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  • 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.

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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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  • The Independent notes a denial that Scotland's Conservatives will split from the national party. I wonder, thought, if Scotland's political spectrum is going to shift, like Québec's, from a left-right split to a separatist-unionist one?
  • Owen Jones argues in The Guardian that the rampant prejudices of the DUP, including its homophobia, make it an unsuitable coalition partner.

  • Andray Domise argues in MacLean's that a perceived need to fit in means that immigrants can be too ready to dismiss local racisms.

  • Fast Company lets us know that the minimum wage increases in Seattle have not led to higher retail prices.

  • CBC notes the death of Sam Panopoulous, the Canadian man who invented Hawaiian pizza.

  • Adam West, the first man to play Batman on the screen, has died. We all, not just the fandom, are the poorer for his passing.

  • Are the robots not poised to take over our world? What does their absence demonstrate about our underachieving economy? The Atlantic wonders.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the SPECULOOS red dwarf observation program.

  • The Crux examines VX nerve agent, the chemical apparently used to assassinate the half-brother of North Korea's ruler.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the inhabitants of the Tokyo night, like gangsters and prostitutes and drag queens.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines Donald Trump's tepid and belated denunciation of anti-Semitism.

  • Language Log looks at the story of the Wenzhounese, a Chinese group notable for its diaspora in Italy.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the by-elections in the British ridings of Stoke and Copeland and notes the problems of labour.

  • The Map Room Blog shares a post-Brexit map of the European Union with an independent Scotland.

  • Marginal Revolution reports that a border tax would be a poor idea for the United States and Mexico.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the art of the medieval Tibetan kingdom of Guge.

  • Otto Pohl notes the 73rd anniversary of Stalin's deportation of the Chechens and the Ingush.

  • Supernova Condensate points out that Venus is actually the most Earth-like planet we know of. Why do we not explore it more?

  • Towleroad notes Depeche Mode's denunciation of the alt-right and Richard Spencer.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi considers the question of feeling empathy for horrible people.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the thousands of Russian citizens involved with ISIS and examines the militarization of Kaliningrad.

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Euractiv carries an AFP report looking into the possibility that Scotland's Shetland Islands might, in the case of the United Kingdom falling apart, try to separate from Scotland to form a sort of West Nordic microstate thanks to the oil in the archipelago's waters.

Of all the consequences of the Brexit vote, the fate of the Shetland Islands in the North Atlantic and their oil fields and fisheries may not top the list for negotiators in Westminster and Brussels. But it soon might.

But the prospect of a new bid for Scottish independence as Britain leaves the EU is making some residents of these rugged islands think again about whether they would be better off alone.

“It would be wonderful,” Andrea Manson, a Shetland councillor and a leading figure in the Wir Shetland movement for greater autonomy, told AFP.

The movement’s name means “Our Shetland” in the local Scots dialect, a derivation of Middle English which has replaced the islands’ original Germanic language, Norn.

The remote archipelago, already fiercely independent in spirit, is geographically and culturally closer to Scandinavia than to Edinburgh, and politically more aligned with London and Brussels.

In the past 1,300 years, Shetland has been overrun by Scandinavian Vikings, pawned to Scotland as a wedding dowry by Denmark, subsumed into the United Kingdom in 1707, and dragged into the European Economic Community against its will in 1973.
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The idea is to occupy Facebook with art. Whoever "likes" this post will be given an artist and invited to post a piece by that artist with this text. I was given Charles Rennie Macintosh by Facebook's Suzanne.



I picked his painting 1925-1926 "A Southern Port", drawn from his late in life visit to the Rousillon port of Port-Vendres.
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Brian Wilson's article in The Scotsman looking at the origins of the mother of Donald Trump, Mary Anne née MacLeod, in the Hebridean Isle of Lewis asks an interesting question: Why is Trump's immigrant background so seemingly forgotten by the man and his arguments?

‘If only Donald Trump wasn’t such a nasty piece of work…” There are plenty in the Republican Party harbouring that sentiment at present, but for different reasons it also has resonance on the Isle of Lewis.

There has hitherto been nobody one step away from the title “most powerful man in the world” with such a direct Scottish, far less Hebridean, lineage. In other circumstances, it could be a source of community pride. Plans for a Trump Trail might already be in the making.

