- 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.
- blogTO notes that TTC tunnels will get WiFi in 2018.
- Border Thinking's Laura Augustín shares some of Edvard Munch's brothel paintings.
- Centauri Dreams looks at the latest science on fast radio bursts.
- Dangerous Minds shares some of the sexy covers of Yugoslavian computer magazine Računari.
- Dead Things looks at the latest research into dinosaur eggs.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting that a high surface magnetic field in a red giant star indicates a recent swallowing of a planet.
- Language Log shares an ad for a portable smog mask from China.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with the idea of NAFTA being of general benefit to Mexico.
- Torontoist looks at the history of Toronto General Hospital.
- Window on Eurasia is skeptical about an American proposal for Ukraine, and suggests Ossetian reunification within Russia is the next annexation likely to be made by Russia.
- 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.
- Dead Things looks at the health issues of a hadrosaur.
- The Dragon's Gaze notes close binary systems may not support planets very well.
- Joe. My. God. notes Trump's reaction to Obama's statement that he was unfit.
- The Map Room Blog notes Russia's issues with Google over the non-recognition of Crimea's annexation.
- Marginal Revolution notes that driverless taxis are coming to Singapore.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer disproves arguments claiming that Pennsylvania is uniquely suited for Trump.
- Peter Rukavina shares his schedule for the Island Fringe.
- Spacing Toronto notes the problem of distracted cycling.
- Window on Eurasia looks at language death in the North Caucasus.
- Bad Astronomy reports on the discovery of two hot Jupiters and what this means.
- Centauri Dreams looks at hot Jupiter K2-33b.
- D-Brief notes that pollution has reached even the bottom of the Mariana trench.
- Dangerous Minds notes a 1971 BBC documentary that was actually respectful towards the young.
- The Dragon's Gaze looks at tidal locking for gas giants.
- The Dragon's Tales links to a report suggesting mammals developed night vision in order to fend off dinosaurs.
- Language Log examines how Brexit is pronounced.
- Marginal Revolution notes that artworks were a good investment in occupied France, and observes that marijuana legalization has not increased marijuana usage in Colorado.
- pollotenchegg maps the decline of the Basque language in Spain.
- The Russian Demographics Blog notes changing patterns in news acquisition among the young and the old.
- Savage Minds takes an anthropological look at the Ramadan fast, the post being written by two Muslims.
- Torontoist notes that an artist has painted the names of the Orlando victims on the streets of Church and Wellesley.
- Window on Eurasia looks at North Caucasian perceptions of the Russian state.
- Bloomberg looks at the restarting of northern Alberta oil, looks at the deterioration in Sino-Taiwanese relations, reports on how Norway is using oil money to buffer its economic shocks, and suggests low ECB rates might contribute to a property boom in Germany.
- Bloomberg View notes the idea of a third party in the US, one on the right to counter Trump, will go nowhere.
- The CBC notes the settlement of a residential school case in Newfoundland and Labrador and predicts a terrible fire season.
- The Globe and Mail' Kate Taylor considers Canadian content rules in the 21st century.
- The Inter Press Service notes that planned Kenyan closures of Somali refugee camps will have terrible results.
- National Geographic looks at the scourge that is Pablo Escobar's herd of hippos in Colombia.
- The National Post notes VIA Rail's existential need for more funding and reports on Jean Chrétien's support of decriminalizing marijuana.
- Open Democracy looks at controversies over Victory Day in Georgia, and notes the general impoverishment of Venezuela.
- Vice looks at new, accurate dinosaur toys, feathers and all.
- Wired explains why Israel alone of America's clients can customize F-35s.
- CBC notes that Manulife is now providing life insurance for HIV-positive people.
- Gizmodo reports from the Pyongyang subway.
- The Guardian notes the sequencing of Ozzy Osbourne's DNA.
- The National Post reports that Québec NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau might well be considering a run for the NDP leadership.
- Newsweek reports on the decision of the Wall Street Journal to run an ad denying the Armenian genocide.
