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  • Neanderthals, like contemporary humans, had the sort of prolonged childhoods which lend themselves to intelligence. National Geographic reports.

  • The cool chill water of oceans is starting to be used to cool data centres. VICE reports.

  • Brazil is set to embark on a substantial process to restore Amazonian rainforest. VICE reports.

  • The Dawn probe found evidence of subsurface ice on rocky asteroid-belt protoplanet Vesta. Universe Today reports.

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  • Anthrodendum considers what, exactly, anthropology majors can do job-wise with their degrees. Interesting ideas.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the possible origins of cometary organics in deep space.

  • Hornet Stories talks of anti-immigrant Americans with immigrant ancestors who skirted relevant laws themselves, like Donald Trump.

  • Language Hat considers byssus, an exotic ancient textile and a word with a complex history.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at how the potential for disaster in Florida is worsened by poor planning.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the sad intersection of war, xenophobia, and rising rates of polio in Pakistan (and elsewhere).

  • The Map Room Blog notes an interactive map-related play still showing at the Halifax Fringe, Cartography.

  • The NYR Daily notes a high-profile corruption trial of a former government minister in Moscow.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares Paul Schenk's story about how he interned at JPL in 1979 for the Voyager 2 flyby.

  • Roads and Kingdoms looks at the search by a Brazilian man for caves in the south of that country.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy asks some interesting questions about the mechanics of Settlers of Catan.

  • At Whatever, John Scalzi remembers Jerry Pournelle.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia is strongly opposed to any Circassian return to their ancestral homeland.

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  • 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.

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  • blogTO notes that the old HMV store in the Dufferin Mall is now a fidget spinner store. This has gone viral.
  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about her week in Paris.

  • Centauri Dreams notes one paper examining the complex formation of the dense TRAPPIST-1 system.

  • Far Outliers reports from early 20th century Albania, about how tribal and language and ethnic identities overlap, and not.

  • Language Log notes efforts to promote Cantonese in the face of Mandarin.

  • The LRB Blog wonders if May's electoral defeat might lead to the United Kingdom changing its Brexit trajectory.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that cars have more complex computer programming these days than fighter jets.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that the counter-cyclical Brazilian fiscal cap still makes no sense.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is edging towards an acknowledgement of its involvement in the Ukrainian war.

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  • blogTO looks at deserted Mirvish Village.

  • Crooked Timber reenages with the Rachel Carson and DDT myth.

  • The Crux looks at the Mandela Effect, exploring false memories.

  • Dangerous Minds makes the case for the musical genius of Bobbie Gentry.

  • From the Heart of Europe's Nicholas Whyte recounts his visit to Albania's bunker museum.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Brazil's retirement of its only aircraft carrier.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the extent and speed of events in the Trump Administration.

  • Marginal Revolution engages with a book examining France's carving out a "cultural exception" in international trade agreements.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on the passing of rulership of the Australian micronation of Hutt River.

  • Peter Rukavina shares good advice for visiting museums: visit only what you can take in.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian Orthodox Church opposition to a certain kind of Russian civic nationality, and argues Russia is losing even its regional superpower status.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell reports on how local councils in the United Kingdom are speculating on commercial property.

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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly considers the quiet power of the candle.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining horseshoe patterns in protoplanetary disks.

  • The Dragon's Tales looks at the impact of human civilization on the Amazonian rain forest and looks at the negative impact of a 6th century volcanic eruption on the Maya.

  • Language Log notes that "dumpster fire" is the American Dialect Society's word of the year for 2016.

  • Towleroad notes Kiesza's new single.

  • Transit Toronto notes service changes for the TTC.

  • Understanding Society looks at the Black Panther movement.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines the irresistible force of negative campaigning.

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CBC News' Kim Brunhuber tells a heartbreaking story of Haitian migrants stranded on the US-Mexican frontier.

Every day, more Haitians arrive, famished. They've been on the road for three months to get here.

"We crossed Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala to come here," says 26-year-old Joubert Alizaire.

He's among the close to 50,000 Haitians who migrated to Brazil after the 2010 earthquake devastated parts of their country. Most of them went to work on Olympic construction. When the Olympics ended, so did the work. But the U.S. offered them a lifeline of sorts, announcing that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would stop deporting Haitians who were in the country illegally.

That's what prompted many Haitians like Jean-Ludger Sainnoval to begin a tortuous cross-continental journey. He says he walked much of the way, over mountains, through rivers and jungle.