According to the Irish precedent, US presidential candidates with even the most tenuous connections to the old country milk them for all they are worth, while the place in which roots are claimed is only too willing to reciprocate. None of this translates into the case of Trump and Lewis – because Trump is what he is.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric would seem weirdly at odds with his own background, on any grounds other than race. He is the product of a second generation immigrant from Germany (though his father pretended for many years to be of Swedish origin) and a first generation immigrant from Lewis.

In the grim economic times of the 1920s, Mary Anne MacLeod, Trump’s mother, followed two older sisters to New York from the crofting village of Tong. She first made the crossing in 1928 at the age of 16 on the Transylvania, found work with a wealthy family as a nanny but lost her job when Wall Street crashed the following year.
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Madeleine Bunting's essay at The Guardian arguing that the Hebrides have played an outsize role in the formation of British national identities caught my attention.

For a century, Jura has been an anomaly: remote, but under 100 miles from Glasgow or Edinburgh; sparsely populated, yet associated with periodic influxes of the powerful, wealthy and glamorous in search of space and privacy. Appropriately, one of the most bizarre artistic statements about wealth was made on Jura in 1994, when the two members of the pop group the KLF filmed themselves burning £1m in banknotes in a disused boathouse at Ardfin.

George Orwell heard of Jura from Astor, his editor, who regaled him with stories of its beauty and fishing – irresistible to the enthusiastic angler. Orwell, chafing at the restrictions and privations of wartime London, wrote in his diary in 1940 that he was “thinking always of my island in the Hebrides”. He had to wait until 1946 to make the journey, and it turned out to be a melancholy pilgrimage in the aftermath of the deaths of his mother, wife and a sister within the space of three years. But he was enraptured: “These islands are one of the most beautiful parts of the British Isles and largely uninhabited.” He added: “Of course it rains all the time but if one takes that for granted, it doesn’t seem to matter.”

Britain’s understanding of itself – its identity and its place in the world – is deeply rooted in being an island. Yet Great Britain is not an island; it is made up of at least 5,000 islands, around 130 of which are inhabited. But this geographical reality has often been ignored, because island, in the singular, brings with it the attractive characteristics of inviolability, steadfastness and detachment. As one clergyman put it in a sermon praising the Act of Union with Scotland of 1707: “We are fenced in with a wall which knows no master but God only.”

Even more erroneously, England is sometimes described as an island. Martin Amis wrote a television essay on England in 2014, which began with images of waves pounding chalk cliffs and the quintessential English mistake: “England is an island nation.” England in fact shares its island with other nations – Scotland and Wales – yet the language of sharing, of being part of an archipelago, has not featured in the English nation’s self-image.

British culture has a long-standing love affair with islands. In Utopia, Thomas More wrote how King Utopos created an island from an isthmus by digging a channel 15 miles wide. Britain’s detachment from continental Europe brought a degree of protection from invasion, and was seen as God’s geographical blessing for a chosen, favoured people. Shakespeare bequeathed a trove of vivid images of England in John of Gaunt’s speech in Richard II: “This little world”; “This blessed plot”. But there has also been an English ambivalence about islands; in a comparably famous passage, John Donne warned of the dangers of separation in his Meditation XVII: “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
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  • 'Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about when it is appropriate to judge a book by its blurb.

  • Beyond the Beyond examines the remarkable scandal in South Korea involving with the cult and its control over the country's president.

  • blogTO notes unreasonably warm weather in Toronto this November.

  • Dangerous Minds shares a corporate sales video from the early 1990s for Prince's studio.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the effect of Proxima Centauri on planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.

  • The Extremo Files notes unorthodox ways of finding life.

  • Language Log talks about the language around Scotland and Northern Ireland and their relationship as complicated by Brexit.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting inheritances reduce inequality.

  • Savage Minds talks about an anarchist archaeology.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers a controversy at the Library of Congress.

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  • blogTO recommends some Toronto-related Vine clips.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a SETI study of Boyajian's Star.

  • Crooked Timber criticizes one author's take in the politics of science fiction.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the auroras of hot Jupiters.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper finding that atmospheric methane did not warm the early Earth.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on how a Scottish hotel owner's homophobic statements led to his inn's delisting.

  • Language Log links to a linguist trying to preserve dying languages.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Nate Silver's polling and prediction methods.

  • The LRB Blog notes the background behind Wallonia's near-veto of Canada-EU free trade.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at how economic issues do not correlate with support for Trump.

