- The Inter Press Service observes the quest of the Maldives for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in this time of sea level rise.
- The NYR Daily reports on a new take on the revolutionary hope and failure of early 1980s Grenada.
- Bloomberg notes how Singapore is becoming a major destination for Indian tourists, in its own right and as a regional centre.
- Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes a new study suggesting some hypervelocity stars were ejected from the Large Magellanic Cloud.
- Crooked Timber's John Holbo wonders how else Trump can transgress the norms of the presidency.
- The Crux notes the exceptional hardiness of the tardigrade. These forms of life might well outlive the sun.
- Gizmodo notes the evidence for a recently frozen subsurface ocean on Pluto's Charon.
- Joe. My. God. notes the Israeli government's effective, if confused, opposition to same-sex adoption.
- Unicorn Booty looks at the significant impact RuPaul's Drag Race has on music sales.
- Window on Eurasia notes how Putin's political allies have been having trouble coming up with a positive future.
- 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.
- Centauri Dreams looks at the potentially deadly effect of the stellar flares of red dwarfs on potentially habitable exoplanets.
- Charley Ross notes the strange 1957 disappearance of William ad Margaret Patterson from their Texas home.
- D-Brief notes the evidence for a second planet at Proxima Centauri, a super-Earth Proxima C with a 215 day orbit.
- Tom Yulsman of ImaGeo shares shares photos of the active Sun.
- The argument made by Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns and Money that Americans were learning to love Obamacare and Republicans wanted to take it away before they got used to it ... well.
- Marginal Revolution notes that, and why, restaurant servers in Maine wanted their minimum wage lowered. (Tips.)
- Roads and Kingdoms shares the story of Na De Fo, a rare Korean restaurant in Mexico City.
- The NYR Daily looks at how Macron might try to "California-ize" France, and whether he could pull this off.
- Unicorn Booty notes studies noting bisexuals have a lower quality of life than gays, and wonders why. (Stigma is an issue.)
- Window on Eurasia notes that global warming, by leading to permafrost melt, is literally undermining the infrastructure of Russia.
- Ars Technica recommends five sights on the British coast to see before they are erased by global warming.
- This Syracuse.com report about the upstate New York town of Sandy Creek, beset by Lake Ontario flooding, is alarming.
- VICE's Kate Lunau notes the serious threat posed by sea level rise to coastal Canadian centres, from Halifax to Vancouver.
- Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic notes that the US South, already badly off, will be hit hard by global warming.
- Roads and Kingdoms shares Dave Hazzan's reflections on the yougurt-type (but non-yogurt) Icelandic foodstuff skyr.
- VICE reports on the scene from Glasgow after the launch of the city Tim Horton's in Scotland.
- Bloomberg features Javiera Quiroga's take on the migration of Chilean vintners south ahead of climate change.
- VICE notes that climate change will wreck the favourite coastline locations of surfers.
- Dave Rothery describes at The Conversation how protecting against space probes' environmental contamination challenges exploration.
- The CBC u>notes the consensus that the new Ontario minimum wage will not hurt the economy, overall, but provide a mild boost.
- The Toronto Star notes that, from 2019, analog television broadcasts will start ramping down.
- The Toronto Star notes that high prices in Ontario's cottage country are causing the market to expand to new areas.
- Gizmodo reports on one study suggesting that Proxima Centauri b does have the potential to support Earth-like climates.
- Gizmodo notes one study speculating on the size of Mars' vanished oceans.
- Quartz reports on how one community in Alaska and one community in Louisiana are facing serious pressures from climate change and from the political reaction to said.
- CBC notes an oil platform leaving Newfoundland for the oceans.
- The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.
- blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.
- Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
- Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs' challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.
- The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country's history of emigration.
- The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn's smaller moons.
- The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus' religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.
- Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin's famous quote about what parents do to their children.
- Centauri Dreams looks at evidence that Ceres' Occator Crater, an apparent cryovolcano, may have been recently active.
- Crooked Timber's John Quiggin wonders what would have happened had Kerensky accepted the German Reichstag's proposal in 1917.
- Dangerous Minds looks at some fun that employees at a bookstore in France got up to with book covers.
- Cody Delistraty describes F. Scott Fitzgerald's utter failure to fit into Hollywood.
