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  • blogTO describes the changing designs of TTC maps over the past generations.

  • Cody Delistraty links to an article of his contrasting and comparing Donald Trump to Louis XIV.

  • Marginal Revolution shares facts about Qatar in this time of its issues.

  • Peter Rukavina describes the latest innovations in his homebrew blogging.

  • Towleroad notes the sad anniversary of the Pulse massacre in Orlando.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that there is still potent for Idel-Ural, a coalition of non-Russian minorities by the Volga.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines how Labour and the Tories made use of Big Data, and how Labour did much better.

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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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Detail, The Death of General Wolfe (1770)


Early in January, before my trip to Montréal, I went to the Royal Ontario Museum where I saw--among other things--the museum's copy of Benjamin Wolfe's painting The Death of General Wolfe. This famous tableau's depiction of the death of James Wolfe, the commander of the victorious British forces in 1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham that saw the fall of French Canada and the end of New France but who barely lived to see the end of the battle himself, is literally iconic. This moment marks the end of one empire and the expansion of another.

Was the end of New France inevitable? Quite a few fans of alternate history suggest that it was. In perhaps the classic few, the value of France to colonize its North American territories nearly as thoroughly as England (and later the United Kingdom) did theirs ensured that, ultimately, New France would be overwhelmed by the colonists. Some even go so far as to argue that New France was a failing colony, that the failure to expand French colonization much beyond the Saint Lawrence valley demonstrates a fundamental lack of French interest. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was irrelevant.

I'm not sure that I buy this. Conceivably there could have been more French settlement in New France, perhaps with a bigger push under Louis XIV, but it isn't clear to me that France in America was a failure. New France's economy was built substantially on trade with indigenous peoples and not on (for instance) the plantation colony of many British colonies, making increased French settlement irrelevant at best and potentially harmful at worst. As it was, French Canada was actually a dynamic society, the St. Lawrence valley becoming home of a colonial offshoot of France with outposts stretching far west into the basin of the Great Lakes and, not incidentally, managing to hold off conquest by the British for nearly a century and a half. New France was not nearly as populous as the Thirteen Colonies, but that no more proves that New France was a failure than (say) the fact that Spain's Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata was less populous than Portuguese Brazil means that the Spanish colony was a failure. At most, there was underexploited potential. If French Canada has since largely contracted to the frontiers of modern Québec, it is because successive British administrations have taken care to hem it in.

Had the Battle of the Plains of Abraham gone even slightly differently, there could have been a French victory. The end of the Seven Years War could have seen the French flag continue to fly in Canada. Even if Canada had fallen, that it would be kept by Britain was by no means preordained: Had Britain preferred to keep the valuable French sugar island of Guadeloupe, or had the French government different priorities, Canada might have been restored to France in the peace.

What would this surviving French Canada have been like?

It's certainly possible that a continued French presence in Canada would have helped discourage the Thirteen Colonies from rebelling against the British Empire, especially if it was perceived as a threat. It's not clear to me that this would automatically be the case, especially if New France had been weakened in the conflict, demilitarized and/or territorially diminished. Perhaps, in this timeline, the Americans might revolt against Britain in anger that their interests were neglected in the settlement of the final peace. We might not see a conflict like the War of American Independence, but then again we might. If this war, or another great power Anglo-French war does come about, then France will face the same cascade of dysfunctional public financies than in our history triggered the revolution.

What will become of Canada in all this? I can imagine that it might, or might not, receive more attention from France. I suppose that, if history runs along the lines we are familiar with up to the French Revolution, Canada might be in an interesting position versus the metropole. (A French kingdom in exile?) It is imaginable that a populous French Canada might stay French, especially if the Americans are allies and Britain has interest elsewhere. The case can be made that French Canada could survive, within borders not wildly different from that of modern Canada, into the 19th century.

Here, I'm stymied. It is not easy to imagine the development of French Canada as a French territory for the simple reason that France had no colonies of settlement like (for instance) Britain had Canada. French Algeria eventually became a destination for European immigration, but most of these immigrants came from elsewhere in the western Mediterranean (Spain and Italy particularly) and they arrived in a territory that never stopped being overwhelmingly Arab-Berber and Muslim in nature. New Caledonia, in the South Pacific, also received substantial numbers of settlers relative to the native population, but the absolute numbers were low. There is no close parallel, not in the second French colonial empire, to a colony like Canada, a vast semi-continent with a substantial population mostly descended from French colonists.