"You never forget a journey like that," Sainnoval says. "We had nothing to eat, no water, nothing to drink. We have friends that left Brazil but didn't make it here. Some because it was too hard. Some because they died."

Close to 5,000 Haitians managed to make it all the way to Tijuana, at the Mexico-U.S. border. But then in September the U.S. reversed the policy and said it would resume "removing" Haitian nationals, claiming that conditions in Haiti had improved. Those who feared persecution back home could apply for asylum.
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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith has a two part review of some of the fiction that he has recently read.

  • blogTO looks at Casa Loma lit up for the holidays.

  • Dangerous Minds notes The London Nobody Knows, a documentary of the grim areas of late Victorian London.

  • Language Hat looks at how 16th century Spanish linguists represented Nahuatl spelling.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the iatrogenic transmission of syphilis via unsterile instruments during the Civil War.

  • The LRB Blog notes the many conflicting contracts signed by the KGB with different television groups at the end of the Cold War.

  • Marginal Revolution notes Rio de Janeiro's attempts to deal with tourism-targeted crime by compensating victims with a tourist-directed tax.

  • Maximos62 looks at the geological reasons for Indonesia's volcanism.

  • Progressive Download looks at the all-woman Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at the backstory behind the creation of the village of Crapaud.

  • Spacing Toronto looks at how signs asking people to go slow in children-inhabited zones.

  • Torontoist looks at where Suicide Squad was filmed in Toronto.

  • The Understanding Society Blog looks at the specific experiences which molded the French tradition of sociology.

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  • blogTO looks at Toronto's old neon signs and its still-visible ghost signs.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly looks at Donald Trump as a bully.

  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage photos from the set of Labyrinth.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes a not-unexpected non-detection of Proxima Centauri b.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the presidential debates through the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu.

  • Joe. My. God. notes Glenn Beck's endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

  • Language Log looks at how foreigners pronounce "ni hao".

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that Donald Trump has been using material from Russian disinformation campaigns directly.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer reports on very odd fiscal legislation in Brazil that seems unlikely to end in controlling spending.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on the marginalized Ainu of Kamchatka and suggests Sufism in central Asia is doomed.

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  • Bloomberg talks about Poland's problems with economic growth, notes that McMansions are poor investments, considers what to do about the Olympics post-Rio, looks at new Japanese tax incentives for working women, looks at a French war museum that put its stock up for sale, examines the power of the New Zealand dairy, looks at the Yasukuni controversies, and notes Huawei's progress in China.

  • Bloomberg View is hopeful for Brazil, argues demographics are dooming Abenomics, suggests ways for the US to pit Russia versus Iran, looks at Chinese fisheries and the survival of the ocean, notes that high American population growth makes the post-2008 economic recovery relatively less notable, looks at Emperor Akihito's opposition to Japanese remilitarization, and argues that Europe's soft response to terrorism is not a weakness.

  • CBC notes that Russian doping whistleblowers fear for their lives, looks at how New Brunswick farmers are adapting to climate change, and looks at how Neanderthals' lack of facility with tools may have doomed them.

  • The Globe and Mail argues Ontario should imitate Michigan instead of Québec, notes the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix, and predicts good things for Tim Horton's in the Philippines.

  • The Guardian notes that Canada's impending deal with the European Union is not any model for the United Kingdom.

  • The Inter Press Service looks at child executions in Iran.

  • MacLean's notes that Great Lakes mayors have joined to challenge a diversion of water from their shared basin.

  • National Geographic looks at the elephant ivory trade, considers the abstract intelligence of birds, considers the Mayan calendar's complexities, and looks at how the young generation treats Pluto's dwarf planet status.

  • The National Post notes that VIA Rail is interested in offering a low-cost bus route along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia.

  • Open Democracy notes that the last Russian prisoner in Guantanamo does not want to go home, and wonders why the West ignores the Rwandan dictatorship.

  • TVO considers how rural communities can attract immigrants.

  • Universe Today suggests sending our digital selves to the stars, looks at how cirrus clouds kept early Mars warm and wet, and notes the discovery of an early-forming direct-collapse black hole.

  • Variance Explained looks at how Donald Trump's tweets clearly show two authors at work.

  • The Washignton Post considers what happens when a gay bar becomes a bar with more general appeal.

