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  • 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.

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  • USA Today provides an American perspective on the increased risk of flooding from Lake Ontario, in upstate New York.

  • Global News notes that the Toronto Islands are now effectively off-limits to visitors until the end of July.

  • Toronto Life shared Daniel Williams' stunning photos of the flooded Toronto Islands.

  • Inside Toronto notes that many people are still going far too close to the unstable Scarborough Bluffs.

  • The Toronto Star noted that the marina at Bluffers' Park is facing flooding.


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The Toronto Star shares Maria Jimenez's report from New York's Cornell University, describing how many students are dealing with the threat a Trump presidency poses to their continued residence in the US, even. Tragic.

In a time of fear and uncertainty, college campuses and cities across the U.S. are vowing to fight back if president-elect Donald Trump tries to deport students and law-abiding community members who lack legal status.

At Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., more than 2,000 students and professors signed a petition asking the university to join other institutions and declare itself a sanctuary, or safe haven, for undocumented students.

“I am frightened,” said one literature student, who asked not to be identified for fear she could be deported. “But I am also encouraged to see people mobilizing and organizing and preparing for Trump to carry out his threat to deport millions of illegals.”

As many as 740,000 children and teenagers — including this woman in her 20s — were given temporary amnesty four years ago when President Barack Obama passed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Now these “DREAMers” — named after an earlier version of the act which was not passed — fear they, or their parents, will be targeted if they come out of the shadows.
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The Globe and Mail's Kerry Gold suggests that relatively low incomes in British Columbia are at least as much of a problem for real estate buyers as high prices.

When Tanya Marquardt lived in Vancouver, she shared a tiny one-room apartment in Gastown with a hot plate and a futon couch she’d roll out every night for her bed.

The rent was a few hundred dollars a month. That same place, she says, now rents for $1,100 a month. That typical price hike gives her pause when she considers returning home to Vancouver, which, she says, she might have to do if Republican candidate Donald Trump is elected president.

But she knows too that transitioning back to Vancouver might not be a wise career choice. The former Vancouverite is now living in Brooklyn, where she lives with her partner in an apartment that costs them $2,700 (U.S.) a month, including utilities. She teaches at Hunter College when she’s not working as a playwright or writing her book.

The artist has found success since her move to New York City six years ago, enough so that she and her partner have saved to purchase a home. They could afford a one-bedroom condo where they live, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for around $900,000, she figures. Her American money would buy them a nice condo in Vancouver, too. Although health care is a major advantage, she questions whether she’d make much of a living as an artist if she returned.

“I think about it,” she says. “But I worry I wouldn’t get work if I came back. I also think my work has changed. I don’t know if there’s an audience there for it.”

It’s become routine for political leaders and members of the real estate industry to cite Vancouver’s stature as a “world-class city” as one of the reasons for the region’s affordability crisis; all big, popular cities endure it. B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman has said that, compared to “other major cities worldwide,” Vancouver is “pretty reasonable.”
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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly notes the import of journalism, even now.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the bright spots of Ceres.

  • D-Brief looks at gravitational wave astronomy in space and notes that fish can recognize faces.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at some groovy French playing cards from the 1960s.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes the permanent deployment of more Russian forces to the Ukrainian border.

  • Joe. My. God. reports a claim by a New York state legislator that a bishop tried to bribe her to drop her support for child abuse reform legislation.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at the claim that perceived anti-Hispanic policies in California helped kill the Republican Party there, and finds it interestingly wanting.

  • Savage Minds examines the decolonization of anthropology in the Pacific islands.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Russians are not interested in fighting over the Baltic States.

  • Arnold Zwicky remembers his lovers and the roses he loved.

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  • Bloomberg considers wind power off of Long Island, looks at Odebrecht's progress despite high-level arrests, and notes New Zealand's criticism of China's maritime expansionism.

  • Bloomberg View notes that Germany is a country thoroughly opposed to genocide.

