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Consider this post a consequence of a consolidation of my blogroll, with three posts from older blogs I've added previously and two new posts from new blogs.


  • Missing persons blog Charley Ross shares the strange story of five people who went missing in a winter wilderness in 1978.
  • Roads and Kingdom shares an anecdote by Alessio Perrone about a chat over a drink with a Cornishman, in a Cornwall ever more dependent on tourism.

  • Strange Company shares the story of Kiltie, a Scottish cat who immigrated to the United States in the First World War.

  • Starts With a Bang, a science blog by Ethan Siegel, argues that there is in fact no evidence for periodic mass extinctions caused by bodies external to the Earth.

  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, a group blog by Canadian economists, considers the value placed on Aboriginal language television programming.

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  • Crooked Timber responds to The Intercept's release of data regarding Russian interference with American elections.
  • Dangerous Minds reports on how Melanie Gaydos overcame a rare genetic disorder to become a model.

  • Dead Things seems unduly happy that it does see as if Tyrannosaurus rex had feathers. (I like the idea.)

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on our ability to detect the effects of a planet-shattering Nicoll-Dyson beam.

  • The Frailest Thing considers being a parent in the digital age.

  • Language Hat notes the African writing systems of nsibidi and bamum.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that Trump-supporting states are moving to green energy quite quickly.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russian guarantees of traditional rights to the peoples of the Russian North do not take their current identities into account.

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  • D-Brief shares rare video of beaked whales on the move.

  • Dangerous Minds notes that someone has actually begun selling unauthorized action figures of Trump Administration figures like Bannon and Spencer.

  • Language Log looks at a linguistic feature of Emma Watson's quote, her ending it with a preposition.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen considers, originally for Bloomberg View, if Trump could be seen as a placebo for what ails America.

  • The New APPS Blog takes a Marxist angle on the issue of big data, from the perspective of (among other things) primitive accumulation.

  • The Search reports on the phenomenon of the Women's History Month Wikipedia edit-a-thon, aiming to literally increase the representation of notable women on Wikipedia.

  • Towleroad notes the six men who will be stars of a new Fire Island reality television show.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy finds some merit in Ben Carson's description of American slaves as immigrants.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Belarusians are beginning to mobilize against their government and suggests they are already making headway.

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Two links are being added.


  • To the news section, I'm adding the Canadian news website National Observer, which has interesting longer articles analyzing Canadian events. Of their recent articles, I would recommend Lorimer Shenher's "LGBTQ officers need to pick the right target", which argues that LGBTQ police officers should step back and consider the import of the police, as an organization, to many queer people.

  • To the blog section, I'm adding Strange Company, a great blog that assembles links of interesting and odd things around the world, in the past and present, and takes the occasional longer look at particular events. This link, examining the history of one Reverend Griffiths who was something of a ghostbuster in 19th century Wales, is a good example of the latter category of post.

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3869, Avenue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville


The signs on this family's door, warning that the dinosaur on their porch is theirs but that the cat waiting at their door is not, among other things, made me laugh when I saw them.
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The Toronto Star's Ellen Brait describes an unusual mirage, an manifestation of Toronto in the skies above Buffalo one hot summer day in August 1894.

Buffalo residents were treated to an unusual sight on Aug. 16, 1894: a detailed image of Toronto hovering over Lake Ontario.

Or rather, “a city in the air,” according to a November 1894 Arizona Republic newspaper article.

For about an hour during the mid-morning, Toronto, its harbor, and the Island to the south of the city were visible to those on the ground in Buffalo. Normally Toronto is only visible to those high up over Buffalo.

“A close examination of the map showed that the mirage did not cause the slightest distortion, the gradual rise of the city from the water being rendered perfectly,” said an August 1894 edition of Scientific American magazine.

Despite being approximately 93 km away, witnesses on that fateful day could see a few ships, and for the first 10 minutes, even count downtown church spires.
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blogTO's Derek Flack takes a look at some hidden spaces on the TTC network, starting with infamous Lower Bay station.

Lower Bay Station (or, as the TTC refers to it, Bay Lower) is surely the best known of Toronto's hidden underground spaces. The ghost subway station was in service briefly in 1966 when the TTC tried its interlining system, which turned the city's two subway routes into three.

One platform serviced the Bloor-Danforth Route, while the other was a stop on the Danforth-University-Yonge Route. The experiment failed for a number of reasons, and the lower platform was promptly decommissioned.

