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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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  • Anthony Easton at MacLean's writes in defense of Nickelback, one of Canada's most popular bands if not a critical darling.

  • Also in MacLean's, Stephanie Carvin notes that the new foreign and military policies announced by the Canadian government could still fall short.

  • Bloomberg View's Stephen L. Carter considers the idea of the just war through the lens of Wonder Woman.

  • Nuclear energy, it seems, will be India's answer to global warming in the era of Trump.

  • Qataris, Bloomberg notes, are trying to deal with their island country's state of siege.

  • Airbus may pull its production plants from the United Kingdom unless the country keeps single market access.

  • Refugees, Lynne Olson notes at National Geographic, helped save the United Kingdom during the Second World War.

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  • 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
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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 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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Anthropologist Nadia El-Shaarawi, writing at Savage Minds, describes her experiences interviewing Middle Eastern candidates for refugee status and frames them in the context of the anti-refugee sentiment and exclusionary state structures.

As a volunteer legal advocate working with refugees who were seeking resettlement, I learned to ask detailed questions about persecution. These were the kind of questions you would never ask in polite conversation: Who kidnapped your best friend? Were they wearing uniforms? What did those uniforms look like? Where did they hit you? Did you pay a ransom for her release? How did you identify her body? Questions like these, which refugees are asked over and over as part of the already extreme vetting that they undergo to be granted asylum and resettlement, are personal, intimate, painful. They demand a precise and consistent command of autobiographical detail and the strength to revisit events that one might otherwise want to forget. They try to get to the heart of what happened to a person, what forced them to leave everything behind.

On a more cynical level, these questions try to catch a person in a lie, to identify those who are not “deserving” of refuge. The answers are checked and cross-checked, asked again and again across multiple agencies and organizations. In separate interviews, family members are asked the same questions. Do the answers match up? Do the dates and places make sense? Were you a victim of persecution? Are you who you say you are? While these questions and their answers shape the narrative of an individual resettlement case, there is a way in which they don’t get to the heart of what happened to a person, why someone was forced to flee, cross at least one border to enter another state, and is now seeking resettlement in a third country.

Vetting, extreme or otherwise, is about inclusion and exclusion. But before someone even gets to the arduous, opaque process of being considered for resettlement in the United States, decisions are made at the executive level about who to include in a broader sense. While the Refugee Convention provides protection for any person with a “well-founded fear of persecution” on specific grounds, this has never been the full story of the US refugee program, where a presidential determination each year decides how many refugees will be resettled, and from where. Some die-hard advocates and detractors aside, refugee resettlement has historically had bipartisan support and mostly stays under the radar of public attention, except, it seems, in moments where it becomes a reflection of broader anxieties and struggles over belonging and exclusion.
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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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MacLean's carried Laura Kane's Canadian Press article noting the beginning in a surge of applications to Canadian institutions of higher education from students which have been already affected by Trump's visa rules, or who might be.

Mahdi Ebrahimi Kahou was awarded a full scholarship last year to complete his PhD in economics at the University of Minnesota, a top-five U.S. school in his field.

But last Friday, the Iranian citizen said he watched his dream evaporate with a stroke of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pen.

“I don’t know how to explain the feeling, to be honest,” he said. “I can’t do anything. I can’t concentrate. I can’t study. Everything is hectic.”

Ebrahimi Kahou is now part of what Universities Canada calls a “surge” in applications to Canadian institutions by U.S. students, in the wake of Trump’s executive order banning entry of citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days.

Some schools have moved quickly to extend application deadlines for foreign students, including McGill University’s graduate law department and Brock University. Others said late applications from qualified applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Ebrahimi Kahou, 29, holds a graduate degree from the University of Calgary, and his common-law wife and five-year-old stepdaughter live in Alberta. Trump’s order means the man can’t leave Minneapolis to visit his loved ones for at least the next three months.

Shortly after the order came into effect, Ebrahimi Kahou contacted Kevin Bryan, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management who had published a blog post offering to help economics or strategy students affected by the travel ban.
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Meghan L O'Sullivan writes for Bloomberg View about how the ban on Iraqis' entry specifically, by demonstrating a lack of American trust, undermines the US-Iraqi relationship more generally.

