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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly re-introduces herself to her readers.

  • Bruce Dorminey shares one man's theory about how extraterrestrials could use exoplanet sightings to build up a galactic communications network.

  • Far Outliers shares some unusual Japanese words, starting with "amepotu" for American potato.

  • Language Hat takes
  • Did the spokeswoman of the NRA threaten to "fisk" the New York Times or threaten something else? Language Log reports.

  • Drew Rowsome notes that, compared to San Francisco, Toronto does not have much of a public kink scene.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel examines the quantum reasons behind the explosion produced by sodium metal and water.

  • Understanding Society takes rightful issue with The Guardian's shoddy coverage of Dearborn, Michigan, and that city's Muslims and/or Arabs.

  • Unicorn Booty notes that Canada is, at last, starting to take in queer refugees from Chechnya.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the embarrassing support for Jean-Luc Mélenchon for Venezuela. Was opposing the US all he wanted?

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  • Centauri Dreams notes the exobiological potential of Titamn after the detection of acrylonitrile. Cryogenic life?

  • This guest essay at Lawyers, Guns and Money on the existential problems of Brazil, with politics depending on people not institutions, is a must-read.

  • The LRB Blog considers, in the context of Brexit, what exactly might count for some as a marker of dictatorship.

  • Did the 15th century construction of the Grand Canal in China lead the Ming away from oceanic travel? Marginal Revolution speculates.

  • The NYR Daily considers
  • Out There explores the reasons why the most massive planets all have the same size.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the 5th anniversary of the arrival of Curiosity on Mars.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that, with regards to Venezuela, the United States has no good options.

  • Roads and Kingdoms considers the febrile political mood of Kenya.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Putin is making the mistake of seeing the United States through the prism of Russia.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes a proposal for British mayors to have representation at Brexit talks makes no sense.

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  • Dangerous Minds points readers to Cindy Sherman's Instagram account. ("_cindysherman_", if you are interested.)

  • Language Hat takes note of a rare early 20th century Judaeo-Urdu manuscript.

  • Language Log lists some of the many, many words and phrases banned from Internet usage in China.

  • The argument made at Lawyers, Guns and Money about Trump's many cognitive defects is frightening. How can he be president?

  • The LRB Blog <"a href="https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/08/03/lynsey-hanley/labour-and-traditional-voters/">notes that many traditional Labour voters, contra fears, are in fact willing to vote for non-ethnocratic policies.

  • The NYR Daily describes a book of photos with companion essays by Teju Cole that I like.

  • Of course, as Roads and Kingdom notes, there is such a thing as pho craft beer in Vietnam.

  • Peter Rukavina notes
  • Towleroad notes a love duet between Kele Okereke and Olly Alexander.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy seems unconvinced by the charges against Kronos programmer Marcus Hutchins.

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  • Alejandro Puyana at NPR describes how the arepa of Venezuela thrives internationally but dies at home.

  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the point that people on the left clinging to Venezuela as it descends into dictatorship are not helping anyone.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that the 1999 constitution of Venezuela seems designed to have allowed for a shift towards dictatorship.

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  • The Globe and Mail describes a salvage archaeology operation in Cape Breton, on the receding shores of Louisbourg at Rochefort Point.

  • Katie Ingram at MacLean's notes
  • The National Observer reports on how Québec has effectively banned the oil and gas industry from operating on Anticosti Island.

  • This La Presse article talks about letting, or not, the distant Iles-de-la-Madeleine keep their own Québec electoral riding notwithstanding their small population.

  • Will the Bloc Québécois go the way of the Créditistes and other Québec regional protest movements? Éric Grenier considers at CBC.

  • The National Post describes the remarkable improvement of the Québec economy in recent years, in absolute and relative terms. Québec a have?

  • Francine Pelletier argues Québec fears for the future have to do with a sense of particular vulnerability.

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  • James Bow considers the idea of Christian privilege.

  • Centauri Dreams reports on the oddities of Ross 128.

  • D-Brief shares Matthew Buckley's proposal that it is possible to make planets out of dark matter.

  • Dead Things reports on the discoveries at Madjedbebe, in northern Australia, suggesting humans arrived 65 thousand years ago.

  • Bruce Dorminey reports on the idea that advanced civilizations may use sunshades to protect their worlds from overheating. (For terraforming purposes, too.)

  • Language Hat notes the struggles of some Scots in coming up with a rationalized spelling for Scots. What of "hert"?

  • The LRB Blog considers the way in which the unlimited power of Henry VIII will be recapitulated post-Brexit by the UK government.

  • Drew Rowsome quite likes the High Park production of King Lear.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel considers the idea that Pluto's moons, including Charon, might be legacies of a giant impact.

  • Unicorn Booty notes the terrible anti-trans "Civil Rights Uniformity Act." Americans, please act.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers/u> the perhaps-unique way a sitting American president might be charged with obstruction of justice.

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  • John Michael McGrath argues at TVO that leaving Toronto for Ontario cities with cheaper housing misses the issue of jobs. For starters.

