- D-Brief notes the first-ever use of Einsteinian gravitational bending to examine the mass of a star.
- Language Log announces the start of an investigation into the evolving rhetoric of Donald Trump. Something is up.
- The LRB Blog reports from Tuareg Agadez in Niger, about rebellions and migrant-smuggling.
- Marginal Revolution wonders what is the rationale for the extreme cut-off imposed on Qatar.
- Maximos62 wonders about the impact of Indonesia's fires on not just wildlife but indigenous peoples.
- Personal Reflections notes the irrelevance of the United States' withdrawal from Paris, at least from an Australian position.
- Savage Minds points to a new anthropology podcast.
- Window on Eurasia
- The Atlantic's Ed Yong notes the discovery of dated Homo sapiens fossils 300k years old in Morocco. (!)
- The Atlantic reports on Twitter-driven science that has highlighted the remarkable visual acuity of the spider.
- The Economist notes that multilingual societies can encounter more difficulties prospering than unilingual ones.
- Torontoist notes a Thunder Bay park devoted to the idea of First Nations reconciliation.
- The Inter Press Service reports on how gardens grown under solar tents in Bolivia can improve nutrition in poor highland villages.
- The Toronto Star's Christopher Hume trolls Rob Ford's supporters over the new, well-designed, Etobicoke Civic Centre.Metro Toronto calculates just how many avocado toasts would go into a mortgage in the GTA.
- MacLean's hosts a collection of twenty photos from gritty Niagara Falls, New York.
- The National Post shows remarkable, heartbreaking photos from the flooded Toronto Islands.
- Edward Keenan argues that the Toronto Islands' flooding should help prompt a local discussion on climate change.
- D-Brief considers if gas giant exoplanet Kelt-9b is actually evaporating.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper that considers where to find signs of prior indigenous civilizations in our solar system. (The Moon, Mars, and outer solar system look good.
- Joe. My. God. reveals the Israeli nuclear option in the 1967 war.
- Language Log shares a clip of a Nova Scotia Gaelic folktale about a man named Donald.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the ongoing deportations of Hispanic undocumented migrants from the United States.
- The LRB Blog notes the brittle rhetoric of May and the Conservatives.
- The NYRB Daily mourns the Trump Administration's plans for American education.
- Savage Minds considers the world now in the context of the reign of the dangerous nonsense of Neil Postman.
- Strange Maps shares a map documenting the spread of chess from India to Ireland in a millennium.
- Window on Eurasia argues that the Russian government needs to do more to protect minority languages.
- Bad Astronomy shares photos of the ripple made by moon Daphnis in the rings of Saturn, as does the Planetary Society Blog.
- The Broadside Blog questions whether readers actually like their work.
- Centauri Dreams notes evidence for the discovery of a Jupiter-mass planet in the protoplanetary disk of TW Hydrae.
- Dangerous Minds links to the 1980s work of Lydia Lunch.
- Far Outliers reports on how the Afghanistan war against the Soviets acted as a university for jihadists from around the world.
- Kieran Healy looks at some failures of Google Scholar.
- Language Hat reports on a fascinating crowdsourced program involving the transcription of manuscripts from Shakespeare's era, and what elements of pop history and language have been discovered.
- The LRB Blog compares Trump's inauguration to those of Ronald Reagan.
- The Map Room Blog links to an exhibition of the maps of Utah.
- Understanding Society reports on a grand sociological research project in Europe that has found out interesting things about the factors contributing to young people's support for the far right.
- Window on Eurasia reports on instability in the binational North Caucasian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, describes the spectre of pan-Mongolism, and looks at the politicization of biker gangs in Russia.
At Open Democracy, Imad Stitou places ongoing anti-government protests in Morocco in their proper context, in the long-standing dissidence and dissatisfaction of the northern region of the Rif.
On the evening of October 28, a garbage truck crushed Moroccan fish-seller Mohsen Fikri to death in al-Hoceima city in Morocco’s Rif as he tried to protect his produce. A month has passed since the incident, but protests are still ongoing in the city. While investigations seem to be at a standstill, protesters in al-Hoceima continued their action against the authorities, end of last week. They demanded the punishment of the culprits in this crime, which they believe is premeditated, instead of offering scapegoats to alleviate the pressure in the streets. The protesters were referring to some employees and garbage collectors whom the authorities arrested on the grounds of being implicated in Fikri’s killing.
