too large. We need their gas, they need our goods. Neither could afford a war financially and I really hope Putin or at least the oligarchs that pump money up his behind realize this.

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    1. Tim: you are absolutely right. This is something that isn’t likely to happen, and the Baltics should just forget these silly fantasies. If Putin chooses to take them, he will leave the US and the EU with a convenient out and everybody will be happy.

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      1. Do you think that Putin would take the Baltics? I have no doubt about that both the EU and the US don’t consider the baltic states worth a war, but I would have thought that Putin would neither want to risk a conflict. I mean, resistance to such an attempt by the US and the EU could severly damage Russia financially. Or has Putins Großmacht-thinking exagerated so far?

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        1. The economic sanction proved to be as hurtful as mosquito bites, so even those who used to fear them are now just laughing. The sanctions are designed so that they don’t hurt anybody in the US and EU and that makes them lack all potency.

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