- Finally, there has been much written after the death of Prince. Some highlights: The Atlantic looks at how he was a gay icon, Vox shares 14 of his most important songs, the Toronto Star notes his connection to Toronto, Dangerous Minds shares videos of early performances, The Daily Beast explains Prince's stringent control of his content on the Internet, and In Media Res mourns the man and some of his songs.
- blogTO notes the expansion of condo development further east on the waterfront.
- The Dragon's Tales notes theropod dinosaurs were also good scavengers.
- Language Hat shares translator jokes.
- The LRB Blog reports on the relocation of some refugees on Chios to a camp.
- Marginal Revolution links to a report suggesting that the misallocation of labour during the bubble is responsible for the slow recovery.
- The NYRB Daily suggests the AfD marks the reintroduction of nationalism into German politics.
- pollotenchegg maps demographic change in Ukraine in 2013.
- Torontoist examines pioneering dentist John G.C. Adams.
- Transit Toronto notes Bombardier's delivery of the seventeenth streetcar.
- Whatever's John Scalzi points out, looking to North Carolina, that of course boycotts are supposed to hurt.
- Window on Eurasia speculates that a Russian dissolution would not follow current political frontiers, and examines politics in the Republic of Karelia.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly wonders why people read at all in the 21st century world.
- D-Brief notes how chickens have been modified to have dinosaur-like legs.
- Dangerous Minds shares 19th century photos taken of Native Americans in their traditional and ceremonial wear.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper predicting exoplanets orbiting HD 202628 and HD 207129 based on gaps in the debris disks of those stars.
- The Dragon's Tales notes that the director-general of the ESA asked China to opt to contribute to the International Space Station.
- Joe. My. God. notes that the lesbian subtext of Xena will be made explicit in the remake.
- Language Log looks at odd names, in the Chinese world and in the wider world.
- Marginal Revolution links to a paper speculating that future economic growth will be absorbed entirley by life extension.
- pollotenchegg maps changing birth rates across Ukrainian regions from 1960 on.
- Towleroad quotes lesbian comedian Joy Behar on her incredulity about Caitlyn Jenner's professed politics.
- Crooked Timber's John Holbo wonders about people who are foxes and hedgehogs, following Isaiah Berlin.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to one examination of carbon and oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres and links to another noting how white dwarfs eat their compact asteroid and other debris belts.
- The Dragon's Tales notes that the dinosaurs disappeared in the Pyrenees amidst environmental catastrophe.
- Joe. My. God. notes that Liberty University is liable for helping a woman hide her child away from her lesbian partner's custody.
- Language Hat notes an apparent mistake in prose.
- Language Log examines new frontiers in negative negation.
- Languages of the World notes the role of Dante in establishing an Italian literary language.
- Marginal Revolution wonders what books contain the most wisdom per page.
- The Search notes one librarian's experience with web archiving.
- Torontoist shares photos of the Pan Am Games.
- The Volokh Conspiracy argues that genetic engineering of babies for IQ will occur as soon as the technology becomes possible.
- Window on Eurasia notes that support is growing for an enquiry into the Malaysian Airlines shootdown, notes military reform's stagnation in Russia, and looks at a Crimean Tatar meeting in Turkey.
- The Financial Times' The World notes that Spain has come out weaker of this round of Eurozone negotiations.
Forbes' Bruce Dorminey argues, after paleontologists, that dinosaurs were never particularly likely to evolve into intelligent tool-users akin to human beings. Even if the asteroid never hit, they seem to have been locked on their own, evolutionarily lucrative, path.
Anyone’s who’s ever stared into the eyes of a snake can attest to their cold-blooded instinctual ire. But the gray matter needed to create thinkers like Einstein and Edison requires more than steely instinct. That’s one reason most researchers scoff at the notion that dinosaurs — whether cold-blooded or not — would have ever evolved into a technological spacefaring civilization.
“Physiologically, ‘classic’ [non-avian] dinosaurs, like Brontosaurus, Triceratops or Tyrannosaurus rex are most akin to reptiles like snakes, alligators, and lizards,” Bruce Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, told me. “In modern ‘reptiles’ there is always a very small brain size ratio relative to body size, [which] is why you can’t really ‘train’ a pet snake to do complex tricks.”