The flame of public anger in al-Hoceima city is still burning, although the situation has relatively calmed down in other Moroccan cities. In fact, relations between the Makhzen a.k.a the federal state and al-Hoceima city, or the Moroccan Rif in general, have been shaky for decades.
The protests started out with slogans demanding a transparent and impartial investigation to expose the circumstances of Fikri’s death. But they soon escalated into calls for a comprehensive trial of the political regime as a whole, its politics and its behavior towards a marginalized region that has been deliberately shunned from the state’s general policies. This reaction did not come as a surprise. In fact, by exploring the Rif’s rebellious history against the authorities, one realizes that the crushing of Fikri was an opportunity to evoke this painful past and the feelings of oppression, disdain and discrimination that are deeply-rooted in the consciousness of Rifians since the country’s nominal independence in 1956.
Between 1958 and 1959, an uprising broke out as a natural reaction to the behavior of the new authorities that rose to power as a result of the Aix-Les-Bains negotiations. These authorities disbanded the Moroccan Army of Liberation and killed many of its men, in addition to oppressing, abducting, and torturing their opponents, especially sympathizers with the military leader Mohammed Bin Abd El-Karim El-Khattabi and those espousing his thought. Many Rifians were also forbidden from participating in regulating their region’s affairs or contributing to the rule of their country. They were not integrated in the different governments that were formed during the years 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958.
The uprising was fiercely oppressed by the army, even using aircrafts flown by French pilots. Hundreds were killed and thousands were arrested and wounded. Abd El-Karim estimated the number of detainees in the wake of the Rif uprising at 8420. After that, the region was under a tight economic and security blockade until the January 1984 uprising that erupted as a result of the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in Morocco. The January uprising, which students in several Rifian cities spearheaded, was also violently oppressed by the authorities of King Hassan II who gave a famous speech in the wake of the incidents which claimed the lives of many and wounded others. In his speech, he described Rifians as “scum” and other slurs that are still engraved in their memories. One cannot ignore the sporadic events that Rifians lived through during the so-called “new era” such as the al-Hoceima earthquake in 2004 and the arson of five men in 2011 inside a bank in the city during the February 20 protests.
The Globe and Mail's Ingrid Peritz touches upon the tensions between Hasidim and non-Hasidim in the Montréal borough of Outremont regarding the management of public space. There are legitimate concerns on both sides, whether the concern of Hasidim that they are being squeezed out or the concern of non-Hasidim that their public space is being taken over. (The Montréal gym whose windows were frosted so as to obscure outsiders' views of exercising women, at the request of Hasidim, is located here.)
A referendum vote in favour of banning new houses of worship on one of Montreal’s most upscale streets has inflamed tensions with the district’s community of Hasidic Jews, fuelling a divisive debate over religious minorities and the sharing of public space.
In a vote that coincides with heightened sensitivity across the continent about the treatment of minorities, residents in the borough of Outremont voted 56 per cent in favour on Sunday of upholding a zoning ban on new temples on Bernard Avenue, one of the well-to-do district’s main commercial arteries.
While the bylaw does not identify a specific religion, it coincides with the rapid expansion of the local Hasidic community, a largely insular, ultra-orthodox group that has grown to about 25 per cent of the population.
Some in the Hasidic community see the vote as push-back against its members. With zoning bans in place on residential streets and other commercial areas in Outremont, Bernard was the last place in the developed part of the borough available to open a synagogue.
[. . .]
The referendum vote is the latest iteration of long-standing strains between the Hasidic Jewish community and the majority in Outremont, home to some of the leading political and cultural figures of Quebec (the borough recently made waves when it renamed Vimy Park after the late premier Jacques Parizeau, a long-time resident). Below the surface, the debate is over the notion of belonging and the stresses of co-habitation in the central Montreal borough of 25,000, where black-garbed Hasidic men are a visible presence. The Hasidic community, bound by deep religious tenets, mostly avoids mixing with those outside its faith.
- blogTO notes that the TTC plans on raising fares for next year.
- Centauri Dreams notes the evidence for an ocean on Pluto.
- City of Brass' Aziz Poonawalla argues against Muslims voluntarily registering in an American listing of Muslims.
- Dangerous Minds notes the sadness of Abbie Hoffman at Janis Joplin's use of IV drugs.
