- MacLean's argues that, in Canada and arguably the West generally, it is much too soon to rehabilitate the swastika.
- Global News reports on a proposal to rename Nova Scotia's Cornwallis River.
- This effort to engage in a minimalist, non-misleading restoration of a Spanish castle is controversial.
- The argument that human history goes back millions of years, and encompass a huger area than thought, is compelling.
- At Anthrodendum, P. Kerim Friedman talks about the technologies he uses to help him navigate Chinese-speaking Taiwan.
- Dead Things notes new dating showing the Neanderthals of Vindija cave, in Croatia, were much older than thought.
- Far Outliers takes a brief look at the history of Temasek, the Malay polity that once thrived in Singapore.
- Hornet Stories shares photos from New York City's Afropunk festival.
- Imageo shows the scale of the devastating wildfires in the western United States, with satellite photos.
- Language Hat looks at the sort of mistakes characteristic of medieval manuscripts written in Latin and Greek.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at Trump's revocation of DACA and the harm that will face the Dreamers. I am so sorry.
- Maximos62 looks at a new book examining how biologists, including Darwin and Wallace, came to draw a borer between Asia and Australia.
- Peter Rukavina blogs about his visit to Wheatley River's Island Honey Wine Company. (Mead, it seems.)
- Strange Company takes a look at the life of violent war-mongering British eccentric Alfred Wintle.
- Window on Eurasia notes the very poor state of sex education in Russia's education system.
- Charley Ross reflects on the story of Carla Vicentini, a Brazilian apparently abducted from New Jersey a decade ago.
- The Everyday Sociology Blog reflects on the concept of anomie.
- Far Outliers looks at the southwest Pacific campaigns of 1942, and reflects on Australian-American tensions in New Guinea in the Second World War.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money reflects briefly on the disaster in Houston.
- The Map Room Blog links to two interesting longform takes on maps in fantasy.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer considers the extent to which urban policy has contributed to Houston's issues.
- Roads and Kingdoms tells the story of a Shabbat celebration in Zimbabwe, and of the country's Jewish community.
- Strange Company tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of Lieutenant Paul Byron Whipkey. What was done to him?
- Unicorn Booty reports on how the Supreme Court of India has found people have a legal right to their orientation.
- Window on Eurasia reports on the growing number of Russian citizens with Chinese connections.
- Arnold Zwicky talks about Tom Bianchi's vintage Fire Island photos.
- At Wired, Matt Simon explores the remarkably wrong-headed theory of the 19th century US that "rain follows the plough."
- These National Geographic photos of the unexplored lakes in Angola that feed the Okavango are remarkable.
- Rachel Brown examines billy burr, the Colorado hermit whose collection of decades of climate data is invaluable.
- Universe Today notes a new study confirming the existence of Tau Ceti e and f, potentially habitable rocky exoplanets just 12 light years away.
- National Geographic reports on how, unchecked, global warming may wreck the coffee industry of Uganda.
- Aeon notes the nervous system of the ctenophore, product of a separate evolutionary process from our own.
- Phys.org describes a recent study suggesting Easter Island was not wrecked by ecocide. (The Rapanui were devastated by others, I would add.)
- Even with an active magnetic field, an Earth-like atmosphere of Proxima Centauri b might be eroded away by flares. Universe Today reports on the climate model making this prediction.
- Does bizarre Przybylski’s star, HD 101065, contain exotic superheavy elements in its atmosphere? New Scientist wonders.
- Centauri Dreams notes the exobiological potential of Titamn after the detection of acrylonitrile. Cryogenic life?
- This guest essay at Lawyers, Guns and Money on the existential problems of Brazil, with politics depending on people not institutions, is a must-read.
- The LRB Blog considers, in the context of Brexit, what exactly might count for some as a marker of dictatorship.
- Did the 15th century construction of the Grand Canal in China lead the Ming away from oceanic travel? Marginal Revolution speculates.
- The NYR Daily considers
- Out There explores the reasons why the most massive planets all have the same size.
- The Planetary Society Blog notes the 5th anniversary of the arrival of Curiosity on Mars.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that, with regards to Venezuela, the United States has no good options.
- Roads and Kingdoms considers the febrile political mood of Kenya.
- Window on Eurasia argues that Putin is making the mistake of seeing the United States through the prism of Russia.
- Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes a proposal for British mayors to have representation at Brexit talks makes no sense.
- Charley Ross reports on an unexpected personal involvement in the disappearance of Kori Gossett. Did an informant know?
- Citizen Science Salon reports, in the time of #sharkweek, on the sevengill sharks.
- The Dragon's Tales links to an article on the Chinese base in Sudan.