  • Wired notes that the World Wide Web still is far from achieving its founders' dreams, looks at how news apps are dying off, and reports on the Univision purchase of Gawker.

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Bruno Carvalho's Open Democracy essay looks at the impact of the Olympics on Brazilian urbanism as manifested in Rio de Janeiro.

In the mid-1990s, amid a crisis of rampant violence in Rio de Janeiro, an influential Brazilian journalist, Zuenir Ventura, published a book with the title Cidade Partida. The expression could be translated as broken or split city, as if Rio had an integrity that contemporary violence shattered. A more apt translation is an increasingly prevalent phrase used to describe urban conditions in the United States: divided city. Given the striking contrasts between Rio de Janeiro’s upper-class buildings and hillside favelas, it is not surprising that the epithet found broad resonance.

Cidade Partida challenged what was until then Rio’s most recurrent moniker, Cidade Maravilhosa—marvelous or wonderful city. Those familiar with its landscape will find explanations to be superfluous. In the 1930s, when a song about Rio titled “Marvelous City” hit the airwaves, in the 1960s when it became the city’s official anthem, and today, when crowds sing it in unison during carnival, images of Rio’s cultural and natural exuberance come to mind. But the origins of the expression betray another history. “Marvelous City” became popularized in the context of an ambitious, Paris-inspired set of urban reforms early in the twentieth century.

The phrase designated a city becoming modern, whiter, and at long last, as we read often in the press from the period, “civilized.” In this scenario, a more divided city was in fact the goal, with the poor—disproportionately non-white—pushed to the outskirts or incipient favelas, as far as possible from central areas and from view. Led by then-mayor Francisco Pereira Passos, the reforms resulted in the eviction of one-tenth of the city center’s residents. To be sure, part of the goal of the reforms was to remedy a reputation Rio had earned as a “city of death” or “foreigner’s grave,” due to the prevalence of diseases like yellow fever. The Zika virus, in this regard, produces an unmistakable echo of the past. But the notion of the marvelous city of the belle époque as the privilege of a few remained clear to many. The manifesto of a labor group in 1929 mocks the use of the epithet by “literary fops,” drawing attention instead to the dire living conditions of the working classes.

Rio once had the largest urban slave population in the Americas, and the presence of their descendants in major public spaces presented an embarrassment to governing elites. In the belle époque, World’s Fairs and Expos proliferated, and major cities served as arenas where empires and nation states could compete. Not coincidentally, the modern Olympics began in 1896 in Athens, amid this era of proliferating precursors to today’s mega-events. Rio de Janeiro at the start of the twentieth century was the third major port of the Americas, behind New York and Buenos Aires, and the capital of a newfound republic, proclaimed in 1889. The city’s compact colonial fabric, marked by varied and jumbled street life, did not befit national ambitions. The Pereira Passos interventions sought to give an urban form to the positivist ideals of “order and progress,” enshrined in the Brazilian flag. In practice, Rio de Janeiro was to be considered marvelous when undesirables were not around. A divided city was, in fact, a desired outcome of the reforms.

But as students of the past quickly learn, in the history of city planning, the improbable happens often, and the unintended happens all the time. Some spaces envisioned as exclusivist playgrounds for the elites have since become appropriated as sites of democratic congregation and social mixture. In belle époque Rio there were attempts to prohibit those not dressed “decently” from circulating in central areas. Now, these same spaces are periodically occupied by carnival revelers, political protesters or social movements. The dream of a city with central spaces reserved to the rich only partially succeeded. The aspiration of a tropical civilization in the Parisian mold waned, as more relaxed dress codes attest. In later decades, led by Rio, Brazil instead projected a far more original—even if evidently distorted—image as “the country of carnival,” or of “racial democracy.”

In the 1990s, Ventura wrote his Divided City in the aftermath of a massacre, when off-duty policemen killed twenty one people in one of Rio’s poorer peripheral neighborhoods. He spent months in this community to write a book that was bold for exposing Rio’s divisions, or the inner workings of drug traffickers and corrupt police forces, but also for an insistence on valuing the city’s imperiled traditions of circulation and cultural exchanges. Since then, far-reaching infrastructure investments have favored favelas, and in Brazil, major redistributionist policies were implemented without stirring the sort of ethnic animus that we find elsewhere (though there are many discouraging signs). After emerging from a long military dictatorship (1964–85), Brazil appeared to be in an ascendant trajectory, even as its former capital and most visible city lagged behind.
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Guilherme Leite Gonçalves and Sérgio Costa's Open Democracy essay looks at the changing functions of the port of Rio de Janeiro. In some of its broad outlines, the story that it tells is familiar.