  • The CBC notes the Tragically Hip tickets have sold out, and looks at ice melt in Antarctica.

  • MacLean's notes the mounting of a monument in Moncton to the three RCMP officers recently killed there.

  • The National Post notes that Iraqi Kurds want to be armed, looks at how Calgary is a center for language change in Canadian English, and looks at how Australians want Canada to take in refugees.

  • Wired looks at the Louvre's defenses against flooding.

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  • Bloomberg looks at Argentina's push for renewable energy, reports on Rosatom's interest in developing South Africa as an entry into the African nuclear market, writes about China's opposition to anything remotely like separatism in Hong Kong, and looks at Poland's demand for an apology for Bill Clinton critical of the new government.

  • Bloomberg View notes the importance of honest statistics in Brazil, and calls for American arms sales to a friendly Vietnam.

  • CBC notes new Conservative support for a transgender rights bill and reports on how Ontario's climate policy will hit Alberta's natural gas exports.

  • Gizmodo notes Portugal has just managed to power itself entirely on renewable energy for four days.

  • The Inter Press Service describes the Middle Eastern refugee crisis.

  • The National Post looks at a proposed New York State ban on declawing cats.

  • Open Democracy reports on Norway's EU status via a left-leaning Norwegian, looks at the life of Daniel Berrigan, and notes the emergent Saudi-Indian alliance.

  • Universe Today describes the circumstellar habitable zones of red giants.

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  • Bloomberg notes that Alberta's oil camps are set to revive quickly and looks at Uruguay's venture onto global caviar markets.

  • Bloomberg View argues that the US military buildup in Europe is unnecessary and talks about reducing urban inequality.

  • CBC notes controversy over forcing women to wear high-heeled shoes and considers the import and scale of Russia's doping scandal.

  • The Globe and Mail interviews prolific author James Patterson.

  • MacLean's notes how the Parti Québécois' cycles of self-destruction hurt Québec's politics.

  • The National Post reports of a FBI raid of an Orthodox school in New York's Kiryas Joel.

  • Wired argues California's drought is likely permanent and notes the impending mass introduction of electronic paper.

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  • The Australian Financial Review warns that Brazil should try to avoid the trajectory of Italy from the 1990s on in falling prey to Berlusconi-like populism.

  • Bookforum looks at the very early history of word processing for writers.

  • Bloomberg View suggests that an inflexible China is on its way towards a Japan-style slump.

  • CTV News reports on despair among Newfoundlanders after the province's new budget.

  • The Financial Times notes how allegedly hiding a billion dollars' worth of debt cost Mozambique significantly with the IMF.

  • Foreign Policy looks at the distancing between the United States and Saudi Arabia under Obama.

  • Kate Beaton at Hark A Vagrant considers the implication of Dagger's frankly unwearable uniform.

  • Mashalla News reports on Portuguese-speaking communities in Lebanon, product of migration by Brazilians of Lebanese background.

  • New York's Jonathan Chait is critical of Sanders' approach as he is losing, while Vox visits Sanders' upstate New York stronghold of Ithaca.

  • Australia's SBS looks at immigrants whose ancestral countries no longer exist. How do they identify?

  • The Toronto Star looks at the impact of climate change on the agriculture of the Prairies.

  • Wired notes the struggle of Pinterest to move on from being an American platform to being a global one.

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If, as Paul Attfield suggests in The Globe and Mail, Buffalo is starting to revive this is all for the good. I just hope that the growth will be inclusive of everyone in the city.

For sports fans, Buffalo might be best known as the home of the National Football League’s Bills and National Hockey League’s Sabres, which have the unenviable record of a combined zero wins and six losses in championship series. For others, Buffalo might be known as the third poorest city in the United States, trailing only Cleveland and Detroit, and yet one more example of a former industrial behemoth fallen on hard times in the heart of the U.S. rust belt.

