One of the more tiresome points being made in relation to the revelations from Edward Snowden is that there is nothing really new here. And, of course, it’s true that, if you’ve been paying careful attention to all the news on this topic, disregarding both official assurances and the wilder conspiracy theories, and thinking through the implications, the material leaked by Snowden is more confirmation than revelation. But, sad to say, that’s not the case for most of us. I think I’ve been paying more attention than most, and I still learned a lot from the latest news.

That’s all a preamble for a repost of a piece I wrote in 2004, in relation to an earlier revelation along similar lines, with a link to an even earlier piece from 2001, making the general case that secret intelligence is useless.
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I’ve posted about this before – here and here and here and here. What film is that? The H. G. Wells-scripted/William Cameron Menzies-directed Things To Come (1936), of course. Everyone should have a hobby.


The Criterion Collection just released a new, restored version on Blu-Ray. Oh joy!

Here are some stills – all crisp and clear for the first time! [click to continue…]

Monsters University: the Aftermath

by Kieran Healy on June 23, 2013

[Monsters University](, the prequel to [Monsters, Inc](, opened this weekend. I brought the kids to see it. As a faculty member at what is generally thought of as America’s most [monstrous university](, I was naturally interested in seeing how higher education worked in Monstropolis. What sort of pedagogical techniques are in vogue there? Is the flipped classroom all the rage? What’s the structure of the curriculum? These are natural questions to ask of a children’s movie about imaginary creatures. Do I have to say there will be spoilers? Of course there will be spoilers. (But really, if you are the sort of person who would be genuinely upset by having someone reveal a few plot points in *Monsters University*, I am not sure I have any sympathy for you at all.) As it turned out, while my initial reactions focused on aspects of everyday campus life at MU, my considered reaction is that, as an institution, Monsters University is doomed.

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