- Joe. My. God. notes that Manhattan's Trump Place complex has opted to drop the name.
- Language Hat looks at a seminal Arabic novel published in mid-19th century France.
- Language Log looks at an intriguing Chinese-language sign in London.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that the US-Iran nuclear deal is likely to stay.
- The LRB Blog looks at a critic's old building, an old warehouse, in New York City.
- The NYRB Daily looks at the art of the spot illustration.
- Window on Eurasia notes the state of interethnic relations in Kazakhstan.
- Arnold Zwicky looks at some flowers of Mediterranean climate zones.
- Bad Astronomy notes the weird polar hexagonal wind systems of Saturn.
- blogTO notes that Presto is now in fifty TTC stations.
- The Broadside Blog talks about ways to be a good guest.
- Centauri Dreams notes efforts to image planets orbiting Alpha Centauri A and/or B.
- Crooked Timber takes a first look at the origins of Trumpism.
- Dangerous Minds notes that the Jesus and Mary Chain are set to release a new studio album.
- The Dragon's Gaze looks at the testing of the James Webb Space Telescope mirror.
- Joe. My. God. notes that HIV is now recognized in the US as a carcinogen.
- Language Hat looks at principles for naming in different languages.
- Language Log notes that Trumps' granddaughter did a good job of reading Tang China poems.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the TPP is dead.
- The LRB Blog looks at the continued threat of tuberculosis.
- Steve Munro looks at 504 King travel times.
- The NYRB Daily notes the likely future degeneration of Turkey.
- Seriously Science notes that the most one posts comments on Reddit (and other forums?) the worse they become.
- Transit Toronto looks at TTC bus route changes planned in light of subway expansion.
- Window on Eurasia looks at ethnic conflict in Archangelsk, in multi-ethnic Stavropol and among Circassians in Krasnodar, even with Belarusian activists in Smolensk.
- blogTO warned yesterday of impending snowfall.
- Centauri Dreams considers if planets in the circumstellar habitable zones of red dwarfs, like Proxima Centauri b, might tend to be ocean worlds.
- Crooked Timber tries to track down the source of some American electoral maps breaking down support for candidates finely, by demographics.
- D-Brief shares stunning images of L1448 IRS3B, a nascent triple stellar system.
- Joe. My. God. notes the advent of same-sex marriage in Gibraltar.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that, the last time the Cubs won, Russia was run by Romanovs.
- Maximos62 meditates on Bali as a plastic civilization.
- The NYRB Daily reflects on how the Beach Boys have, and have not, aged well.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw looks at un- and underemployment in Australia.
- Torontoist looks at what we can learn from the dedicated bus routes of Mexico City.
- Understanding Society looks at economics and structural change in middle-income countries.
- Window on Eurasia notes one man's argument that Russians should be privileged as the only state-forming nation in the Russian Federation, and shares another Russia's argument against any idea of Belarusian distinctiveness.
- Beyond the Beyond links to an interview with Darran Anderson, a writer of cartographic fiction.
- Centauri Dreams notes that 2028 will be a time when microlensing can b used to study the area of Alpha Centauri A.
- The Crux engages with the question of whether or not an astronaut's corpse could seed life on another planet.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a study that gathers together signals for planetary companions orbiting nearby stars.
- Joe. My. God. notes that the only gay bar in Portland, Maine, is set to close.
- Language Log notes the proliferation of Chinese characters and notes that a parrot could not be called to the stand in Kuwait.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the last time the Chicago Cubs won, Germany was an empire.
- The Map Room Blog notes the discovery of an ancient stone map on the Danish island of Bornholm.
- The Planetary Society Blog examines some of the New Horizons findings of Pluto.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer argues that Venezuela is now a dictatorship.
- Towleroad notes
- Window on Eurasia notes a Russian cleric's call for the children of ethnically mixed marriages in Tatarstan to be legally identified as Russians.
Bloomberg's William Davison reports on the Ethiopian allegation that ethnic Oromo protesters are being covertly supported by Egypt.
Ethiopia’s government suspects Egyptian elements may be backing Oromo protesters as rivalry over control of the Nile River intensifies, Communications Minister Getachew Reda said.
Authorities in Cairo may be supporting the banned Oromo Liberation Front, or OLF, that organized a spate of attacks last week across Ethiopia’s most populous region, which led to the declaration of a state of emergency on Sunday, he told reporters Monday in the capital, Addis Ababa.