But something seems to be stirring in Western New York. The area is undergoing more than $5.5-billion (U.S.) in new economic development, mostly in downtown Buffalo. Projects such as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the recreational facilities at the Canalside park and SolarCity’s gigafactory, the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere, are generating more than 12,000 new jobs over the next three years.

“It’s a really good problem to have and it’s changed the way we think about our community,” says Thomas Kucharski, president and chief executive officer of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a private, non-profit economic development organization. “We went from the whole four Super Bowls and two [Stanley] Cups and woe is us to [now] where people are a lot more optimistic than they have been.”

The business community buoys a large part of that optimism, with mixed-use buildings in the city – either proposed, under construction or completed – representing more than $990-million of investment. Among those are Avant, Buffalo’s first mixed-use hotel-office-luxury condominium high rise situated in a former federal building, and the Larkin Center of Commerce, which was previously a soap factory and is now home to almost 100 businesses and service providers.

The seven-storey Conventus Center for Collaborative Medicine, part of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, was completed last year by Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. on a two-acre site. Located on the northern edge of Buffalo’s central business district, Conventus will act as the link between the University at Buffalo school of medicine and biomedical sciences and John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, when they are completed.
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In his latest Historicist feature, "Banned in Buffalo", Jamie Bradburn notes how some Toronto teens' appearance on a Buffalo television dance show caused a shameful amount of upset here in Toronto. Racism is Canadian.

To a few irate viewers of WGR’s Dance Party, two Toronto teenagers had travelled down the QEW to commit an offensive act live on Buffalo television. The sight of a black boy and white girl dancing together on an early Saturday afternoon in May 1959 was too much to handle. Rather than ignore the complainants, host Pat Fagan alleviated their concerns. The kids from up north should have known better—as he later suggested, they should have followed the old adage “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

It began with the best of intentions. Two members of Malvern Collegiate’s student council, Don Schrank and Margo Taylor, felt most of the school’s social events were geared toward the upper grades. With no help from the school’s administration, they organized a bus trip for 46 students, mostly juniors, to appear on Dance Party on May 23, 1959. Among the participants was 15-year-old Clayton Johnston, who played trumpet in the school band and had won several track trophies. According to the Globe and Mail, Clayton and his sister Carol were the only black students at Malvern at the time.

When the “spotlight dance” segment arrived, Clayton paired off with another 15-year-old, Patty Banks. Fagan estimated up to eight callers complained about the interracial pair. He approached Schrank’s mother Muriel, who was chaperoning the kids, to do something about Johnston and Banks. He suggested that it “would be a good idea” if Clayton wasn’t on camera.

Mrs. Schrank was flabbergasted.

Such calls reflected recent racial tensions in Buffalo. Black migration into the city grew following the Second World War, and was accompanied by white flight into the suburbs during the 1950s. Areas they settled into, such as the Ellicott District east of downtown, were subjected to urban renewal plans. An interracial riot among Buffalo teens at Crystal Beach amusement park near Fort Erie in 1956 provided plenty of fuel for the fears of anxious whites. “In the midst of a growing civil rights movement and rising rates of juvenile delinquency,” historian Virginia Wolcott notes in her book Race, Riots and Roller Coasters, “community elites deemed that interracial subculture subversive. To them the Crystal Beach riot suggested that integration was not merely subversive but potentially destructive.” Those fears weren’t alleviated by the rise of rock n’ roll—popular white WKBW DJ George “Hound Dog” Lorenz built a following promoting black acts to mixed audiences, and broadcast live from black clubs.

After receiving the news, Clayton left the studio. The Star noted that he walked for a mile in the rain to “cool off” before returning to WGR to watch the rest of the show in the lounge with a station employee. The other kids were stunned, though it took a while to realize what had happened. “Hardly anyone knew about it until the program was three-quarters over,” Valerie Taw told the Star. “If we had known earlier, drastic measures would have been taken.”