There are many good reasons to object to the Trump administration's new ban on allowing people from seven predominantly Muslim Middle East countries to travel to the U.S. and halting the acceptance of Syrian refugees. I am among the many Americans ashamed that our great country could so easily push aside its history of caring for people with the most desperate needs in the world. I also am among the national security analysts who don't see how this helps deliver on the promise of protecting the U.S. from terrorism, and worry that they will inflame the resentment and anti-Americanism that fuel attacks against our citizens at home and abroad.

But, most tangibly and practically, I am among the millions of Americans who served as soldiers, diplomats or humanitarian workers in Iraq or Afghanistan, and therefore have insights into how the immigration ban has made Defense Secretary James Mattis's job of devising a plan to eradicate Islamic State a whole lot more difficult.

On Saturday, Trump issued a national security memo giving Mattis and the Pentagon 30 days to “develop a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS.” Yet the immigration ban seriously complicates that task by jeopardizing the cooperation of Iraqis. Iraqis are among the most important partners we have in fighting the Islamic State. While the U.S. and its allies are providing critical air, intelligence and logistical support in northern Iraq, it is Iraqi forces -- both Arab and Kurd -- that are pushing Islamic State out of Mosul, the nation's second-largest city.

As evidenced by Mattis’s efforts to get exceptions to the immigration ban for Iraqis who worked alongside American forces, we rely heavily on Iraqis willing to risk their lives, and those of their families, to work with us. Such cooperation has cost many Iraqi lives. Signaling that we may need them while we are operating in Iraq, but see them as a security threat in the U.S., will have an immediate chilling effect. This distrust will not be limited to those Iraqis who want to become U.S. residents or citizens, but will permeate all of our relationships there.
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  • blogTO reports on how a trespasser at track level disrupted subway service today.

  • Crooked Timber argues Trump's migration ban is best under stood as an elaboration of existing Western immigration policies, taking them to their logical conclusion.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at 1980s New York City industrial rockers Missing Foundation.

  • The Dragon's Gaze examines the orbit of Proxima Centauri around the A-B pair.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog profiles four millennial students to attack the idea of their generation as lazy.

  • Language Log and Strange Maps look at how the list of countries whose citizens are banned from the US does not map onto the list of countries which have provided terrorists who have attacked the United States.

  • The LRB BLog looks at the first ten days of the Trump Administration.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the scale of the popular mobilization against Trump.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at how modest immigration controls in Argentina are overshadowed by the US.

  • Transit Toronto reports on streetcar line repair on Queen Street.

  • Window on Eurasia wonders if Trump will allow Russia to do as it will in most of the former Soviet Union, and <a href="http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.ca/2017/01/moscow-now-taking-seriously-that-russia.html'><U>looks</u></a> at the prospect Russia might lose out in international sporting events.</li> </ul>
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The Globe and Mail's Tom Kiladze reports on an initiative by Canadian tech startup companies that, besides being humanitarian, may also work out to be something really advantageous for Canada in the long run.

A collection of Canada’s top technology leaders is asking Ottawa to provide “immediate and targeted” assistance, including temporary residency, to those displaced by President Donald Trump’s executive order that bans entry to the United States for citizens of seven countries.

In a statement, the leaders, who include Wattpad chief executive officer Allen Lau, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, TechGirls Canada founder Saadia Muzaffar and Wealthsimple CEO Michael Katchen, ask the federal government to provide visas to people displaced by the executive order.

“This visa would allow these residents to live and work in Canada with access to benefits until such time as they can complete the application process for permanent residency if they so choose,” the group wrote. More than 200 people have signed the open letter to show their support.

The Canadian tech community has long stressed that diversity is one of its strengths – as well as one of Canada’s – but the decision to boldly ask the federal government to take action in the face of the new U.S. order is a sign of its evolution.

Until recently, the country’s tech community was thought of as a collection of small startups likely to be acquired by larger American tech companies. Lately, though, it has grown up, and in the last few months there is additional buzz about its potential – particularly around artificial intelligence. Former Facebook executive Steve Irvine recently left the Silicon Valley giant to start a Toronto-based AI company.
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CBC News reports on the continuing confusion in American entry procedures for Canadians.