- Inkfish has a fascinating article describing how New Zealand's giant black swans went extinct, and were replaced.
- Language Hat notes two obscure words of Senegalese French, "laptot" and "signare". What do they mean? Go see.
- Language Log argues that the influx of English loanwords in Chinese is remarkable. Does it signal future changes in language?
- Lawyers, Guns Money notes how Los Angeles and southern California were, during the American Civil War, a stronghold of secessionist sentiment, and runs down some of the problems of Mexico, including the militarization of crime.
- Marginal Revolution reports on what books by which authors tend to get stolen from British bookstores.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer suggests that Donald Trump is not likely to be able to substantially reshape NAFTA.
- Roads and Kingdoms reports from the recent protests in Poland against changes to the Supreme Court.
- Understanding Society takes a look at the structure of the cities of medieval Europe, which apparently were dynamic and flexible.
- Unicorn Booty shares some classic gay board games.
- Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is going to try to wage a repeat of the Winter War on Ukraine.
- Crooked Timber's John Quiggin considers imaginable ways to get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm by 2100.
- Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog considers the tenuous nature of the upper-middle class in America. How is downwards mobility to be avoided, even here?
- Imageo shows the growth of a sunspot larger than the Earth.
- Language Hat shares the story of how Manchu script came to be.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the working poor need protection from arbitrary and always-changing work schedules.
- The LRB Blog notes the geopolitical scramble at the Horn of Africa, starting with bases in Djibouti.
- The NYR Daily engages with an intriguing exhibition about the relationship between Henry James and paintings, and painting.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw engages with the classic 1937 Australian film, Lovers and Luggers.
- Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money notes that one benefit of the trend towards greater informality in fashion is that time has been freed up, especially for women.
- Peter Rukavina writes about his new Instagram account, hosting his various sketches.
- Unicorn Booty notes the continuing problems with Germany's adoption laws for same-sex couples.
- The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how the Polish president saved the independence of Poland's courts with his veto.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is trying to mobilize the ethnic Russians of Lithuania, finally.
- Anthrodendum takes a look at how surfing has been commodified.
- Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the stellar occultation that has revealed information about MU69, the next New Horizons target.
- Crooked Timber's Corey Robin takes issue with Mélenchon's take on anti-Semitism and the French role in the Holocaust.
- D-Brief notes that we really are not good at detecting faked photos.
- Dangerous Minds shares some vintage photos of strippers from the 1960s.
- Michael Sacasas of The Frailest Things looks, again, at the technologically enchanted world.
- Language Log takes issue with the dismissive treatment of "... in a woodpile." The expression is poison.
- The LRB Blog looks at the dual position of the camel among the Sahrawi, as wild and tame at once.
- Neuroskeptic looks at the problems of neuroscience, statistically.
- The NYR Daily considers the hacking of the American vote. Who did it? Who gained?
- Science Sushi notes that climate change threats African wild dogs' survival.
- Window on Eurasia notes an Armenian argument that Russia lacks the soft power that the Soviet Union once enjoyed.
- Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith updates his readers about the progress of his various writing projects.
- The Big Picture shares photos from the Battle of Mosul waged against ISIS.
- Centauri Dreams notes the discovery of rogue binary planet 2MASS J11193254–1137466, two super-Jupiters by themselves.
- Dangerous Minds notes the raw photography of early 20th century New York City's Weegee.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money is rightly unimpressed by the reflexive Russophilia of The Nation. Imperialism is still imperialism ...
- Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen strongly recommends Dali, in the Chinese province of Yunnan, for tourists.
- The NYR Daily features Masha Gessen, looking at the truth underneath the lies of Trump.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer makes a case that Macron's use of "civilizational" to describe Africa's issues might be the subject of over-quick outrage.
- Peter Rukavina describes his two weeks with a Nokia N95, without a modern smartphone. There was good and bad to this.
- Speed River Journal's Van Waffle explains, with photos, what hoverflies are and why they are so important.
- Understanding Society considers a fraught question: what paths to modernization were open for China in the 1930s, before the People's Republic?
- Window on Eurasia suggests that, in 30 years, Moscow will be a megacity with a large population of (substantially immigrant) Muslim origin.
- The anthropology group blog Savage Minds now has a new name, Anthrodendum.
- Anthropology.net reports on the first major study of ancient African human DNA. New history is revealed.
- Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reports on how gravitational lensing led to the identification of a single star nine billion light-years away. (This is a record.)
- Centauri Dreams reports the possible detection of a debris disk around pulsar Geminga, augury of future planets perhaps?
- Dangerous Minds reports on Seoul's Haesindang Park, a park literally full of penises--phallic symbols, at least.