Clayton’s parents watched him and Banks dance back in Toronto, and noticed something was amiss. “Then we didn’t see him again and we thought something like this had happened,” his father Leonard told the Globe and Mail. “Over there they don’t seem to realize that they have a responsibility to allow mixed dancing even if a few of their listeners to call. Only a crackpot would complain.” Banks’s mother called it a “very unfortunate incident” and noted to the press how upset her daughter was.
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Eric Adams' Wired article examines how, exactly, the "dewatering" of the American section of Niagara Falls is going to take place.

This round of dewatering needs to happen so engineers with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation can scrap two 115-year-old bridges that have reached—well, exceeded—the end of their useful lives. The bridges cross the Niagara River above the American Falls, and were built to carry cars, trolleys, and pedestrians between the town of Niagara Falls and Goat Island, one of the prime viewing spots for both the American and Horseshoe falls.

They’ve slowly deteriorated since being built between 1900 and 1901, and in 2005, an examination revealed “that restoration of the existing concrete was no longer considered feasible,” the State said in a report detailing the proposal. That year, engineers shut off access to the aging structures and installed temporary truss bridges on top of the stone-clad spans, which carry pedestrians only. Those structures limit visibility of the rapids—the original bridges were specifically designed to be low so visitors could get close to the rushing water below—and are widely considered eyesores. They “provide an aesthetically unappealing experience for park visitors,” the State said in its report.

New York’s considering three options for their permanent replacements: a precast concrete arched design that closely resembles the current bridges, steel girder bridges that are simpler and more linear, and tied arch bridges with vertical cables supporting the surface from above. The concrete arched design is considered the favorite, though the final selection won’t happen for some time. Whatever the plan, it can’t be done with roughly 30,000 cubic feet of water flowing by every second.


Also TBD is how long the American Falls will be “off.” The State’s considering two options. It may demolish the current bridges and build the foundations for the new ones during a five-month dewatering, then complete the upper structures over the next year, after water flow has been restored, in an attempt to minimize disruption to the park. Or, it could dewater the falls for nine months, and build the bridges in their entirety in that time. Whatever it decides, nothing’s happening tomorrow. “It’ll be three years at the soonest before work begins, but more likely five, six, or seven,” says parks spokesperson Angela Berti.

Shutting off the flow of water is actually a relatively simple operation—and at $3 million, a modest element of the anticipated $27 million project. Engineers will build a cofferdam between the upstream tip of Goat Island and the US mainland, a distance of just 350 feet. A cofferdam is, as the name suggests, a type of dam, used to enclose part of a body of water (once it’s in place, the water inside is pumped out, leaving it dry inside). The State hasn’t revealed details of how long it will take to build the thing, but the 1969 cofferdam spanned about 600 feet and was made up of 28,000 tons of rock and earth, placed in the river by bulldozers and dump trucks.

Made of boulders, gravel, and other landfill, the 21st century temporary enclosure will slow water headed for the American Falls to a trickle, directing the full river’s flow over Horseshoe.

Engineers are planning to ensure the dewatering wouldn’t affect water levels above Horseshoe, or adversely affect wildlife on the American Falls side, since there are relatively modest lengths of coastline there, and the massive waterfall isn’t home to any significant aquatic populations. Nevertheless, state scientists will monitor environmental impacts, both in terms of wildlife and the potential erosion of the nearby shorelines receiving the extra water.

When the falls dry up, the effect will be the equivalent of looking under your sofa for the first time in decades. When crews shut down the falls in 1969, they found two bodies and millions of coins, most of which were removed. (As were the human remains, of course.) But in the last 50 years, tourism at Niagara has grown wildly. The possibilities are endless—more coins, yes, but also lost cell phones, cameras, baby strollers, errant drones, and whatever else could be thrown or dropped by careless, thoughtless, or mischievous visitors. There is, of course, the possibility of human remains being discovered again—though there are no individuals known to have jumped or fallen in who haven’t been recovered.
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The Buffalo News' Nancy Fischer notes that the American side of the Niagara Falls may end up temporarily diverted, to allow for construction and repair work. I hope I will be able to see it.