I do think France could certainly colonize Canada as thoroughly as Britain later did, especially if France enjoys stability and peace. Franco-Canadian relations were broken by the Conquest and only began to pick up again a century later, as the French became dimly aware that the Canadiens survived. In a timeline where the relationship between France and Canada was never disrupted, Franco-Canadian relations would be far more intense. Trade and investment flows aside, we might see well see substantial amounts of French immigration to a prosperous Canada, and more immigrants coming from outside France, just as in the case of Algeria. The details depend critically on the borders of this Canada and its relationship to its neighbours, but I see no reason why French Canada could not be successful.

Even if--a big if--French history remains largely unchanged up to the mid-19th century, the existence of a large, populous, and growing French Canada will eventually change the French polity rapidly. How will the millions of Canadiens be represented in French political life? A populous American branch of the French empire will have very substantial consequences.

What do you think?
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  • 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.

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  • Antipope's Charlie Stross wonders if the politics of Trump might mean an end to the British nuclear deterrent.

  • Centauri Dreams shares Andrew LePage's evaluation of the TRAPPIST-1 system, where he concludes that there are in fact three plausible candidates for habitable status there.

  • Dangerous Minds shares the gender-bending photographs of Norwegian photographers Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.

  • The Extremo Files looks at the human microbiome.

  • Language Hat links to an article on Dakhani, a south Indian Urdu dialect.

  • The LRB Blog looks at policing in London.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that 90% of the hundred thousand lakes of Manitoba are officially unnamed.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at the remarkable Akshardham Temple of New Delhi.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes how citizen scientists detected changes in Rosetta's comet.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer provides a visual guide for New Yorkers at the size of the proposed border wall.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper taking a look at the history of abortion in 20th century France.

  • Torontoist looks at the 1840s influx of Irish refugees to Toronto.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at the research that went into the discovery of the nucleus of the atom.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on Belarus.

  • Arnold Zwicky shares photos and commentary on the stars and plot of Oscar-winning film Midnight.

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  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross wonders--among other things--what the Trump Administration is getting done behind its public scandals.

  • blogTO notes a protest in Toronto aiming to get the HBC to drop Ivanka Trump's line of fashion.

  • Dangerous Minds reflects on a Talking Heads video compilation from the 1980s.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reflects on a murderous attack against Indian immigrants in Kansas.

  • The LRB Blog looks at "post-Internet art".

  • Lovesick Cyborg notes an attack by a suicide robot against a Saudi warship.

  • Strange Maps links to a map of corruption reports in France.

  • Torontoist reports on Winter Stations.

  • Understanding Society engages in a sociological examination of American polarization, tracing it to divides in race and income.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the many good reasons behind the reluctance of cities around the world to host the Olympics.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that where the Ingush have mourned their deportation under Stalin the unfree Chechens have not, reports that Latvians report their willingness to fight for their country, looks at what the spouses of the presidents of post-Soviet states are doing, and notes the widespread opposition in Belarus to paying a tax on "vagrancy."

  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the linguistic markers of the British class system.

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  • blogTO notes the amazing spike upwards in temperatures for this weekend.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of some stark war memorials of the former Communist world.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on brown dwarf HIP 67537b.

  • The LRB Blog looks at Donald Trump's interest in a Middle Eastern peace settlement that looks as if it will badly disadvantage the isolated Palestinians.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen reflects on his reading of Julius Evola and other hitherto-marginal writers.

  • The NYRB Daily notes the potential health catastrophe that could result from Donald Trump's anti-vax positions.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer suggests that the corruption marking the relationship of France and Gabon over that country's oil is finding an echo in the Trump organization's involvement in Filipino real estate.

  • Torontoist calls for regulation of road salt on grounds of its toxicity.

  • Transit Toronto looks at the various scenarios for King Street.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia's economic growth will lag behind growth elsewhere for the foreseeable future, and looks at protest in St. Petersburg over the return of an old church to the Orthodox Church.

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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 idea is to occupy Facebook with art. Whoever "likes" this post will be given an artist and invited to post a piece by that artist with this text. I was given Charles Rennie Macintosh by Facebook's Suzanne.



I picked his painting 1925-1926 "A Southern Port", drawn from his late in life visit to the Rousillon port of Port-Vendres.
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  • At Apostrophen, 'Nathan Smith writes about the status of his various writing projects.

  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling links to an article examining pieces of software that have shaped modern music.

  • blogTO notes the expansion of the Drake Hotel to a new Junction site. Clearly the Drake is becoming a brand.

  • Citizen Science Salon looks at how Internet users can help fight illegal fishing in the Pacific.