The port district of Rio de Janeiro is one of the areas most affected by urban interventions connected to the August 2016 Olympics. Until very recently, business groups, politicians, investors and the mainstream media saw the port district as a devalued and degraded space, isolated from the rest of the city. In fact, the entire region had low market value and was of little interest for real estate investments, commercial transactions and services. Even the port itself was of little significance when compared to other Brazilian ports. Therefore, the region was located “outside” the process of capitalist accumulation.

This situation changed completely in November 2009. About a month after Rio de Janeiro was chosen to host the Olympics, the Porto Maravilha project became public. This project catalyzed actions and economic, political and cultural expectations, restructuring the entire port district in order to create value.

Contrary to appearances, this phenomenon is not new. It is a new venue for a history that repeats itself. In its various stages, the port of Rio de Janeiro was marked by different landmarks of capitalist dynamic that both repelled and attracted spaces, processes and market relations, according to the needs of accumulation. This is a history marked by actors, forces and social pressures alternating in a continuous movement of commodification, decommodification and re-commodification – of people, goods and activities.

Since Rosa Luxemburg, in fact, Marxist political economists have realized that the accumulation of capital is not limited to a purely economic process between capitalists and workers in the production of surplus value. Seeing as only a relative portion of the surplus value can be appropriated in this internal transit, the system must make use of a non-capitalist “outside” to completely appropriate it.

Accordingly, the system makes use of explicit non-economic violence, including colonial or imperial policies, dispossessions, bloody legislation etc. There is, in other words, a repeated primitive accumulation throughout the history of capitalism. This repetition is required by capitalist expansion itself, which must commodify not yet commodified spaces in order to develop.

The various historical stages of this phenomenon are evident in the port district of Rio de Janeiro, as this space is incorporated in and uncoupled from a process that transforms socially constructed spaces into merchandise.

From its creation until the nineteenth century, the port took part in the classical patterns of primitive accumulation by integrating Brazil into world capitalism through the outflow of sugar, then gold and coffee, in addition to the inflow of manufactured goods and a contingent of about two million Africans that were kidnapped, enslaved and traded. This port received the highest number of enslaved Africans in the entire American continent. The right to provide such service was restricted to a private contractor: the Governor’s brother.

However, since its beginnings, the physical space of the port was itself integrated into various forms of accumulation. The first major traffic increase took place in the early seventeenth century and was connected to the outflow of sugar. In 1618, this traffic led Governor Rui Vaz Pinto to publish a legal decree establishing the use of black slaves to load and unload ships. It was clearly a mechanism meant to take over the space to create value, as only slaveholders were able to load goods in the port. This decree also represented the beginning of regular stevedoring services and established their legal system, namely the privilege or monopoly, since the right to provide such service was restricted to a private contractor: the Governor’s brother.
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The Globe and Mail carries Alonso Soto and Leonardo Goy's Reuters article describing the interest of China in reviving plans for a high-speed rail route connecting Sao Paulo with Rio de Janeiro. The idea appeals to me, but is it actually viable, economically and politically?

Chinese firms are pushing to revive an $11-billion high-speed-train project to link Brazil’s two largest cities, shelved after the South American nation descended into recession and political turmoil, three sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.

China’s ambassador to Brasilia told interim President Michel Temer on Wednesday that Chinese train builders and operators want to participate in Brazil’s biggest ever infrastructure project, delayed repeatedly because of doubts about its viability and concession models, the sources said.

Temer was invited to ride the high-speed train connecting Shanghai and Hangzhou next month during a G20 summit when he will discuss the project in bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a Brazilian presidential aide said.

“The Chinese are working hard to revive the project,” said the aide, who asked for anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly. “Brazil is not convinced yet, but is supportive of the idea.”

A spokesman with the Chinese embassy in Brasilia said he did not know the content of the discussions between Temer and ambassador Li Jinzhang. Li did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.
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  • blogTO writes about the impending installation of snooze stations across Toronto.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the astrobiological implications of stromatolites.

  • D-Brief notes that Titan has methane-flooded canyons.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the Kepler-444 system and notes studies of HR 8799.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes an assassination attempt against a Donbas leader, and notes dinosaurs probably had colour vision.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the workplace culture of Amazon.