- The Dragon's Gaze notes one analysis arguing for the plausibility of unmanned probes using imaginable technology reaching the ten nearest stars in a century.
- Imageo shares photos from space of the southern California wildfires.
- Language Hat shares some stirring poetry in Scots.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the scale of child labour in North Carolina's farm sector.
- Marginal Revolution thinks that American observers of Putin think, far too much, that he actually has a plan. The degree of chaos in Russia's affairs is apparently being underestimated.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the unsettling rural Americana of photographer Gregory Crewdson.
- Window on Eurasia notes Zhirinovsky's plan for a sweeping Russian annexation of Ukraine, leaving only the northwest independent.
- Craig S. Smith notes the profound cynicism of Kellie Leitch in using one Syrian refugee's abuse of his wife to criticize the entire program.
- CBC's Carolyn Dunn notes that the story of the Trinh family, boat people from Vietnam who came to Canada, will be made into a Heritage Minute.
- James Jeffrey describes for the Inter Press Service how refugees from Eritrea generally receive warm welcome in rival Ethiopia.
- Crooked Timber responds to The Intercept's release of data regarding Russian interference with American elections.
- Dangerous Minds reports on how Melanie Gaydos overcame a rare genetic disorder to become a model.
- Dead Things seems unduly happy that it does see as if Tyrannosaurus rex had feathers. (I like the idea.)
- The Dragon's Gaze reports on our ability to detect the effects of a planet-shattering Nicoll-Dyson beam.
- The Frailest Thing considers being a parent in the digital age.
- Language Hat notes the African writing systems of nsibidi and bamum.
- Marginal Revolution notes that Trump-supporting states are moving to green energy quite quickly.
- Window on Eurasia notes how Russian guarantees of traditional rights to the peoples of the Russian North do not take their current identities into account.
- Beyond the Beyond notes an image of a wooden model of Babbage's difference engine.
- James Bow talks about the soundtrack he has made for his new book.
- Centauri Dreams considers ways astronomers can detect photosynthesis on exoplanets and shares images of Fomalhaut's debris disk.
- Crooked Timber looks at fidget spinners in the context of discrimination against people with disabilities.
- D-Brief notes that Boyajian's Star began dimming over the weekend.
- Far Outliers reports on a 1917 trip by zeppelin to German East Africa.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that there is good reason to be concerned about health issues for older presidential candidates.
- The NYRB Daily reports on Hungary's official war against Central European University.
- The Russian Demographics Blog notes the origins of modern immigration to Russia in internal Soviet migration.
- Savage Minds shares an ethnographer's account of what it is like to look to see her people (the Sherpas of Nepal) described.
- Strange Maps shares a map speculating as to what the world will look like when it is 4 degrees warmer.
- The Volokh Conspiracy argues that the US Congress does not have authority over immigration.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Russia's population will be concentrated around Moscow, compares Chechnya's position vis-à-vis Russia to Puerto Rico's versus the United States, and looks at new Ukrainian legislation against Russian churches and Russian social networks.
- Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes how Evelyn Waugh's writings on the Horn of Africa anticipate the "Friedman unit", the "a measurement of time defined as how long it will take until things are OK in Iraq".
- The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.
- blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.
- Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
- Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs' challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.
- The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country's history of emigration.
- The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn's smaller moons.
- The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus' religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.
- Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin's famous quote about what parents do to their children.
- blogTO looks at eleven recent Toronto-themed books, from fiction to children's literature.
- Centauri Dreams considers the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
- Far Outliers reports on how German East Africa substituted for foreign imports during the blockade of the First World War.
- Marginal Revolution suggests that the fall of Rome may have been due to the failure to reconquer North Africa.
- The NYRB Daily looks at the exuberant art of Jazz Age Florence Stettheimer.
- The Planetary Society Blog shares a stunning portrait of Jupiter from the New Horizons probe.
- Window on Eurasia considers the idea of containment in the post-Cold War world.
- Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the British election.
- Anthropology.net reports on new evidence that Homo naledi may have used tools, buried their dead, and lived alongside Homo sapiens.
- Centauri Dreams remembers an abortive solar sail mission to Halley's Comet.
- Dangerous Minds shares photos of the "Apache" dancers of France.
- Cody Delistraty writes about Swedish futurist Anders Sandberg and his efforts to plan for humanity's future.
- At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer talks about her day as a sociologist.
- Joe. My. God. notes the good news that normal young HIV patients can now expect near-normal life expectancies.
- Language Hat looks at a recent surge of interest in Italian dialects.
- Language Log looks at the phenomenon of East Asians taking English-language names.
- The LRB Blog considers the dynamics of the United Kingdom's own UDI.