- A Fistful of Euros hosts Alex Harrowell's blog post taking a look at recent history from a perspective of rising populism.
- io9 reports on a proposal from the Chinese city of Lanzhou to set up a water pipeline connecting it to Siberia's Lake Baikal.
- Imageo notes a recent expedition by Norwegian scientists aiming at examining the winter ice.
- Strange Maps links to an amazing graphic mapping the lexical distances between Europe's languages.
- Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is on the verge of a new era of population decline, and shares a perhaps alarming perspective on the growth of Muslim populations in Russia.
- Centauri Dreams notes the sad news that, because of the destructive way in which the stellar activity of young red dwarfs interacts with oxygen molecules in exoplanet atmospheres, Proxima Centauri b is likely not Earth-like.
- Crooked Timber takes issue with the idea of Haidt that conservatives are uniquely interested in the idea of purity.
- D-Brief notes the discovery of an intermediate-mass black hole in the heart of 47 Tucanae.
- The Dragon's Tales reports on the search for Planet Nine.Far Outliers reports on the politics in 1868 of the first US Indian Bureau.
- Imageo maps the depletion of sea ice in the Arctic.
- Language Hat remembers the life of linguist Patricia Crampton.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes some of the potential pitfalls involved with Buy American campaigns (and like political programs in other countries), including broad-based xenophobia.
- The LRB Blog looks at nationalism and identity in their intersections with anti-Muslim sentiment in Québec.
- The Map Room Blog links to an essay on the last unmapped places.
- Torontoist notes the 2017 Toronto budget is not going to support affordable housing.
- Transit Toronto reports on TTC revisions to its schedules owing to shortfalls in equipment, like buses.
- Window on Eurasia claims that Putin needs a successful war in Ukraine to legitimize his rule, just as Nicholas II needed a victory to save Tsarism.
The Guardian is the latest news organization to cover the erosion of Lennox Island, chief Mi'kmaq reserve on Prince Edward Island, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Ashifa Kassam's article. Between erosion and rising sea levels, it's an open question as to whether one of the most noteworthy centres of Mi'kmaq culture left can last to the end of the century.
His hands tucked tightly in the pockets of his jeans, Gilbert Sark nodded at the ice-covered bay stretched out before him.
Decades ago, his grandfather – at the time one of the few in this First Nations community to own a truck – would spend winters ferrying people across the frozen bay to Prince Edward Island. One wintry day, the truck hit a patch of soft ice, sending it plunging into the frigid waters below.
His grandfather didn’t make it out of the truck in time. “That bay has claimed a lot of people,” said Sark. “Now it’s claiming land.”
For as long as anyone can remember, life on Lennox Island – a community of some 450 people on the east coast of Canada – has been set to the rhythm of the waters that lap its shores of red sand. But climate change is drastically altering this relationship, sending sea levels rising, pelting the small island with fiercer and more frequent storms and bringing warmer winters that eat away at the ice cover that traditionally protected the shores for months at a time.
The result is impossible to ignore. “We’re losing our island,” said Sark. A survey of the island carried out in 1880 counted 1,520 acres of land. In 2015, surveyors mapped out 1,100 acres of land on Lennox Island – suggesting more than 300 football fields worth of land have been swallowed by the sea within the span of a few generations.
Sark pointed to the shoreline next to the cemetery where his mother and many other members of his family are buried. “There used to be a field right there. We used to play football in that area.”
The community recently spent tens of thousands of dollars to save the graveyard from the encroaching waters, building a wall made up of three layers of rock. “They had to fix it or there would be caskets going out into our bay,” said Sark. “It was that close.”
The scars of the island’s battle against climate change are visible across this low-lying island. Local people recall playing baseball where boats now bob in the water; homes that once sat 20ft from the shore now teeter precariously close to the sea. The shoreline has crept up to the edges of the community’s decade-old sewage lagoon, sparking concerns that a storm surge could send waste into Malpeque Bay, a world-renowned site for harvesting oysters.
NPR's Tegan Wendland reports on how rising sea levels, arguably felt more in low-lying Louisiana than elsewhere, are contributing to the literal erosion of the state's history.