“We have ample evidence that trainings have happened, financing has happened in Egypt, the jury is still out whether the Egyptian government is going to claim responsibility for that,” Getachew said. “Nor are we saying it is directly linked with the Egyptian government, but we know for a fact the terrorist group OLF has been receiving all kind of support from Egypt.”
Egypt’s government has claimed Ethiopia’s construction of a hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile contravenes colonial-era treaties that grant it the right to the bulk of the river’s water. Ethiopian officials reject the accords as obsolete and unjust.
- blogTO notes that a half-million dollars does not buy one much of a house in Toronto.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly celebrates the fifth anniversary of her marriage on the Toronto Islands.
- The Dragon's Gaze considers exoplanet fatigue in the news, suggesting Proxima b is about as excited as the media will get.
- Far Outliers looks at the foreign safety zone set up in Nanjing in 1937 as the Japanese approached.
- Language Hat considers the globalization of Latin American writers.
- Language Log examines the linguistics behind "hikikomori".
- The LRB Blog looks at the British political spectrum.
- The Map Room Blog reports on some beautiful letterpress maps.
- Marginal Revolution notes that in Africa, urbanization is not accompanied by economic growth.
- The NYRB Daily shares vintage photographs of Syria's Palmyra.
- Spacing looks at the examples of the Netherlands.
- Window on Eurasia looks at a call to create a unified Russian diaspora lobby in the United States and examines ethnic Russian migration from Tuva.
- 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.
- Bloomberg notes that Brexit might drive British migration to Australia, suggests Russia's recession might be coming to an end, looks at carbon emissions from dead trees, and reports on Guiliani's liking for Blackberry.
- Bloomberg View notes Israel's tightening restrictions on conversions and looks at how Putin has become a US election issue.
- CBC notes the construction in Turkey for a cemetery for participants in the recent coup.
- Gizmodo reports on flickering AR Scorpii, an unusual binary.
- The Inter Press Service reports on urban land tenure for migrants and describes Malawi's recent translocation of elephants.
- MacLean's describes the Chinese labourers of the First World War.
- The National Post notes the marginalization of conservative white men in the Democratic Party.
- Open Democracy looks at politics for the United Kingdom's Remain minority, looks at Scotland's European options, and suggests Hillary needs to learn from the lessons of Britain's Remain campaign to win.
- The Toronto Star notes the plans of Tim Horton's to expand to Southeast Asia, starting with the Philippines.
Bloomberg's "As Brexit Splits Europe, One Divided Island Edges Toward Unity" gives some hope for Cypriot reunification.
It looks like an ordinary summer’s evening on Ledra Street, the pedestrianized thoroughfare of stores and cafes that bisects Nicosia’s old town: Elderly Greek Cypriot men sip coffee as Turkish Cypriot teenagers rush through a border crossing at the end of the road to catch a local band.
This is the opposite side of the European map from the rift caused by the U.K.’s Brexit referendum, and the mood couldn’t be more different in the continent’s last divided capital city. The reunification of Cyprus -- split between north and south since Turkey’s invasion in 1974, a little more than a dozen years after independence from Britain -- is a tale of false dawns, but the feeling in Nicosia is that the stars in the eastern Mediterranean just might be aligning.
What’s changed is that the leaders of both parts of the island are pursuing talks on their own power-sharing arrangement rather than one imposed by the United Nations. While they have the traditional backing of the U.S. and European Union, Turkey now supports hammering out a deal in coming months.
"This time I feel we have a real chance as both leaders seem determined,” said Maria Sophocleous, a 60-year-old Greek-Cypriot pensioner whose home village now lies on the Turkish-speaking side. “They know that it’s the last opportunity for reunification."
- Bloomberg notes Ireland's huge unexpected recent reported growth, looks at the deindustrialization of Israel, observes Deutsche Bank's need to search for wealth abroad, looks at the demographic imperatives that may keep healthy Japanese working until they are 80, notes the slipping ANC grip on Pretoria and looks at the rise of anti-Muslim Pauline Hanson in Australia, and predicts Brexit could kill the London property boom.
- Bloomberg View calls for calm in the South China Sea.
- CBC notes some idiot YouTube adventurers who filmed themselves doing stupid, even criminal, things in different American national parks.
- The Globe and Mail reports on the plans for a test tidal turbine in the Bat of Fundy by 2017.
