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  • Global News notes one study suggesting coffee can extend human lives. My morning pot is worthwhile, then!

  • National Geographic features an interview with Ben Mezrich talking about how cloning and genetic engineering can bring back the mammoth.

  • CBC News reports on the discovery of ultra-cool dwarf star EBLM J0555-57Ab, smaller than TRAPPIST-1, even.

  • Jacobin Magazine has a stirring essay by Nick Levine calling space colonization and space resources to be shared equitably.

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  • Australia's ABC reports on an ambitious plan to develop drones capable of mass tree planting.

  • The Weather Network warns that global warming could see Canada circa 2100 experience tropical summers.

  • National Geographic reports on the discovery of a thriving ecosystem existing in the waters beneath the Greenland icecap.

  • Daily Xtra criticizes a recent MacLean's article for making bad arguments against anti-HIV treatment PrEP.

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  • Citizen Science Salon links to some ongoing crowdsourced experiments that non-scientists can take part in.

  • The LRB Blog reports on the return of Newt Gingrich to the American political scene.

  • The NYR Daily compares Donald Trump to a 19th century counterpart, Andrew Jackson.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the now rather different cocaine problem of Medellín, Colombia.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel reports on a paper suggesting potential problems with gravitational observatory LIGO.

  • Towleroad notes a recent sharp drop in new HIV diagnoses in the United Kingdom, thanks to treatment and PrEP.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on projected long-run economic decline in Russia, argues about the potential for instability in Tatarstan, and reports on Belarusianization.

  • Arnold Zwicky describes Silver Age Rainbow Batman and his later pride appearances.

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  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at what, exactly, is going on at Boyajian's Star. Does KIC 8462852 have a large ringed exoplanet with Trojans?

  • The Frailest Thing considers modernity as something that has its own sort of enchantments.

  • Language Hat examines how Arkansaw was mutated into Arkansas.

  • Language Log looks at the etymology for "coral reef" in Chinese.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Krugman's subtweet.

  • Neuroskeptic considers ketamine as an anti-depressant.

  • Torontoist describes two local startups, Partial and Wandervoic, that are trying to connect local artists with non-traditional art buyers.

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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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  • Anthropology.net reports on the recent discovery in China of two skulls a hundred thousand years old, possible remnants of a hitherto-unknown hominid species.

  • blogTO reports on the boom in the Toronto tech community.

  • Language Log breaks down the linguistics, specifically word lengths, of audiobooks.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the difficult position of indigenous peoples in Nicaragua.

  • Marginal Revolution reports on the potential health benefits of substances in the blood of the Komodo dragon.

  • The NYRB Daily reports on the modernist photography of Berenice Abbott.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the adventures of the Mars rovers.

  • Supernova Condensate takes a quick look at Jupiter's moon, Io.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at a new Russian film that transposes the superhero genre with the Soviet era, and argues that Russia is acting these days not as a constructive power but as a spoiler.

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  • Language Hat reports on the Wenzhounese of Italy.

  • Language Log writes about the tones of Cantonese.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money writes about the costs of law school. (They are significant, and escalating hugely.)

  • Marginal Revolution reports on the problems facing the Brazilian pension system, perhaps overgenerous for a relatively poor country facing rapid aging.

  • Neuroskeptic reports on the latest re: the crisis of scientists not being able to replicate evidence, now even their own work being problematic.

  • Personal Reflections considers the questions of how to preserve the dignity of people facing Alzheimer's.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes a Financial Times article looking at the impact of aging on global real estate.

  • Spacing Toronto talks about the campaign to name a school after Jean Earle Geeson, a teacher and activist who helped save Fort York.

  • At Wave Without A Shore, C.J. Cherryh shares photos of her goldfish.

  • Window on Eurasia notes growing instability in Daghestan, looks at the latest in Georgian historical memory, and shares an article arguing that Putin's actions have worsened Russia's reputation catastrophically.

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  • blogTO notes that the redevelopment of Toronto's Port Lands is continuing.

  • Crooked Timber argues that climate denialism exposes the socially constructed nature of property rights.

  • D-Brief notes the reburial of Kennewick Man.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes there is no sign of a second planet around Proxima Centauri.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at life in Texas.

  • The LRB Blog analyzes Milo's stumble.

  • Marginal Revolution considers the levels of disorderliness different societies, like Sweden, can tolerate.

  • The NYRB Daily reports on the poisoning of a Russian dissident.

  • The Planetary Society Blog suggests Voyager 1 picked up Enceladus' plumes.

  • Peter Rukavina writes of his mapping of someone's passage on the Camino Francés.