Louisiana is losing its coast at a rapid rate because of rising sea levels, development and sinking marshland. Officials are trying to rebuild those marshes and the wetlands, but much of the coast can't be saved. This makes Louisiana's history an unwitting victim. As land disappears and the water creeps inland, ancient archaeology sites are washing away, too.
Richie Blink was born and raised in Plaquemines Parish, La. — way down south of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. Now he works for the National Wildlife Federation.
[. . .]
What's locally known as the "Lemon Trees" is a stand of weathered old trees on a grassy tuft of land. It's a well-known landmark for fishermen, but Blink says they would rarely stop there to hunt or fish because it's a sacred Native American site.
"The legend goes that you were always to bring some kind of sacrifice, so somebody left some lemons for the ancestors," Blink says.
And those grew into big trees with grapefruit-sized lemons. But as land was lost to the Gulf of Mexico, saltwater made its way into the freshwater marsh, killing off the trees and other plants.
The trees stand like skeletons on the edge of this scrappy, wind-beaten island. Waves beat against the dirt, washing it away, exposing shards of ancient pottery.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about the importance of showing up for major events.
- Crooked Timber looks at e-publishing for academia.
- Dead Things notes that the evolution of the human brain and human teeth were not linked.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to two papers about ocean worlds and greenhouse effects.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the hopeful seasteaders of French Polynesia.
- Towleroad looks at the life of a trans man in the mid-20th century.
- Window on Eurasia shares a Catalonian linguists' argument that linguistic diversity helps minority languages.
- Arnold Zwicky reflects on the gay cowboy scene.
- blogTO notes that a Vancouver nerd bar is opening up shop in Toronto.
- Dangerous Minds provides its readers with a take on an upcoming Tom of Finland biopic.
- The Dragon's Tales notes that Enceladus seems altogether too hot and notes that dwarf planet Makemake seems to have a surprisingly uniform surface.
- Far Outliers looks at Afghanistan and Poland at the end of the 1970s.
- Language Log explores the evolution of the term "dongle".
- Marginal Revolution wonders if Donald Trump is guided by his thinking in the 1980s about a Soviet-American condominium.
- Torontoist looks at the Toronto's century house plaques come to be.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Russian media outside of Russia are gaining in influence and talks about modern Russia as a new sort of "evil empire".
Joe. My. God. and Towleroad each respond to the untimely death of George Michael.
Astronomy's Shannon Stirone describes how Ceres has been confirmed as being a water-rich world, if not a world with actual oceans.
Ceres is best known for being the biggest rocky body in the entire asteroid belt, now considered a dwarf planet. The sister to the likes of Pluto, Eris and Makemake, Ceres is turning out to be more complex than scientists initially thought.
When the Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around Ceres in 2015, its mission was to study the planet since it can provide clues about the formation of our solar system and what that environment was like billions of years ago. The team thought they had a chance of finding ice on Ceres, since many asteroids are icy clumps of rock, but they never had evidence of it until now.
In an announcement yesterday at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, researchers say they’ve found frozen water ice on the surface of Ceres, stored in its persistently shadowed craters in something called a cold trap.
Ceres, like our moon and Mercury, has a mild axial tilt, so the foot of the craters at their northern regions never see the sun, making sure that whatever water is there, stays put, and it's likely stayed that way for the last few billion years. The temperature of these craters can get below -260 Fahrenheit, just cold enough that it can take a billion years for the water to turn to vapor.
“These studies support the idea that ice separated from rock early in Ceres’ history,” says Dawn Project Scientist Carol Raymond. “ This separation formed an ice-rich crustal layer, and that ice has remained near the surface over the history of the solar system.”
- 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.
- Beyond the Beyond notes how astronomers are now collecting dust from space in their gutters, without needing to go to Antarctica.
- blogTO notes the many lost dairies of mid-20th century Toronto.
- The Dragon's Gaze looks at how volatiles freeze out in protoplanetary disks.
- The Dragon's Tales links to a paper considering the exploration of ocean worlds.
- Far Outliers links to a report of a Cossack mercenary working in North America for the British in the War of American Independence.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the grave and the life of Homer Plessy.
- Steve Munro looks at some possibly worrisome service changes for the TTC.
- pollotenchegg notes trends in urbanization in post-1970 Ukraine.