New York State plans to shut off the thundering waters of Niagara Falls – again. At least, the American side of the falls. This “once in a lifetime” event actually may take place twice in some folks’ lifetimes. The New York State parks system wants to turn off the falls on the American side sometime in the next two to three years to replace two 115-year-old stone arch bridges that allow pedestrians, park vehicles and utilities access to Goat Island.

The proposal to “dewater” the falls will be presented at a public hearing Wednesday at the Niagara Falls Conference Center. Two of three plans propose a temporary shutdown of the American Falls.

The American Falls was slowed to a trickle in 1969 to study the effects of erosion and buildup of rock at the base of the falls. When that happened, people came from all over the world to see the falls turned off, said Michelle Kratts, who served as Niagara Falls city historian until this past December.

“It’s the nature of curiosity. You want to see what’s underneath, to see its skeleton,” Kratts said.
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Jason Diamond's "Magic Mountains" does a great job introducing, to a non-Jewish reader like me, the story of the largely Jewish tourism resorts in New York's Catskill mountains.

Although there had been Jews living and owning property in the region since 1773, when a lessee known as “Jacob the Jew” took control of land near Woodstock, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that those who had escaped the shtetls of Eastern Europe made their way first from Ellis Island, then through crowded New York City streets, and finally to the region’s peaceful farms, an area similar to their homeland. In 1883, the Hungarian-born Charles Fleischmann, founder of Fleischmann’s Yeast, (“the present-day equivalent of an industrial, biotech empire,” explains a Fleischmann descendant) purchased 60 acres of land, thinking the mountain air would be good for his respiratory problems. While the Catskills boasted plenty of mountaintop hotels that were popular among people of means, they were reserved for “the Wall Street and Tammany Hall power brokers who partook of the rarefied Victorian elegance at the Christian resorts.” The gentile hotel owners banded together, producing a sort of gentleman’s agreement summed up in 1877 by the owner of the Grand Union Hotel, Judge Henry Hilton (no relation to the hotelier), instituting the rule that “no Israelites should be permitted to stop at this hotel.” Several more hotels followed suit with similar slogans: “No Hebrews Need Apply” and “Jews and Dogs Are Not Welcome.”

By the turn of the century, a new sign would start to appear outside of up-and-coming hotels: “Dietary Laws Observed.” As Jews slowly started to buy up inexpensive property in the area, families realized they could make a living by entertaining fellow Jews who couldn’t afford to move out of the city, but who wanted a little time to relax in the country. The Grossingers owned a popular Lower East Side restaurant that served kosher food, and like Fleischmann before him, Selig Grossinger, suffered from fatigue living and working in the city and saw the Catskills as the perfect place to resettle. Grossinger was of more modest means than the wealthy Fleischmann, and he purchased 35 acres of land in the town of Ferndale, moving his entire family to a landscape that looked just like his birthplace in the Austrian Empire.

When Prohibition ended in 1933, the Catskills had been developed in large part by a number of Jewish gangsters and bootleggers, some of whom, like Waxey Gordon, filtered the money they made into new resorts and hotels. During the World War II, Grossinger’s would become the gold standard, other resorts, including The Concord, Hotel Brickman, and many others, prospered as a playground for upwardly-mobile Jews who came to enjoy fresh air, golf, dancing, great food, and most of all, entertainment. The list of comedians who tested their material out on the notoriously tough crowds is like a who’s who of twentieth-century American comedy: Jack Benny, Joan Rivers, Shecky Greene, Woody Allen, Phyllis Diller, and nearly every big name from the vaudeville circuit, radio, the early days of television, and the Yiddish theater.
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The Dragon's Tales linked to a Eurekalert report looking at the extent to which Native Americans had extensively modified their forest environment in upstate New York.

