Annihilation

Why so little attention in conversations about neoliberalism to where this is all happening? What about land and territory? As in, when it came to the VW emissions scandal, what planet exactly did these high-level executives think they were going to move to?

Your point about the role of space and place in neoliberalism is spot on. What is fascinating about the reading I’ve been doing about financial imaginaries, and their slow diffusion into […More] ‘ Annihilation ‘

Don't ask your female students to babysit

If you supervise a graduate student, or a student doing an honours thesis, the offer to do some research assistance for you can be an attractive proposition. If your student is lucky, he or she may actually get to do research in this research assistant job, for which he or she will get almost vanishingly small credit but through which, at least, he or she may actually learn things that are valuable to their development […More] ‘ Don’t ask your female students to babysit for you ‘

Unthinkable

I am participating in a reading group on neoliberalism, or perhaps on “what we talk about when talk about when we talk about neoliberalism.”

Here is Hayek, within two contiguous pages (50-51) of his most-famous work, The Road to Serfdom:

“The intellectual history of the last sixty or eighty years is indeed a perfect illustration of the truth that in social evolution nothing is inevitable but thinking makes it so.“ “Far from being appropriate only […More] ‘ Unthinkable ‘

Hic Sunt Rhodus

The long-lasting word is the dead word, the long-knowing text a text of dead words, ordered. To arrange the words in ways that do our bidding, we snuff out life so they lay just where we leave them. Wherefore: only ordered words may matter. Therefore: orders issued, to mean just what we bide them mean. All unwanted, crawling, shifting, walking words, lest meanings placed so carefully escape the thoughts in which we place them. And […More] ‘ Hic Sunt Rhodus ‘

Triangles

Waverly Station Scaffolding, CC-BY-SA

When my son asks “when will I ever have to know how to calculate the area of a triangle?” what do I say?

You could tell him, for one, that this might be the wrong question to be asking about his math homework, that while there is a good chance he won’t have a job where he has to do this precise calculation very often, that it’s nonetheless probably worth practicing it anyway, that […More] ‘ Triangles ‘

And now a rant from our sponsor

A friend writes with his impression of the Dutch:

Amsterdam is lovely, somehow a less offensive variety of gentrification and urban development, some of it quite stunning as with the incorporation of the old harbour to the north into the city. Weather can be a real bitch, but has been unseasonably warm. Going away for a few days to the Frisian Islands tomorrow, walking across the mudflats, biking across the barren landscape of the […More] ‘ And now a rant from our sponsor ‘

Like it means something

James Gleick’s The Information starts with a simultaneous appearance in 1948, both of the first transistor and the first scientific discussions of ‘the bit’ as a fundamental unit of measurement. Overall, the book tells the story of how those two technologies — the engineering breakthrough contained in that now-ubiquitous miniaturized form of digital storage and the scientific paradigm shift of that now-universal way of measuring just what is being stored — conspired together to transform […More] ‘ Like it means something ‘