- Strange Maps looks at a scone map of the British Isles.
CBC News's Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja's photo essay "'It's a little scary': On Lennox Island, no one debates whether climate change is real" tells the sad story of how Lennox Island, PEI's main Mi'kmaq reserve, is being eaten away by a rising sea.
Rising sea levels, storm surges and coastal erosion threaten its very existence; an estimated 300 football fields of land have already fallen into the sea.
In Canada, Lennox Island is a place where you can see the effects of climate change happening right now — and it's a community preparing for a changing world.
Scientists agree that the world's climate has warmed over the past 120 years and that the warming is a result of human activities. The effects of this change in climate include melting ice caps, rising sea levels, drought in some parts of the world and extreme storms in other areas.
Looking west from the shores of Lennox Island sits the shining waters of Malpeque Bay. Locals say they used to play baseball where boats now float.
Gilbert Sark, 37, has skipped rocks on Lennox Island's beaches since he was a little kid. Today he's the comprehensive community planner for the island.
A generation ago, Sark says, Lennox Island measured 1,300 acres. Now it is down to 1,100. "We lose Lennox, we lose a lot," he says.
"Honestly, I worry about Lennox Island not being here … In my son's and my daughter's generation, maybe my grandkids' generation, there may be no Lennox Island. It will be eroding away if something is not done."
- Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith writes about Christmas cards and memory.
- blogTO notes the impending expansion of the Drake Hotel.
- The Broadside Blog describes a documentary, The Eagle Huntress, about a Mongolian teenage girl who becomes a hunter using eagles, that sounds spectacular.
- Crooked Timber asks readers to help a teenager who has been arrested by the LAPD.
- Dangerous Minds notes some weird monsters from Japanese folklore.
- The Dragon's Tales suggests that the Hellas basin hides the remnants of its ocean.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the finding that Russia was trying to get Trump elected.
- The Volokh Conspiracy considers the issue of hate speech and immigration.
- Window on Eurasia quotes a former Ukrainian president who argues Russia does not want to restore the Soviet Union so much as it wants to dominate others.
- The Yorkshire Ranter notes how the Daily Telegraph is recommending its readers use tax shelters.
- Arnold Zwicky looks at the language of side-eye and stink-eye.
Tyler Cowen's Bloomberg View article about seasteading was picked up by the National Post. I think he's correct in arguing that seasteading should not be seen as a way to escape from community, mainly, but that it should instead be seen as a way to escape to some other place. Whether or not it is viable is another question entirely.
Following the election of Donald Trump, some Americans are asking whether they should move to Canada. Yet a more radical idea is re-emerging as a vehicle for political liberty, namely seasteading. That’s the founding of new and separate governance units on previously unoccupied territory, possibly on the open seas.
Imagine, for instance, autonomously governed sea platforms, with a limited number of citizens selling health and financial services to the rest of the world. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence might make the construction and settlement of such institutions more practical than it seemed 15 years ago.
Although seasteading is sometimes viewed as an extension of self-indulgent Silicon Valley utopianism, we should not dismiss the idea too quickly. Variants on seasteading led to the founding of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with the caveat that conquest was involved, as these territories were not unsettled at the time. Circa 2016, there is a potential seasteading experiment due in French Polynesia. The melting of the Arctic ice may open up new areas for human settlement. Chinese construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea raises the prospect that the private sector, or a more liberty-oriented government, might someday do the same. Along more speculative lines, there is talk about someday colonizing Mars or even Titan, a moon of Saturn.
Seasteading obviously faces significant obstacles. The eventual constraint is probably not technology in the absolute sense, but whether there is enough economic motive to forsake the benefits of densely populated human settlements and the protection of traditional nation-states. Many nations have effective corporate tax rates in the 10- to 20-per cent range, which doesn’t seem confiscatory enough to take to the high seas for economic motives alone.
Furthermore, current outposts such as Dubai, Singapore and the Cayman Islands offer varied legal and regulatory environments for doing business, in addition to the comforts of landlubber society. More and more foreign businesses are incorporating in Delaware to enjoy the benefits of American law. So, for all the inefficiencies and petty tyrannies of the modern world, seasteading faces pretty stiff competition.