  • Crooked Timber asks readers for new Doctor Who candidates.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper finding that the presence of Proxima Centauri would not have inhibited planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.

  • The LRB Blog notes the growing fear among Muslims in the diaspora.

  • The Map Room Blog shares a reimagined map of the Paris metro.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy and Towleroad have very different opinions on the nomination of Neil Gorusch to the US Supreme Court.

  • Transit Toronto reports on the reopening of the TTC parking lot at Yorkdale.

  • Whatever's John Sclazi responds to the past two weeks of Trump-related chaos, and is not impressed.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church carries itself as an embattled minority because it is one, and looks at the future of Russian federalism in regards to Tatarstan.

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  • blogTO notes concerns in Church and Wellesley about a spike of reported anti-gay violence.

  • Crooked Timber looks at the shambolic mess that is the Republican healthcare plan.

  • Language Hat links to an article concerned with the question of how to try cracking the Indus Valley script.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the malevolence and incompetence of the Trump Administration are record-breaking.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that the proposed border tax on Mexican imports is likely workable for all the major actors.

  • Strange Maps examines with maps how families of landowners centuries old still own huge swathes of downtown London.

  • Une heure de peine's Denis Colombi examines, in French and in the French political context, the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy shares Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus" welcoming refugees to American shores.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the concerns of one Tatar historian that Russian federalism is being undermined and looks at the consequences of Putin's chat with Trump.

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  • blogTO notes that the Toronto real estate market is now the most unaffordable of any in Canada.

  • The Big Picture shares photos of melting Antarctica.

  • Crooked Timber considers the economic benefits of open borders, and the costs.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of posters from Paris in 1968.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the problems of legal education in California.

  • The New APPS Blog thinks poorly of South Carolina's Republicans.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders if China will do better than the United States at dealing with air pollution.

  • The NYRB Daily considers the collection of Neapolitan Christmas crèches.

  • Palun looks at seasonal affective disorder in northern Estonia.

  • Peter Watts wishes his readers happy holidays.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the distribution of the populations of the US, Canada and Europe by latitude.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy compares concerns over Muslim immigration to opposition to Turkish membership in the EU.

  • Window on Eurasia argues populism will not lead to structural change and suggests Putin's policies are a consequence of his fatigue.

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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith writes about what he has learned from his huskie.

  • Bad Astronomy shares some gorgeous Cassini images of Saturn's polar hexagon.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at L2 Puppis, a red giant star that our own sun will come to resemble.

  • D-Brief notes climate change is starting to hit eastern Antarctica, the more stable region of the continent.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at some of the cool pins put out by supporters of LGBT rights over the decades.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at Susan Faludi's account of her life with her newly trans father.

  • Far Outliers examines the War of American Independence as one of the many Anglo-French global wars.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders why the Los Angeles Times allowed the publication of letters defend the deportation of the Japanese-Americans.

  • Marginal Revolution's Alex Tabarrok argues that we are now moving beyond meat production.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at Mexico as a seedbed of modernism.

  • Savage Minds shares an article arguing for a decentering of the position of human beings at the interface of anthropology and science.

  • Understanding Society has more on the strange and fundamentally alien nature of the cephalopod mind.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the North Caucasus is set to go through austerity.

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  • blogTO shares some photos of Toronto in colour from the 1950s.

  • Centauri Dreams talks about SETI in the light of the Anthropocene era.

  • Dangerous Minds notes that there is now a hipster nativity scene available for purchase.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting that tidal heating could explain the difference between super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that protecting Trump in New York City costs that municipality a million dollars a day, and notes a parade of Spanish fascists in support of Trump.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that politics is identity politics.
  • The LRB Blog notes the end of Sarkozy's campaign and revisits Goldwater.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the latest about the population of Ukraine.

  • Towleroad notes the hateful mail received by an out mayor in Massachusetts.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at Trump's apparently anti-constitutional entanglement of business and politics.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on how Russia's promotion of the Russian language in neighbouring countries is backfiring, and looks at the hard nationalist line of Patriarch Kirill against Ukrainian autocephaly and multiculturalism in Russia.

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  • Beyond the Beyond shares an early 17th century Catholic Church communication doubting the Earth went around the sun.

  • blogTO notes the sympathy cards placed outside the American consulate in Toronto.

  • Crooked Timber argues that liberal progressivism hasn't been tried in recent years and so can't have failed.

  • The Dragon's Tales shares one model explaining the contradictions between the faint young sun and a warm early Mars.