  • Supernova Condensate looks at the United Arab Emirates' plan to build a city on Mars in a century.

  • Torontoist reported on a protest demanding action on the overdose crisis.
  • Towleroad describes the plight of Mr. Gay Syria in Istanbul and reports on the progress of same-sex marriage in Finland.

  • Understanding Society considers the complexity of managing large technological projects.

  • Window on Eurasia links to one Russian writer arguing Putin should copy Trump and links to anotehr suggesting the Russian Orthodox Church is overreaching.

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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 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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Urban Toronto's Jack Landau reports on the interesting new renovations expected for Casey House, Toronto's long-standing HIV/AIDS hospice.

The 1875-built William R. Johnston House—formerly known as the Grey Lady of Jarvis Street—is now awash with colour, as exterior details appear at the Jarvis and Isabella construction site. The home is becoming the Jarvis Street face for a brand new Casey House expansion. Years of paint and grime have been meticulously cleaned from the historic house's red brick exterior, while a modern addition designed by architect Siamak Hariri of Hariri Pontarini Architects will soon be home to a much improved HIV/AIDS care facility.

Following the 2014 start of restoration on the existing building, construction of the 58,000 ft² addition commenced in Spring 2015 with a ceremonial ground breaking event, followed a year later by the April 2016 topping off of the four-storey addition. By this past December, work on Casey House's exterior was substantially complete, and work is now being carried out on the interior build-out and final exterior elements before the building's anticipated early 2017 opening.

Inspired by memorial quilts made by volunteers to honour past Casey House patients lost to HIV/AIDS, Siamak Hariri's design for the building incorporates a range of exterior finishes. This quilt effect is achieved through a mix of three different tones of reclaimed brick, crust-faced limestone, and a combination of mirrored and pattern-enameled glass.
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David Rider and Jennifer Pagliaro describe in the Toronto Star how the Province of Ontario will not only be supporting but actually funding supervised injection sites in Toronto. This harm reduction strikes me as critical, especially as fentanyl approaches.

Overdose deaths of more than 250 Torontonians a year is a preventable “epidemic,” the city’s public health boss declared as Ontario agreed to fund supervised drug injection services at three sites.

The opioid crisis “is having a devastating impact on individuals, on their families and on our community,” Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s acting medical officer of health, warned at an inaugural monthly meeting after marshalling those involved in the struggle, including police and drug users.

Hours before the gathering, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins confirmed the province will pay to install and operate sites at three health centres where users will inject their own illegal drugs under medical supervision.

“I believe that community-supported and community-run supervised injection services will not only save lives, but also must be part of a larger strategy for harm reduction and supports for people struggling with addiction,” Hoskins said in a statement.
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The New Scientist's Clare Wilson reports on a massive drop in new HIV infections in London that is more easily explained by growing use of PrEP, the prophylactic use of new HIV drugs to prevent infections.

Gay men who defied medical advice seem to have changed the course of the HIV epidemic in the UK – for the better.

Four London sexual health clinics saw dramatic falls in new HIV infections among gay men of around 40 per cent last year, compared with 2015, new figures show.

This decline may be mostly due to thousands of people buying medicines called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which cut the chance of catching the virus, online.

“We need to be very cautious at this stage, but I can’t see what else it can be,” says Will Nutland at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has set up a website that gives people information on how to give themselves PrEP. “Something extraordinary has happened in the last 12 months because of a bunch of DIY activists working off our kitchen tables.”

The medicine has been approved in the UK as a drug for preventing HIV infection in both men and women, but it isn’t yet available on the National Health Service.

“People say, ‘Why don’t gay men just use condoms?’,” says Mags Portman of the Mortimer Market Centre in London, one of the clinics that has seen large declines in diagnoses. “They do, but not all the time. Straight people don’t use condoms all the time either.”
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The National Post hosts Diana Mehta's Canadian Press article noting how Toronto is preparing for the imminent onslaught of fentanyl. This CBC report suggests some is already here: Can civic leaders prepare before its effect hit hard?

The fentanyl-fuelled opioid crisis that has wreaked havoc in British Columbia is moving east, and the mayor of Toronto hopes a united and rapid response will help save lives in Canada’s most populous city.

Part of that effort begins Monday, with the first meeting of the Toronto Overdose Early Warning and Alert Partnership, which will bring together politicians, public health officials, first-responders, the coroner’s office, community groups and other stakeholders.

“I don’t think that we can sit back and be complacent for one moment,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in an interview. “The first thing you have to do is to form a partnership that sort of says everybody is going to be at the table, exchanging information, exchanging knowledge.”