Canadian citizens can travel freely to the United States despite U.S. President Donald Trump's sweeping immigration order that bans visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Prime Minister's Office says.

Saturday's news came hours after the U.S. State Department told CBC News the 90-day travel ban covers all people who have a nationality or dual nationality with Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — which would include tens of thousands of Canadians.

"We have been assured that Canadian citizens travelling on Canadian passport will be dealt with ‎in the usual process," Kate Purchase, spokeswoman for the Prime Minister's Office, said in a statement.

[. . .]

Trump's executive order on Friday curbs travel to the U.S. for people coming from the seven Muslim-majority countries. In an email to CBC News earlier on Saturday, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said: "Beginning January 27, 2017, travellers who have nationality or dual nationality of one of these countries will not be permitted for 90 days to enter the United States or be issued an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa."

"Those nationals or dual nationals holding valid immigrant or nonimmigrant visas will not be permitted to enter the United States during this period."​

It's not clear at this point whether the ban affects dual nationals who have citizenship with one of the banned countries and another country outside of Canada.
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Radio free Europe/Radio Liberty's Golnaz Esfandiari covers the reaction in Iran to the prospect of a ban on the issuing of new visas to Iranian citizens. Esfandiari is correct to note that these visa restrictions will not help the Islamic Republic's position and will in fact also hurt American soft power. That by far the most successful anti-American terrorists come from Saudi Arabia, a country not subject to the proposed ban, also deserves mention.

The United States is a leading destination for students from all over the world, with international student enrollment at public and private U.S. institutions totaling more than 1 million young people in 2015-16, according to the Institute of International Education, with roughly one-third of them coming from China and Iranians well outside the top 10 places of origin.

Hengameh, a mother of two in Tehran, told RFE/RL via Telegram she was offended by the U.S. decision. "I don't have plans to travel to America, but I know many who have relatives there. This will make things harder for them," she said, adding that obtaining a U.S. visa is already difficult for Iranians.

[. . .]

"The adoption of this [executive order] and similar laws will hurt only the Iranian people, and it won't have any impact on the travels of government [officials] to America," a comment on Radio Farda's Facebook page said.

"It's clear that [Trump] doesn't have a proper understanding of terrorists. Most of them are from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other countries," another comment said.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who used passenger jets to carry out coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden, the leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network blamed for the attack, was a Saudi citizen.
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  • blogTO notes that Uniqlo will be giving away free thermal clothing tomorrow.

  • James Bow shares his column about the importance of truth.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly shares with us her mid-winter walk.

  • Centauri Dreams reports about cometary water.

  • Dangerous Minds shares German cinema lobby cards from the 1960s.

  • Language Hat talks about dropping apostrophes.

  • Language Log reports about lexical searches on Google.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the latest from Trump.

  • The NYRB Daily shares a review of an Iranian film on gender relations.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes the ongoing gas price protests in Mexico.

  • Spacing links to some articles about affordable housing around the world.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes Germany's abolition of a law forbidding insults to foreign heads of state.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that stable Russian population figures cover up a wholesale collapse in the numbers of ethnic Russians, and looks at the shortages of skilled workers faced by defense industries.

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The Inter Press Service's Andy Hazel describes how Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker Behrouz Boochani, detailed by the Australian government on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, is striving to report on the conditions of his detention.

Despite being locked up in an Australian detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani has continued reporting – gaining bylines and media attention around the world.

Journalism is the reason Boochani was forced to flee his home country of Iran, and – like the other 900 men detained indefinitely on Manus Island – seek refuge in Australia.

“When the Australian government exiled me to Manus Island I found out that they are basing their policy on secrecy and dishonesty,” Boochani told IPS.

“In my first days here I started to work to send out the voice of people in Manus. Why did I start? Because the Australian government’s policy of indefinite detention is against my principles and values, and against global human values.”

Boochani worked as a freelance writer in Iran and founded the magazine Werya, devoted to exploring Kurdish politics, culture and history. In February 2013 the offices of Werya were raided by the paramilitary agency the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, also known as Sepah, classified by the US government as a terrorist organisation.