- Marginal Revolution looks at the existential issues of a growing Kinshasa still disconnected from the wider world.
- Steve Munro notes that Metrolinx will now buy vehicles from France's Alstom.
- The New APPS Blog uses Foucault to look at the "thanatopolitics" of the Republicans.
- The NYRB Daily looks at Trump's constitutional crisis.
- Out There considers the issues surrounding the detection of an alien civilization less advanced than ours.
- The Planetary Society Blog looks at the United States' planetary science exploration budget.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at Argentina's underrated reputation as a destination for foreign investment.
- Progressive Download shares some thinking about sexual orientation in the context of evolution.
- Peter Rukavina looks at the success of wind energy generation on the Island.
- Understanding Society takes a look at the dynamics of Rome.
- Window on Eurasia shares a lunatic Russian scheme for a partition of eastern Europe between Russia and Germany.
James Jeffrey reports for the Inter Press Service about how Somaliland, particularly its capital of Berbera, is trying to look forward to a bright future independent of a Somalia Somalilanders wish to separate from.
Crossing African borders by land can be an intimidating process (it’s proving an increasingly intimidating process nowadays in Europe and the US also, even in airports). But crossing from Ethiopia to Somaliland at the ramshackle border town of Togo-Wuchale is a surreally pleasant experience.
Immigration officials on the Somaliland side leave aside the tough cross-examination routine, greeting you with big smiles and friendly chit chat as they whack an entry stamp on the Somaliland visa in your passport.
They’re always happy to see a foreigner’s visit providing recognition of their country that technically still doesn’t exist in the eyes of the rest of the political world, despite having proclaimed its independence from Somalia in 1991, following a civil war that killed about 50,000 in the region.
A British protectorate from 1886 until 1960 and unifying with what was then Italian Somaliland to create modern Somalia, Somaliland had got used to going on its own since that 1991 declaration, and today exhibits many of the trappings of a functioning state: its own currency, a functioning bureaucracy, trained police and military, law and order on the streets. Furthermore, since 2003 Somaliland has held a series of democratic elections resulting in orderly transfers of power.
Somaliland’s resolve is most clearly demonstrated in the capital, Hargeisa, formerly war-torn rubble in 1991 at the end of the civil war, its population living in refugee camps in neighbouring Ethiopia. An event that lives on in infamy saw the jets of military dictator Mohammed Siad Barre’s regime take off from the airport and circle back to bomb the city.
But visitors to today’s sun-blasted city of 800,000 people encounter a mishmash of impassioned traditional local markets cheek by jowl with diaspora-funded modern glass-fronted office blocks and malls, Wi-Fi enabled cafes and air-conditioned gyms, all suffused with typical Somali energy and dynamism.
NOW Toronto's David Silverberg takes a look at the course in Ge'ez, a liturgical language of Ethiopia, newly offered by the University of Toronto thanks to funding by Ethiopian-Canadian rapper The Weeknd.
How does someone teach a language when we have no idea what it might actually sound like?
That's one of the questions for U of T's Robert Holmsted, who's teaching the university's course on the liturgical Ethiopian language Ge'ez.
In its first semester at U of T, his class has five undergraduates and five graduate students enrolled, and several more students auditing the class. They all realize that deciphering ancient languages can help us learn about a country's ancient past.
Manuscripts in the language, which hasn't been spoken in 1,000 years, date from as far back as the sixth century BCE. In fact, contemporary scholars of such ancient languages may not be able to ascertain the true sound of the language at all.
Holmstedt agrees that no one can truly know how centuries-old languages were pronounced, but we can get some clues from other Semitic tongues.
"Without recordings, we have to do our best to reconstruct the sound from Semitic languages," he says. "We make an approximation and can never know for sure."
The National Post carried Joseph Wilson's Associated Press article reporting on a failed effort by well over a thousand Africans to storm the fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.
More than 50 Moroccan and Spanish border guards were injured repelling around 1,100 African migrants who attempted to storm a border fence and enter Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta, Spanish authorities said Sunday.
A regional government spokesman told The Associated Press that 50 Moroccan and five Spanish border guards were injured early on Sunday when the large group of migrants tried to enter Spain.
The spokesman said two migrants managed to reach Spanish soil. Both were injured in scaling the six-metere-high border fence and were taken to a hospital by Spanish police. He spoke anonymously in line with government policy.
A further 100 migrants climbed the fence, but Spanish agents sent them directly back to Morocco.
[. . .]
Hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants living illegally in Morocco try to enter Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s other North African enclave, each year in hope of getting to Europe.
Most migrants who try to cross are intercepted on the spot and returned to Morocco. Those that make it over the fences are eventually repatriated or let go.