While the full scope of fentanyl-related problems in the city isn’t known at this point, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s acting medical officer of health, said there are already troubling figures indicating an uptick.

In 2015, there were 45 fentanyl-related overdose deaths recorded, up from 23 deaths in 2014, Yaffe said. Figures for 2016 are not yet available.
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  • 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.

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This multiply-authored feature in The Globe and Mail takes a vivid look at the worsening drug problem in the Downtown Eastside in the era of fentanyl and related opiates.

Deirdre is leaning against an alley wall, prepping a needle full of crystal methamphetamine that could be contaminated with fentanyl. She and a friend have paused to cheer as an employee of a nearby needle exchange rushes over to revive an overdosing man.

“Breathe bro, breeeeathe!” another bystander shouts as he gently slaps the man’s blue face while the employee preps oxygen and a syringe of naloxone that can reverse the deadly effects of opioids.

A small team of firefighters and paramedics take over. The first responders believe the man – Justin – is the one they revived in the same spot a day earlier.

Deirdre, who asked that her real name not be used, and her friend prepare their rigs and inject them into their arms, the scene in front of them no deterrent to the risk that could put them on the pavement in need of a similar lifesaving intervention.

It is 11:29 a.m. on a frigid Wednesday morning– the second-last Wednesday of December, when millions of dollars of social-assistance payments flood into the Downtown Eastside, or DTES. For recipients who regularly use drugs, this day – known in the neighbourhood as “Cheque Day,” “Welfare Wednesday” or “Mardi Gras” – dramatically increases their risk of a fatal overdose.

Though much of Canada has felt the effects of the fentanyl-driven overdose crisis, British Columbia has been hardest hit, experiencing more fatal overdoses this year than in three decades of record-keeping. The death toll is expected to climb to more than 800. Two weeks ago, eight overdose deaths were recorded in the Downtown Eastside in a single day.
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  • blogTO notes that Toronto's housing market is now hotter than Vancouver's.

  • The Crux looks at progress in human reproductive technology, including in ectogenesis.

  • D-Brief looks at a new simulation of an asteroid impacting the ocean.

  • Dangerous Minds reports on a French cement truck made into a giant mirrored disco ball.

  • In Media Res' Russell Arben Fox writes about the benefits of reading the Old Testament.

  • Language Hat considers the experiences of one man trying to learn Avar.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests Obama's evaluation of his historical touchstone personalities is off.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at Soviet spy maps.

  • The Planetary Society Blog tries to figure out space policy under the Trump Administration.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's loss of sporting events and argues that Circassian language and culture are threatened with extinction.

  • Arnold Zwicky talks about two unusual flowers.

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  • The Big Picture shares photos from ruined Aleppo.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the new explanation for the ASASSN-15h, of a Sun-mass star torn apart by a fast-rotating black hole.

  • The Crux looks at the condition of hyperemesis gravidarum.

  • Dangerous Minds shares the dark and Satanic art of an Argentine artist.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on one man's displeasure that Malta has banned ex-gay "therapy".

  • Language Log looks at where British law confronts linguistics.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money imagines an alternate history where Jill Stein leaves the presidential race and gives Hillary Clinton a needed victory.

  • Peter Rukavina recalls the simple yet effective early version of Hansard for the Island legislative assembly.

  • Mark Simpson notes the objectification of men on the new Baywatch.

  • Window on Eurasia fears the violence of an open Russian imperialism and looks at the confusion over how to recognize the 1917 revolution.

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The Globe and Mail's Andrea Woo notes this decided progress for Toronto and Montréal, as the two cities try to deal with some of the problems of IV drug use.

Municipal politicians in Canada’s two largest cities are optimistic that new legislation aimed at clearing the path for more supervised consumption sites means they will finally be able to offer the harm-reduction service next year.

Ottawa on Monday tabled Bill C-37, which would overturn yet another piece of Conservative-era legislation and advance the Liberal government’s plan to approach drug use as a public-health issue.

Toronto recently submitted applications to operate three small-scale sites, and said they have long been needed; Montreal applied almost two years ago to have three supervised injection sites and one mobile unit. Vancouver, which is home to the only two sites sanctioned by Health Canada, recently applied to open two more.

City councillor Joe Cressy, who chairs Toronto’s drug strategy implementation panel, called Ottawa’s announcement a “good sign” and encouraging news for other cities.

The change would have no effect on Toronto’s applications, as they would be covered by the more stringent old rules. Toronto is also awaiting word on whether the Ontario government will fund the three sites.
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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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