Dinosaurs may have been cunning and very efficient in adapting to their environment, but they also had no reason to evolve into Mesozoic philosophers, Peter Ward, a University of Washington paleontologist and most recently the co-author of “A New History of Life,” told me.
Yet, for argument’s sake, even if the dinosaurs had survived the climatic ravages triggered by the comet that struck the Yucatan coast some 66 million years ago, could they have vectored into anything like human intelligence?
“The notion that some subset of dinosaurs would have evolved into human-like creatures is absurd,” Lori Marino, an evolutionary neurobiologist and executive director at the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy in Kanab, Utah, told me. “We [haven’t] any data to suggest that complex technology has survival value along evolutionary timescales.”
- 80 Beats shares the good news that humanity's shift from analog to digital television transmissions is making us invisible to extraterrestrial civilizations.
- blogTO's Derek wonders if Adam Giambrone's video will work in gaining him support. The consensus seems to be that it will help, but he needs to cobble the right policies together.
- Centauri Dreams discusses plans to construct systems for defending Earth against asteroid impact, and the various methods that could be used.
- Will Baird suggests that some charred dinosaur fossils recently found in China might be the legacy of the K-T extinction event.
- At Everyday Sociology, Janis Prince Inniss describes how African-Americans--and presumably other groups in the African diaspora--often divide themselves along lines of shade, the whiter shades being "better," in a refraction of anti-black racism.
- Global Sociology has a graphic showing inequality in the OECD. The United States doesn't do well, but Canada doesn't do that much better.
- At Halfway Down the Danube, Douglas Muir writes about the many ways in which Tanzania seems to be a functioning society, from civil service to civil society.
- Invisible College's Richard wonders how useful the ICJ indictment of Sudan's Bashir actually is.
- Could the Republican Party have become the party of civil rights in the US? Noel Maurer comes up with something that suggests it was at least possible.
- Slap Upside the Head lets us know about a New Hampshire state legislator who says that the state is selling children to same-sex couples, i.e. allowing them to be adopted out.
- Strange Maps links to a map showing the hidden green spaces of San Francisco.
- Towleroad reports on a study suggesting that half of San Francisco-area same-sex couples are openly non-monogamous.
- Zero Geography shows the religious geography of the world via Google searches, among other maps.
Contra the statements of my Grade 7 French teacher who gave me a tarot card reading in Kingston a dozen years later, I've never been interested in dinosaurs very much. Brent Trent's article at Strange Horizons raises an interesting prospect: What if a dinosaur species ascended to sentience before the K-T impact?
The whole thing is a provocative read, not least because Trent concludes that the above scene could well have happened.
The hidden hunters are livid green, with dark stripes along their backs. They are bipedal, standing eight feet tall, and their four-fingered scaly hands grasp cruel spears. Unknown descendants of what future primates will call the Saurornithoides, a species of Troontid, they are the warrior caste of their cave-dwelling tribe. Eggs will be hatching soon, and there will be many hungry mouths to feed. The hunt is essential.
The horned behemoth ahead of them can't comprehend what's about to happen. For millions of years it has understood that predators may spring out of the nearby woods, and when this happens you run away. It doesn't realize that ferocious intelligence has bloomed in the late Cretaceous.
The hunters wait, keeping low in the tall grass. Suddenly a blood-chilling shriek erupts on the far side of the Monoclonius herd. A collaborating group of hunters is enacting the first phase of the plan, as they spring from concealment and charge wildly at the massive animals. Predictably, the surprise startles the herd into a panicked run.
The young Monoclonius runs at the hunters without knowing they're there. Suddenly their spears erupt from the grasses, accompanied by wild gesticulations and shrieking scaly throats. The terrified Monoclonius dashes to the side and straight into the trap.
Just a few strides in and the ground collapses. The animal's weighty bulk impales it on numerous pikes set the day before. As it bleeds to death at the bottom of the pit, the last thing it sees is a ring of snake-like heads crowding the top, hissing with victory.
The whole thing is a provocative read, not least because Trent concludes that the above scene could well have happened.