  • Far Outliers reports on the roles of different types of British servants in India.

  • Language Hat shares a history of Canadian English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Richard Rorty's prediction of a Trump-like catastrophe and argues that economics do matter.

  • On the anniversary of the Bataclan, the LRB Blog reflects on the music of France.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes the grim predictions of Hans-Joachim Voth as to the degeneration of American life likely under Trump.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the relatively low population growth of France in the 19th century.

  • Towleroad notes Trump's statement that gay marriage is settled.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Belarus will have less maneuvering room under Trump.

  • Arnold Zwicky considers the colours of the pride rainbow.

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I just discovered French singer Desireless and her 1986 international hit "Voyage, voyage".



I find myself entranced. It's a very 1980s song, dated by its production and by its video, but it lives up to its lyrics' description of a desire for escape, for the sort of transportation that leads to transformation.

Au dessus des vieux volcans,
Glisse des ailes sous les tapis du vent,
Voyage, voyage,
Eternellement.
De nuages en marécages,
De vent d'Espagne en pluie d'équateur,
Voyage, voyage,
Vole dans les hauteurs
Au dessus des capitales,
Des idées fatales
Regardent l'océan...


Desireless seems not to have had many hits after this, and she's still closely linked to the song. Below is a 2016 performance for German television, a reworking.

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The Impressionists who were one source of inspiration for the Group of Seven are present in substantial numbers at the Art Gallery of Ontario. One of my favourites is Camille Pissarro's Poplars, Grey Weather, Éragny.

From Poplars, Grey Weather, Éragny, Camille Pissarro #toronto #ago #artgalleryofontario #camillepissarro

Claude Monet's From Étretat: L'Aiguille and the Porte d'Aval is evocative of the sea.

From Étretat: L'Aiguille and the Porte d'Aval #toronto #ago #artgalleryofontario #claudemonet

James Ensor's From Beach at Ostend also deserves praise.

From Beach at Ostend, James Ensor #toronto #ago #artgalleryofontario #jamesensor

Monet's Les ombres sur la mer, Fécamp hints at so much for me.

From Les ombres sur la mer, Fécamp #toronto #ago #artgalleryofontario #gustaveloiseau
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NBC Bay Area's Tamara Palmer looks at real estate prices in San Francisco in a rather enlightening international perspective. San Francisco is no longer going to be a place where non-rich people live, right?

Ready to trade that San Francisco studio apartment for a French castle?

Zumper located a seven bedroom castle on 200 acres of land in Ringuette, Region Aquitaine, France renting for $2,925 per month and contrasted it against a current listing for a 401 square-foot studio apartment on Page Street in San Francisco's Lower Haight, which goes for $3,000 per month.

Another six bedroom castle in France is currently on the rental market for $4,940 per month and includes a pool, three acre garden and "several lawns." It's juxtaposed against a Laurel Heights three bedroom apartment on Collins Street that runs $4,995. No square footage is mentioned, and one of the bedrooms doesn't have a closet.
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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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  • Bloomberg notes concerns over Northern Ireland's frontiers, looks at how Japanese retailers are hoping to take advantage of Vietnam's young consumers, examines the desperation of Venezuelans shopping in Colombia, looks at Sri Lankan interest in Chinese investment, suggests oil prices need to stay below 40 dollars US a barrel for Russia to reform, observes that Chinese companies are increasingly reluctant to invest, and suggests Frankfurt will gain after Brexit.

  • Bloomberg View gives advice for the post-Brexit British economy, looks at how Chinese patterns in migration are harming young Chinese, suggests Hillary should follow Russian-Americans in not making much of Putin's interference, and looks at the Israeli culture wars.

  • CBC considers the decolonization of placenames in the Northwest Territories, notes Canada's deployment to Latvia was prompted by French domestic security concerns, and looks at an ad promoting the Albertan oil sands that went badly wrong in trying to be anti-homophobic.

  • The Inter Press Service considers the future of Turkey and looks at domestic slavery in Oman.

  • MacLean's looks at China's nail house owners, resisting development.

  • The National Post reports from the Colombia-Venezuela border.

  • Open Democracy considers the nature of work culture in the austerity-era United Kingdom, looks at traditions of migration and slavery in northern Ghana, examines European bigotry against eastern Europeans, and examines the plight of sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco.

  • Universe Today notes two nearby potentially habitable rocky worlds, reports that the Moon's Mare Imbrium may have been result of a hit by a dwarf planet, and reports on Ceres' lack of large craters.

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