  • Language Log looks at a mangled translation of South Asian languages into Chinese.

  • The Map Room Blog links to an exhibit on persuasive cartography.

  • The NYRB Daily shares photos of 19th century Rio de Janeiro.

  • Out of Ambit's Diane Duane shares a recipe for gingerbread.

  • Mark Simpson engages with spornosexuality.

  • Towleroad notes the ill-thought article outing gay Olympic atheltes.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the non-recognition of special sharia rules in American courts for Muslims in family law.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's problematic military economy, looks at the Russian immigrant community in China, notes the pro-Baltic patriotism of Russophones, and looks at prospects for rapid population fall in Russia.

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  • Bloomberg notes a raid of Amazon's Japan office by that country's competition agency.

  • Bloomberg View looks at paranoia about Pokémon Go and suggests China is not trying to overturn the world order.

  • CBC reports on the popular music and dance of Brazil's slums, and reports on the diet of ancient humans.

  • The Inter Press Service notes that African farmers could feed the world, but first they need to work on their infrastructure.

  • MacLean's shares the images of 25 Canadian websites of note in the days of the early Internet.

  • Open Democracy calls for reform of British agricultural funding and reports on Venezuela's hard landing.

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Nate Berg's article in The Atlantic about the Rio de Janeiro Metro's Line 4, engaging with issues of poverty and justice in mass transit, is more than a bit relevant for the wider world. (Scarborough subway extension, anyone?)

On July 30th, after nearly 20 years in the works and more than doubling its initial cost estimates, the Line 4 subway officially opened in Rio de Janeiro. The mayor, the governor, and the interim president, were all there to inaugurate the 10-mile subway line, and to claim some of the credit for finally getting it built. Also on hand was a figure arguably more responsible for the new subway line: Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.

When it selected Rio to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games back in 2009, the IOC single handedly catalyzed a suite of city-changing projects like Line 4, as well as all the sports-related construction and development the Olympics require. “The city’s mobility has increased six-fold in as many years,” said Mayor Eduardo Paes during the subway’s inauguration. “It’s a fantastic transformation that only became possible thanks to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Though it was barely completed in time for the opening ceremonies on August 5, the fact that Line 4 opened this year, let alone this decade, is undeniably because of the Olympics. The state government, which funded the $3.1-billion line, argues that the subway will vastly improve transportation options in the city. The state department of transportation said in an emailed statement that Line 4 will “provide locals and visitors a transportation alternative that’s fast, modern, efficient and sustainable.”

But many outside the government worry that Line 4 was built to primarily serve the Olympics and the upscale real estate developments that are planned in the event’s wake. Critics say Line 4 prioritizes access to the main event venues and wealthy neighborhoods, and disregards the transportation needs of the rest of the city. “This is to serve only the higher classes,” says Lucia Capanema Alvares, an urban planning professor at the Federal Fluminense University. “It’s not to serve the people.”

Line 4 runs westward from the iconic Ipanema beach near the center of the city to the wealthy western suburb of Barra da Tijuca, home to the main Olympic Park, the athletes’ village, and venues for many of the Olympic events. Line 4 travels between six stations (plus another that will open sometime in 2017) and connects in Ipanema with Line 1, one of the other two subway lines in the city’s relatively modest rail system, first opened in 1979.
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Prscilla Hwang's CBC News article says worrisome things about Toronto.

The water conditions in Rio de Janeiro don't appear as bad as what's being reported, and the Toronto harbour is sometimes "almost worse," according to a Canadian Olympic sailor who is in the Brazilian city for his first Games.

"Most of the stuff in the media, I haven't actually seen it in person," Lee Parkhill told CBC News on Thursday.

Parkhill, of Oakville, Ont., has been training in the waters off Rio for eight weeks, preparing for the men's single-handed Laser dinghy competition.

Most of the "rubbish" only comes after big rainstorms, Parkhill says, and he has mostly seen empty water bottles floating around. He said the race courses in Rio look "like normal, like Toronto harbour," where he trained for four years as a teen.