It now serves as an area for training exercises and film shoots, though it has also been opened to the public for events like Nuit Blanche in the past.

Lower Bay isn't the only ghost station on the TTC, though. Underneath Queen Station, there's the shell of a streetcar subway station that would likely have taken the name City Hall, but is now typically referred to as Lower Queen or Queen Lower.

It was partially built in anticipation of Queen Street transit line that was never built.
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CBC News' Greg Ross and Laura Fraser cover this light news item from North York.

A pack of furry, pint-sized grinches have stolen the Christmas spirit from Mel Lastman Square.

The trees and the skaters are still there, but they're no longer bathed in the glow of the season — something Coun. John Filion blames on some particularly crafty squirrels.

The squirrels have been chewing through the wires holding up lights that normally decorate the North York park's trees, he says.

"I believe it totally has to do with one or more squirrels who perhaps don't like Christmas.

It first started two years ago. At first just a few strands went dark, but it soon turned into a virtual blackout. Last season, the city brought in a cherry picker to replace the extinguished lights.

But Filion says it proved no match for the wee scrooges.

"Less than two days, and they were not working."
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Lion with glasses, Fairmont Royal York #toronto #fairmontroyalyork #lion #cats #catsofinstagram #glasses


While giving two new friends a quick tour of Toronto yesterday, we passed by this lion statue at the Fairmont Royal York. Some wit had thoughtfully provided this big cat with a pair of glasses--poor vision, it must have had.
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  • blogTO shares some photos of Toronto in colour from the 1950s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Beyond the Beyond notes an upcoming exhibition of photos of Vaclav Havel.

  • blogTO notes a local controversy over the demolition of a community-built skate park.

  • Centauri Dreams considers how advanced starfaring civilizations might deal with existential threats.

  • Crooked Timber looks at how presidential debates could be used to teach logic.

  • Language Hat examines the origins of the evocative Slavic phrase "they perished like Avars."

  • Language Log notes how "Molotov cocktail" was confused by a Trump manager with "Mazel tov cocktail".

  • The LRB Blog notes Brexit-related insecurity over the rule of law in the United Kingdom.

  • The Map Room Blog notes an exhibition in Maine of Acadian-related maps.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at how the Hong Kong press has been influenced by advertisers.

  • The NYRB Daily looks an exhibition of abstract expressionism.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at what we can learn from Rosetta.

  • Savage Minds considers the place of archeology in anthropology.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Belarus' commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolution and considers the dispute in Kazakhstan as to whether the country should be known as Qazaqstan.

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  • blogTO notes a photo series celebrating the corner stores of Toronto and reports on massive condo towers planned for Yonge and College.

  • Centauri Dreams notes the antimatter sail as a potential future propulsion technology.

  • D-Brief notes the beginning of a search for an Earth-like planet orbiting Alpha Centauri A or B.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that it is Ecuador that disrupted Assange's Internet connection.

  • Language Hat looks at distinctions between fiction and non-fiction in different literatures.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how Republicans are concerned for the future of the US Supreme Court and links to Matt Taibbi's article suggesting that Trump might reinforce the existing American system.

  • Maximos62 links to his new audiobook of tales from Asia and the Pacific.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the relationship between rapidly rotating regular satellite and their tides.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that language shift among the Kalmyks to Russia has not weakened their ethnic identity, and shares arguments that Tatarstan and Bashkortostan must be brought back into line in with Russia's national government.

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  • blogTO notes that beer cans have been banned at Rogers Centre for the duration of the Toronto Blue Jays' playoff run.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes that the atmospheres of many white dwarfs are polluted with what may be the remains of their old planets.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the warning of Ben Carson that gay marriage will bring mass killings.

  • Language Log parses the recent order to Republican Party workers to no longer work for Trump.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a photo essay about 21st century agriculture.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer liveblogged the debate.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a study on HIV's impact on the world.

  • Strange Maps links to an amazing clickable map of pop music from 1880 on.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how the descendants of the peoples punished by Stalin are commemorating their sufferings under Putin.

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  • Astrobeat U>notes the vulnerability of Florida's Space Coast to Hurricane Matthews.

  • D-Brief notes that the Voyager probes are the most distant US government-owned computers still in service.