- MacLean's looks at the heckling of a gay musician in Halifax and reports on the civil war in South Sudan.
- The New York Times looks at the new xenophobia in the east English town of Boston.
- Open Democracy notes that talk of a working class revolt behind Brexit excludes non-whites, and reports on alienation on the streets of Wales.
- Wired looks at how some cash-strapped American towns are tearing up roads they cannot afford to maintain.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to the discovery paper for HD 133139Ab, the planet orbiting three stars.
- The Dragon's Tales reports on the model of a winged aerobot to explore Titan.
- Language Log examines the Sinicization of non-Chinese names of ethnic minorities in China.
- Marginal Revolution highlights speculation that American servicemen come from psychologically worse environments these days than in previous years.
- Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money takes issue with the idea that a non-revolutionary British North America would have had a better constitution.
- The Volokh Conspiracy considers the legalities of the Dallas robot bomb.
The Waterloo Region Record's Jeff Outhit notes that, exactly one hundred years ago today in the middle of the First World War, the southwest Ontario city of Berlin had its name changed to Kitchener against the will of its inhabitants. (Via James Nicoll.)
Residents voted narrowly to change Berlin's name in the midst of the First World War to prove loyalty and stem the backlash against a city with deep German roots.
Canadian soldiers were battling Germany, dying amid distant thunder on the Western Front in Europe. Canada, consumed by anti-German sentiment, eyed Berlin darkly, uneasy about buying goods stamped Made in Berlin, suspicious of its young men who were reluctant to enlist.
It was the darkest time in the city's history. You can see the city on edge in a new exhibit by that name at the Waterloo Region Museum. It runs through December.
The space is laid out like a maze. That's meant to disorient you just as people would have felt in 1916. "We want people to feel confused," said Tom Reitz, museum manager.
The exhibit has what you might expect, relics and artifacts, and what you might not, modern podiums and touch screens to explain how the name change still resonates. There's film and art and sound and conflict.
There's the printing plate from the ballot that produced the new name. There's a napkin ring that might have been crafted out of a stolen, melted bust of Kaiser Wilhelm I, but probably wasn't. The Kaiser's ghost hovers above it all.
Reitz is from German stock. His great-grandfather immigrated as a carpenter and lived on Wilhelm Street in Berlin. He wonders: how did his ancestors feel about abandoning Berlin's name? Did they vote?
"What did they think of this?" he asks. The answer is lost to time.
I read Bethan Staton's Quartz article as a followup to last month's post looking at abandoned hotels in Egypt. That post, based on a 2006 book, looked at Egyptian hotels in the desert which never went back past initial construction. Staton looks at the state of the Sinai's hotels now, after the collapse of the tourist industry under the pressure of (among other things) the Sinai insurgency and the destabilization of Egypt generally.
From the canopies and huts of his beach camp, Msallam Faraj can stroll to the ruins of several resorts like the Seagull—places with signs like “Dessole” or “Gulf Paradise,” where naked intersections of floors and walls expose the usually hidden geometry of floor plans.
But Faraj has built his shaded hammocks to face away from the hotels, toward the Gulf. “For me they destroy the beautiful view,” he says, gesturing toward the latticed shade of the ruins. “They took the land, which is mine, but they don’t use it.”
Many Bedouin like Faraj would have preferred to see the Sinai developed as an ecotourism hub. Before the hotel building rush began, the coastline was flooded with tourists and backpackers paying $10 a night to sleep on the beach. Many of these ad-hoc beach camps were run by local Bedouin whose families had lived in the Sinai for centuries. In the 1990s, Faraj had built a previous beach camp, “Bedouin Dream,” the culmination of a lifetime’s ambition to use his ecological knowledge to create a backpacker’s paradise.
Lured by the Bedouins’ success, investors started building hotels. But they rarely included the Bedouin in their work. Instead they built on land the tribes claimed as their own, while competing with existing businesses. Between 1992 and 2007, for example, all the plots of land in Sharm el Sheikh–a former Bedouin village that became a sprawling, loud resort town—were allocated to Egyptian and foreign investors, while the Bedouin were relegated to the desert.
Land disputes between new investors and locals sometimes turned nasty, and many developers found themselves paying protection money or employing members of local tribes as security. But the money Bedouin made from these arrangements didn’t make up for the marginalization they felt.