  • Michelle McQuigge looks at how the CNIB is helping make Yonge and St. Clair accessible to the blind.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Erik Heinrich looks at how a mid-rise office tower at 1133 Yonge Street is being transformed into condos.

  • The Toronto Star reports that the condo/hotel tower at 325 Bay Street no longer bears the name of Trump. Toronto is free!

  • The end of the Palace Arms rooming house at King and Strachan, Christian Controneo notes at Torontoist, must be seen as terrible for the people who live there.
  • blogTO notes that E. Coli levels on mainland Toronto beaches make them unsafe for swimmers. No lake water this year!

  • blogTO notes that Montréal architect Claude Cormier, designer of HTO and Berczy, will next do a cat-themed park.

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  • 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.

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  • Centauri Dreams considers the challenges and the prospects of laser SETI.

  • Citizen Science Salon reports on a couple who have done their best to keep their bee numbers up.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Milo's book, contrary to Milo's claims, has performed very badly indeed in the UK, among other places.

  • Language Log features a poetic digression by Victor Mair on Chinese characters for words like "plum" and "wine."

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that moderate Republicans in Congress might not be all that.

  • The LRB Blog considers Nice at, and after, the time of last year's terrorist attacks.

  • Marginal Revolution features Tyler Cowen's description of his writing processes.

  • Drew Rowsome interviews Toronto gay photographer Dylan Rosser.

  • Unicorn Booty looks back at the history of the queercore movement--gay punk, as a first approximation.

  • Vintage Space links to an article explaining why there was neither an Apollo 2 nor an Apollo 3.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests the Russian state is undermining various once-allied Russian nationalist movements.

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  • Centauri Dreams notes evidence that pitted terrain, as found on Ceres and Vesta, indicates subsurface ice.

  • Dead Things links to evidence suggesting insomnia and poor sleep are not disorders, but rather evolutionary inheritances that were useful in the past.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the critical human role in the ongoing sixth extinction.

  • Language Hat links to speculation that the Afroasiatic language family has its origins in the Natufian Levant.

  • The LRB Blog reports on a fascinating French show about espionage, Le Bureau des légendes.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on an important speech by Malcolm Turnbull on politics and Australia's Liberal Party.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares Marc Rayman's report on the latest discoveries of Dawn at Ceres.

  • Spacing' Sean Ruthven has a review of a beautiful book on the Sea Ranch, a northern California estate.

  • Back in May, Septembre Anderson argued at Torontoist that rather than embracing diversity, Canadian media was more willing to wither.

  • Window on Eurasia shares an argument suggesting Baltic Russians would not follow the Donbas into revolt because the Baltics are much better off economically.

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It's Toronto Fringe Festival time, and I've been spending much of the past week attending high-quality indie theatre. Last night, I went with a friend to catch a new show that deserves the high ratings it has gotten from critics and audiences, The Seat Next To The King by local playwright Steven Elliott Jackson. The Seat Next To The King imagines an encounter, initially sexual but later more complex, in a Washington D.C. restroom in 1963 between African-American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and long-time LBJ advisor Walter Jenkins.

In coming years, the two men's lives would take rather different trajectories, Rustin becoming one of the first out national political figures, and Jenkins' political career being destroyed in October 1964 when he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in a Washington D.C. washroom. Jenkins later returned to Texas and relative anonymity as a chartered accountant.

The arrest of a high-ranking advisor to LBJ for alleged homosexual behaviour could have had national political import. Indeed, some Republicans seem to have tried to publicize this arrest as much as possible, in the hope that the scandal would have an effect on that year's election. Somewhat to the surprise of many observers at the time, the Jenkins arrest did not have a significant effect on the election, LBJ's lead over Goldwater and Goldwater's reluctance to make the arrest a campaign issue. That said, the disappearance of Jenkins from LBJ's administration might well have had subtler longer-run consequences on American policy, some people suggesting that American policy in Vietnam might have been different (or not) had Jenkins been present to give advice.

Let's say that Jenkins does not get arrested, not in October of 1964 and not later. What happens next? How is the United States changed with Jenkins still providing advice to LBJ?

(Crossposted to alternatehistory.com.)
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  • The anthropology group blog Savage Minds now has a new name, Anthrodendum.

  • Anthropology.net reports on the first major study of ancient African human DNA. New history is revealed.

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reports on how gravitational lensing led to the identification of a single star nine billion light-years away. (This is a record.)

  • Centauri Dreams reports the possible detection of a debris disk around pulsar Geminga, augury of future planets perhaps?

  • Dangerous Minds reports on Seoul's Haesindang Park, a park literally full of penises--phallic symbols, at least.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes one analysis arguing for the plausibility of unmanned probes using imaginable technology reaching the ten nearest stars in a century.

  • Imageo shares photos from space of the southern California wildfires.

  • Language Hat shares some stirring poetry in Scots.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the scale of child labour in North Carolina's farm sector.