  • Dangerous Minds shares high-heeled tentacle shoes.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that a President Trump would enable anything the Congressional Republicans wanted.

  • The LRB Blog notes Vancouver's fentanyl crisis.

  • The NYR Daily reports on the lives of dissidents harassed by extralegal detentions.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer maps the recent Columbian referendum and finds that areas beset by FARC actually voted for the peace plan.

  • Gay porn star and sometime political radical Colby Kelly, Towleroad noted, is going to vote for Trump in order to push forward the revolution.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at religious developments in the former Soviet Union.

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  • The Big Picture shares photos of motorbike racing in South Africa.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the stellar weather that planets of red dwarf stars might encounter.

  • Dead Things looks at two genetic studies which complicate the narrative of humanity's spread.

  • Dangerous Minds shares the infamous anti-disco night of 1979 that spelled the end of the genre in North America.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how one makes a home among strangers.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that the UKIP MP claims the sun is responsible for the bulk of the Earth's tides not the moon, and reports on a Kentucky judge who says gays ruined straight men's ability to hug.

  • Language Log looks at changing patterns of language usage in Japanese.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks the cosmic perspective of Gary Johnson.

  • The LRB Blog reports from devastated Lesbos.

  • Maximos62 maps the smoke from this year's Indonesian fires.

  • The NYRB Daily shares vintage photos from mid-1960s Cuba.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a recent tour of NASA facilities.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on a call for a single Circassian alphabet, suggests a Russian initiative to use sufism to unite Russian Muslims will end badly, and argues that Russian criticism of language policy in post-Soviet countries is linked to geopolitics.

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  • blogTO writes about the impending installation of snooze stations across Toronto.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the astrobiological implications of stromatolites.

  • D-Brief notes that Titan has methane-flooded canyons.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the Kepler-444 system and notes studies of HR 8799.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes an assassination attempt against a Donbas leader, and notes dinosaurs probably had colour vision.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the workplace culture of Amazon.

  • Language Log looks at a mangled translation of South Asian languages into Chinese.

  • The Map Room Blog links to an exhibit on persuasive cartography.

  • The NYRB Daily shares photos of 19th century Rio de Janeiro.

  • Out of Ambit's Diane Duane shares a recipe for gingerbread.

  • Mark Simpson engages with spornosexuality.

  • Towleroad notes the ill-thought article outing gay Olympic atheltes.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the non-recognition of special sharia rules in American courts for Muslims in family law.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's problematic military economy, looks at the Russian immigrant community in China, notes the pro-Baltic patriotism of Russophones, and looks at prospects for rapid population fall in Russia.

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Matt Switzer's brief post at blogTO caught my interest.

Every day at around 1 p.m., more than 200 lost and forgotten items from TTC vehicles and properties are delivered to the TTC Lost Articles Office located in the Bay subway station.

Wallets, cellphones, textbooks, booze, umbrellas, jackets, pants (how'd that happen?), towels, hats, jewellery, bikes, and even sex toys get recorded into a database, and then sorted and stored.

Part librarians, part investigators, the TTC Lost Articles team work tirelessly to reunite more than 4,000 items at any given time back to their owners.

"The job is rewarding," says Tara Mercorillo, Supervisor of the Lost Articles office.

"Just a few weeks ago we tracked down a lady who left her purse behind with $6,000 cash. She came in the next day, in tears, giving us all hugs. She was very grateful," Tara recounts.
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This is amazing. From the Toronto Star's Oliver Sachgau:

After a few weeks of being the most popular mobile game in recent history, Pokemon Go is now facing backlash from the City of Toronto, who are trying to mitigate the crowds playing the game at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.

Hundreds of people have been camped out almost 24 hours a day at the park by the terminal, hunting for virtual pocket monsters on their phone. The park and surrounding area is also the site of nine pokestops – in-game locations where players congregate. Players have also been setting up lures – bait that attracts more virtual monsters to the stops.

The end result is a constant crowd of hundreds of players at all hours of the day and night, hoping to be the very best like no one ever before.

Matthew Cutler, spokesperson for Toronto’s parks and recreation department, said the city has reached out to Niantic, the game’s developer, to move some of the stops to other parks and ease the pressure on the ferry terminal.

“We love the game. We love what it’s doing in terms of bringing people into the public realm. We’re just of the mind that there may be a better park in the city for this kind of concentration of play,” he said.

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