A new study by University at Buffalo geographers explores how humans altered the arboreal make-up of Western New York forests before European settlers arrived in large numbers.

The research looked at land survey data from around 1799-1814, and used this information to model which tree species were present in different areas of Chautauqua County, New York, at that time.

The analysis placed hickory, chestnut and oak trees in larger-than-expected numbers near the historical sites of Native American villages, said co-author Steve Tulowiecki, who conducted the research as a geography PhD candidate at the University at Buffalo and is now an adjunct lecturer of geography at SUNY Geneseo. This finding is important because these species produce edible nuts, and are also more likely than many other trees to survive fires.

"Our results contribute to the conversation about how natural or humanized the landscape of America was when Europeans first arrived," Tulowiecki said. "Our society has competing views about this: On one hand, there is the argument that it was a wilderness relatively untouched by man. Recently, we've had this perspective challenged, with some saying that the landscape was dramatically altered, particularly through burning and other clearance practices."

The findings of the new research -- more fire-tolerant, large-nut-bearing trees than expected within about 15 kilometers of village sites -- suggest that Native American communities in the study area modified the forest in ways that favored those species, Tulowiecki said. He noted that flame-sensitive beech and sugar maples, which burn readily in forest fires, appeared in smaller numbers than expected near village sites.
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Reuters reports on a community in upstate New York, founded in the 1980s by African-American Muslims and thriving, in the aftermath of a recently-revealed plot to attack it.

Just beyond the gated entrance to the tiny Catskills community of Holy Islamberg, population 200, cows graze and ducks glide on a tranquil pond. Modest houses of wood and cinder block sit along the hamlet’s single thoroughfare, a rutted dirt road without traffic signs.

Islamberg sits about 150 miles northwest of New York City, but the small enclave of Muslim families living on shared land feels a world away from city life, which is what its founders intended 30 years ago, when they established the hamlet on 70 acres of pasture land and dense woods in upstate New York.

Last month, however, the community’s serenity was disrupted by news that a Tennessee man had pleaded guilty to charges of plotting an attack on Islamberg and its residents.

Formed by a group of African-American Muslims from New York City, the community follows the teachings of Pakistani Sufi cleric Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, who during the 1980s urged his American acolytes to leave metropolitan areas and establish rural communities centered on religious life.

Today, Islamberg is one of about a dozen Muslim enclaves formed in accordance with the cleric’s ideas. It also serves as home to Muslims of America, a Gilani-founded organization.
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Gothamist featured Jordan G. Teicher's article describing how the upstate New York State city of Buffalo is thriving, an affordable community attracting migrants from across the United States as it recovers from its post-industrial nadir. (An implicit contrast is with an unaffordable New York City.)

I do have to go one of these days.

According to census data analyzed by the New York Times, from 2000 to 2012 the number of college graduates between the ages of 25 and 34 in Buffalo jumped 34%—more than Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

If moving to New York City is like dating the most popular kid in your high school only to discover "all the blemishes that aren't visible when gazed upon from a distance," then Buffalonians will tell you that moving to their city is like dating the girl next door who's undergoing a She's All That-style transformation.

In 1900, Buffalo was the eighth largest city in the country and had the most millionaires per capita in the world. In the first half of the 20th century, with the opening of the Barge Canal, Buffalo’s shipping and manufacturing boomed. The city was also the world’s largest supplier of grain. Things started to unravel in the 1960s after the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway; shipping went elsewhere, and eventually so did other industries. Over the next couple decades, the city’s population plummeted, and many homes and buildings were left vacant.

Part of attracting a younger demographic involves filling in those vacancies through programs like the Buffalo Building Re-Use Project, which provides loans for businesses to improve property downtown, and the Urban Homesteading Program, which offers $1.00 abandoned homes for qualified applicants.