  • Marginal Revolution thinks that American observers of Putin think, far too much, that he actually has a plan. The degree of chaos in Russia's affairs is apparently being underestimated.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the unsettling rural Americana of photographer Gregory Crewdson.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Zhirinovsky's plan for a sweeping Russian annexation of Ukraine, leaving only the northwest independent.

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  • Bloomberg's Steven Arons and Gavin Finch observe that Brexit may let Frankfurt emerge as a truly global financial centre.

  • Der Spiegel's Alexander Smoltczyk describes how north German port Hamburg is starting to inch towards a bigger global role.
  • Deutsche Welle reports on how, after the G20 meeting, far-left and anarchist groups in Berlin are facing a crackdown.

  • Global News shares Joseph Nasr's Reuters article reporting on the incomprehension of Arab refugees in Hamburg at that city's G20 rioters. Why are they doing it?

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  • Steve Munro notes the appallingly bad official presentation of ridership data on the Union-Pearson Express.

  • Edward Keenan notes that, though external funding news is good, Toronto needs to somehow find four billion dollars on its own. Where?

  • Ben Spurr notes that the new King Street plan prioritizing transit will make exceptions for taxis at some times.

  • Martin Regg Cohn notes that Metrolinx desperately needs to be insulated from political interference.

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  • Sarah-Joyce Battersby writes for Metro Toronto about how civic activists need to look before the downtown for paradigms of sustainable growth.

  • Steve Kupferman argues at Toronto Life that Toronto is not yet on the brink of a housing market collapse.

  • The Globe and Mail's Alex Bozikovic describes how the Bentway, a public space underneath the Gardiner by Fort York, is an unexpected success.

  • Scott Wheeler notes in the Toronto Star how the World's Largest Rubber Duck successfully drove traffic to the waterfront.

  • Jennifer Pagliaro notes in the Toronto Star what I think is a fundamentally misconceived opposition to a newly approved condo tower at Yonge and Eglinton.

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  • 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.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait is skeptical that the Trump-era EPA will deal well with global warming.

  • Discover's The Crux considers the challenge of developing safer explosives for fireworkers.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the (real) possibility of Earth-like worlds orbiting neutron stars.

  • Language Log notes an odd use of katakana in Australia.

  • The LRB Blog considers the possibly overrated import of George Osborne's move into the newspaper business.

  • Marginal Revolution notes one observer's suggestion that China could sustain high-speed growth much longer than Japan.

  • The NYR Daily shares Eleanor Davis' cartoon journal of her bike trip across America.

  • Peter Rukavina does not like the odd way Prince Edward Island made its library card into a museum pass.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel notes the odd galaxy MACS2129-1, young yet apparently no longer star-forming.

  • Strange Company explores the strange death of 17th century New England woman Rebecca Cornell.

  • Unicorn Booty looks at how early Playgirl tried to handle, quietly, its substantially gay readership.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at one Russian proclaiming Russia needs to stop an imminent takeover by Muslims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Language Hat blogs about appearances of Nahuatl in Los Angeles, in television and in education.
  • Language Log talks about "Zhonghua minzu", meaning "Chinese nation" or "Chinese race" depending on the translation.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that Canada, with inelastic production, might have a marijuana shortage come legalization/
  • In the NYR Daily, Christopher de Bellaigue wonders if Britain--the West, even--might be on the verge of a descent into communal violence.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at the accessibility of VIA Rail's data on trade arrivals and departures.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel notes that, in the far distant starless future, the decay of binary brown dwarf orbits can still start stars.

  • Torontoist shares photos of the Dyke March.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Tatarstan's tradition of bourgeois and intellectually critical nationalism could have wider consequences, in Russia and beyond.

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  • The Big Picture shares shocking photos of the Portuguese forest fires.

  • blogTO notes that, happily, Seaton Village's Fiesta Farms is apparently not at risk of being turned into a condo development site.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a new starship discussion group in Delft. Shades of the British Interplanetary Society and the Daedalus?

  • D-Brief considers a new theory explaining why different birds' eggs have different shapes.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas commits himself to a new regimen of blogging about technology and its imports. (There is a Patreon.)

  • Language Hat notes the current Turkish government's interest in purging Turkish of Western loanwords.

  • Language Log's Victor Mair sums up the evidence for the diffusion of Indo-European languages, and their speakers, into India.

  • The LRB Blog notes the Theresa May government's inability post-Grenfell to communicate with any sense of emotion.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen wonders if the alt-right more prominent in the Anglophone world because it is more prone to the appeal of the new.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw wonders if Brexit will result in a stronger European Union and a weaker United Kingdom.

  • Seriously Science reports a study suggesting that shiny new headphones are not better than less flashy brands.

  • Torontoist reports on the anti-Muslim hate groups set to march in Toronto Pride.

  • Understanding Society considers the subject of critical realism in sociological analyses.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia's call to promote Cyrillic across the former Soviet Union has gone badly in Armenia, with its own script.

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