Boochani was in a different city when 11 of his colleagues were arrested. The story he wrote about the raid on the website Iranian Reporters quickly went global and put him in the government’s sights and he fled.
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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the advanced microelectronics that might last a space probe the two decades it would take to get to Proxima Centauri.

  • Dangerous Minds links to a 1980 filmed concert performance by Queen.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on the discovery of potassium in the atmosphere of WASP-17b.

  • Language Hat looks at the Carmina of Optatianus, an interesting piece of Latin literature.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the shameless anti-democratic maneuvering of the Republicans in North Carolina.

  • The LRB Blog reflects on the shamelessness of the perpetrators of the Aleppo massacres.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at what Charles Darwin's reading habits have to say about the man's process of research.

  • North!'s Justin Petrone looks at the elves of Estonia.

  • The NYRB Daily praises the new movie Manchester by the Sea.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a recent photo of Phobos.

  • Peter Rukavina argues that the Island's low PISA scores do not necessarily reflect on what Islanders have learned.

  • Savage Minds shares an essay by someone who combines academic work with library work.

  • Torontoist notes the city's subsidies to some major water polluters.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the anniversary of some important riots in Kazakhstan.

  • Arnold Zwicky reflects on the penguin-related caption of a photo on Wikipedia that has made the world laugh.

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The Toronto Star's Nicholas Keung tells the story of how refugee sponsors in Canada have found themselves left waiting for the actual arrival of refugees, leaving them with significant costs indeed.

It didn’t take long for Nancy Wilding and her sponsorship group in Huntsville to raise well over the $60,000 they needed to sponsor a Syrian family of seven.

With an application submitted in October 2015, they were matched quickly with a refugee family and scrambled to get things ready.

By December they had secured a four-bedroom house for the family. Some 60 volunteers installed a new kitchen, with cabinetry donated by Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, with natural maple cupboards, new countertops and a donated fridge and stove.

Handmade curtains were hung, a country-style couch and love seat were brought in to grace the living room and a harvest table big enough for dining for the entire family was given pride of place.

The group even filled the house with food, clothing and daily necessities.

The only thing missing was the family.

“We had been ready to go by Christmas, then we waited, waited and waited. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for us. There’s been so much frustration that our hope was dashed,” Wilding said of Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Huntsville.
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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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Writing for The Globe and Mail, Wendy Stueck and Jill Mahoney write about the problems facing Syrian refugees in Canada. Among other things, backlogs are a problem.

When Justin Trudeau was elected on the promise of bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada last year, scores of private sponsorship groups – co-workers, church members, neighbours and friends – rose to the challenge.

They raised thousands of dollars, rented and furnished apartments and lined up volunteers to drive, tutor and support refugees.

But now, many have nothing to do but wait. While the government has resettled more than 35,000 Syrian refugees in the past 13 months – 26,000 by the end of February – thousands more are caught in a bureaucratic backlog and have waited months in difficult conditions.

That total includes privately and government-sponsored refugees. This past March, under pressure from private sponsorship groups, Ottawa said it would do its best to process privately sponsored refugee applications received before March 31, 2016, by the end of this year or early 2017.

That commitment refers to about 12,000 PSR applications.
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  • blogTO recommends five neighbourhoods for people looking for apartments.

  • False Steps' Paul Drye describes a failed European-Russian project for a manned capsule.

  • Language Log looks at the oddity of English pronunciations of words in foreign languages, like placenames, with no connection to how these words are pronounced in English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is critical of the coverage given to Trump and Clinton, finding it biased against the latter.

  • Marginal Revolution suggests that seasteading has a future.

  • The NYRB Daily suggests Israeli colonization will mean the end of the traditional lifestyle of Palestinian Bedouin.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on the spread of the red fire ant in Australia.

  • Peter Rukavina describes the unusual round boundaries of the Island village of Crapaud.

  • Savage Minds shares a lovely timeline of the history of anthropology.

  • Torontoist looks at the origins of human rights law in Ontario.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Russia's position as the Soviet successor state hampers its ability to engage with Communism, and reports on Belarus' concern at the dominance of local television by Russian imports.

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