It also requires jobs. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged a so-called “Buffalo Billion” for economic development in the city. The continued construction on the state-of-the-art Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is bringing new jobs and development to the surrounding downtown area. And sometime next year, Elon Musk’s SolarCity, a $750 million factory designed to produce high-efficiency solar panels, will employ thousands.

All these initiatives are starting to pay off. According to The Buffalo News, incomes in the Buffalo Niagara region grew about 1.5% a year (after inflation) between 2003 and 2013—double the average annual increase nationwide during that time. In 2003, per capita personal income in the region was 11% lower than the national average, but by the end of 2013, it was $44,301, just 1% less.
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  • blogTO notes that television comedian John Oliver called for Doug Ford's election, to amuse the rest of the world.

  • Centauri Dreams considers philosophical considerations to SETI.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper simulating the tides and currents of the seas of Titan.

  • Eastern Approaches notes the generally pro-European results of the Ukrainian general election.

  • Far Outliers' Joel notes that dozens of Hawaiians were actively involved as combatants in the US Civil War.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that upstate New York is not like Alabama.

  • Steve Munro offers new mayor John Tory friendly advice on transit in Toronto.

  • pollotenchegg maps the results of the Ukrainian elections.

  • Spacing Toronto's John Lorinc touches upon the many issues not raised in the Toronto elections juyst concluded.

  • Torontoist notes the worrying ascent of anti-Muslim sentiment in Toronto's elections.

  • Towleroad looks at homophobia and violence in Serbia and Macedonia.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if Facebook is a secure enough means of communication for a Facebook message to be legally adequate to let a potential father know of a partner's pregnancy.

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The Toronto Star's Vanessa Lu the continuing successful efforts of Buffalo Niagara International Airport to court Canadian travellers on the basis of lower costs.

With millions of Canadians already flocking to U.S. airports in search of cheaper flights, the Buffalo airport is launching a marketing campaign to woo even more passengers.

While Canadian airports and airlines have complained about the millions in lost revenues when travellers head south of the border to catch flights, the Americans see it differently.

“It’s not a negative thing. We have been serving the Canadian market since forever,” said Pascal Cohen, senior marketing manager for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, who was in Toronto on Tuesday to make his pitch to reporters.

Cohen notes that he, like many other residents of Western New York, will go in the opposite direction, using the Toronto airport to fly to international destinations. “You wouldn’t use the Buffalo airport to go to Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“We’re like conjoined twins,” he argued. “It’s a contiguous marketplace. There just happens to be a border.”
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NPR's David Greene describes how manufacturing is taking off again in the upstate New York city of Rochester, just across Lake Ontario from Toronto. The catch? The new manufacturing industries are not nearly labour-intensive enough to absorb the unemployed and underemployed blue-collar workers who worked in the manufacturing industries of old.

For decades Rochester was Kodak.

At its peak in the 1980s, Kodak employed 60,000 people in the city. Today, it's just 2,300. It's been a painful collapse. And once again, in 2014, Rochester is trying to use its fertile soil to grow something new.

"Nobody ever wants to let go, obviously, not of something like Kodak that not only was so dominant, but had such a quality brand name. But, recognizing that we have to, we've moved on and created new things — new prospects for the future, building on what we had in the past," [historian Carolyn] Vacca says.

There are former Kodak employees at work in new places — like Exelis, which makes parts that may be in the Thirty Meter Telescope, one of the largest. When complete, it will peer out beyond the Milky Way, to the edge of the observable universe — 13 billion light-years away.

Mike Ognenovski, who is now with Exelis, worked at Kodak for 27 years, and sees parallels between the two companies. For example, Exelis uses polishers on its glass to make lenses, machines similar to ones used at Kodak on its camera lenses.

"The tradition is there. It just has another name. Now we're called Exelis," Ognenovski says. "The Kodak heritage technology that was there, that is essentially in the bedrock of what Kodak stood for back when George Eastman built it, is still there."

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