"I've sailed a lot in Toronto harbour and after a big rainstorm, all the debris come from the Humber River," he said. "It's almost worse than what I see here."
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  • Bloomberg notes the closure of Poland's frontier with Kaliningrad, looks at how Google is beating out Facebook in helping India get connected to the Internet, notes British arms makers' efforts to diversify beyond Europe and examines the United Kingdom's difficult negotiations to get out of the European Union, looks at the problems of investing in Argentina, looks at the complications of Germany's clean energy policy, observes that the Israeli government gave the schools of ultra-Orthodox Jews the right not to teach math and English, examines the consequences of terrorism on French politics, and examines at length the plight of South Asian migrant workers in the Gulf dependent on their employers.

  • Bloomberg View notes Donald Trump's bromance with Putin's Russia, examines Melania Trump's potential immigrant problems, and is critical of Thailand's new anti-democratic constitution.

  • CBC looks at how some video stores in Canada are hanging on.

  • The Inter Press Service notes that the Olympic Games marks the end of a decade of megaprojects in Brazil.

  • MacLean's approves of the eighth and final book in the Harry Potter series.

  • The National Post reports on a Ukrainian proposal to transform Chernobyl into a solar farm, and examines an abandoned plan to use nuclear weapons to unleash Alberta's oil sands.

  • Open Democracy looks at the relationship between wealth and femicide in India, fears a possible coup in Ukraine, looks at the new relationship between China and Africa, examines the outsized importance of Corbyn to Britain's Labour Party, and looks how Armenia's defeat of Azerbaijan has given its veterans outsized power.

  • Universe Today notes proposals for colonizing Mercury, looks at strong support in Hawaii for a new telescope, and examines the progenitor star of SN 1987A.

  • Wired emphasizes the importance of nuclear weapons and deterrence for Donald Trump, and looks at how many cities around the world have transformed their rivers.

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  • The Big Picture shares photos from Rio in advance of the Olympics.

  • James Bow remembers Mel Hurtig, the recently dead Canadian nationalist.

  • Centauri Dreams considers space-based collection of antimatter.

  • Crooked Timber examines the tyranny of the ideal.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at a charming early 1980s board game, Gay Monopoly.

  • The Dragon's Gaze predicts future transits of Beta Pictoris b.

  • The Dragon's Tales examines dwarf planet candidate 2015 RR245.

  • Far Outliers shares some odd placenames found in the western United States.

  • Language Hat reports on a new English/Yiddish dictionary.

  • Language Log looks at how speakers of Slavic and Turkic communicate with each other across Eurasia.

  • The Map Room Blog reports on an interesting-sounding exhibition on maps here in Toronto.

  • Marginal Revolution considers a link between slow population growth and slow economic growth, and suggests land use policy in Tokyo is ideal for a large city.

  • Steve Munro shares exchanges on GO Transit services in the Weston corridor.

  • North's Justin Petrone shares his progress towards
  • The NYRB Daily looks at how Russia and China in particular make extensive use of doping at the Olympics, and international sports generally.

  • Savage Minds considers how writing can help anthropologists who have witnessed violence heal.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy engages with the bloody legacy of Mao.

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Wired's Sam Lubell shares the news that at least some buildings in the Rio Olympics will end up being repurposed. Here's to hoping this will actually happen!

The Olympic Games are notorious for leaving burdensome buildings in their wake. Much of the swooping Olympic Park in Athens lies rusting and underutilized. Beijing National Stadium—or the Bird’s Nest, that iconic architectural marvel of the 2008 Games—draws tourists, occasional soccer matches, and little else.

Nearly every city that’s hosted an olympiad lives with a white elephant. This never reflects well on the Games, and the International Olympic Committee has in recent years directed organizers and host cities to be cognizant of “legacy mode”—what happens after crowds disperse, athletes leave, and the torch extinguishes. London offered a glimpse of this approach with the 2012 Games, which featured several easily dismantled stadia. Rio goes further still with structures that can be removed, rebuilt, and repurposed. Mayor Eduardo Paes calls it “nomadic architecture.”

Future Arena, the handball venue, will provide the material to build four 500-student primary schools in the city’s Jacarepaguá neighborhood. Workers will disassemble Olympics Aquatics Stadium and use the components to erect two community swimming centers; one in Madureira Park and one in the Campo Grande area. The International Broadcast Centre will become a high school dormitory. And Barra Olympic Park—a 300-acre, triangular peninsula that features nine Olympic venues—will host public parks and private development after the Games.

“It’s based around not leaving white elephants,” said Bill Hanway of AECOM, which created the master plan for the olympic parks in London and Rio. “We’re at a stage in the Olympics where social and financial responsibility are much more important than they used to be.”


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