  • The Planetary Society Weblog shares photos of the Schiaparelli crash site.

  • pollotenchegg notes the degree to which economic activity in Ukraine is centralized in Kyiv.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a poll suggesting conservative views are unwelcome at Yale.

  • Both Window on Eurasia and the Russian Demographics Blog note a projection that Chinese will soon become the second-largest nationality in Russia.

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CBC News' Lindsay Bird reports on an odd Viking inheritance.

Say it on your inhale: "yeeeeeeeah."

If that felt like second nature, chances are you're from Atlantic Canada, where this peculiar speech pattern prevails. And this habit of inhaling a 'yes', 'no,' or 'hmmm' even, has a name: ingressive pulmonic speech.

"It's really interesting. It's a phenomenon you don't find in too many of the world's languages, but [in] a big geographical zone," said retired Memorial University professor Sandra Clarke, an expert on the special inhale.

Ingressive pulmonic speech is widespread throughout Atlantic Canada, down into Maine, and then stretches across the North Atlantic to encompass Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and Scandinavia, and as far east as Estonia.

[. . .]

"Where it seems to have come from originally, is probably what we now call Scandinavia. The Vikings were the ones who probably brought it to Scotland and Ireland," she said, adding the large influx of Scottish and Irish likely transported it to Canada's East Coast.
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In the shadow of Charlottetown's St. Dunstan's Basilica on Great George Street stands a statue of Angus Bernard MacEachern, the Scottish immigrant to early British Prince Edward Island who brought Roman Catholicism to the territory.

Statue, Angus Bernard MacEachern #pei #charlottetown #greatgeorgestreet #statue #romancatholicism #latergram #stdunstans


Of note is the multilingualism of the plaque explaining MacEachern's life and works, in English, French, Gaelic and Mi'kmaq.

MacEachern's multilingualism #pei #charlottetown #greatgeorgestreet #statue #romancatholicism #latergram #stdunstans #english #français #gàidhlig #mikmaq


St. Dunstan's stands above it all.

St. Dunstan's in the evening #pei #charlottetown #greatgeorgestreet #statue #romancatholicism #latergram #stdunstans
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I am not sure if Kevin McKenna's article in The Guardian is justified. Can Scots reading this jump in and say this qualified optimism is justifiable?

In those far-flung outposts of Britain’s influence where diplomats circle the Chesterfields of an evening and gossip over brandy, an old story is never far away. It is the story of a meeting – never recorded – that took place between officials of Britain and Norway to discuss the matter of how one might go about depopulating one’s islands. It is whispered that the government of Norway, restored once more following the Nazi occupation of the second world war, approached the UK seeking advice on a robust strategy towards its islands.

Happily for future generations of Norwegians, their postwar government ignored what Britain told them, which was to evacuate the islands on the grounds of cost and security and gradually cause them to run down. Norway’s island communities thrived and became a powerhouse, while Britain’s suffered from a policy that has since been described as one of “benign neglect”. In Scotland, which has 99 populated islands – two-thirds of the UK’s total – it wasn’t until the creation of the Highlands and Islands Development Board in 1965 that its islands began to thrive once more.

Still, the cost of public services in these areas, per head of population, is higher than anywhere else in the UK.

Islands are an economic and administrative nightmare for those countries who were bequeathed them in the Earth’s infant years. So much toil and trouble for so few people: why can’t folk just be sensible and live on the mainland where they can be reached much more cheaply? Don’t they realise how difficult it is to defend these places?

Earlier this month, the tiny Hebridean island of Muck (population: 30) sent out a global appeal via social media for a primary teacher for its seven children. The school’s popular teacher had quit and none of the initial six candidates followed up on their initial interest, as the reality of life on an island without a shop and cut off from the mainland for several months in the year began to dawn on them.

Yet following the Facebook appeal, Highland Council has been swamped with applications from all over the globe for the £35,000 a year post, which brings with it a three-bedroom flat and, in the opinion of the last teacher, Julie Baker, “a short commute and stunning views over the sea to Ardnamurchan Point”. These places might be remote and require small triumphs of human endurance, but people will always want to live in them.
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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit might drive British migration to Australia, suggests Russia's recession might be coming to an end, looks at carbon emissions from dead trees, and reports on Guiliani's liking for Blackberry.

  • Bloomberg View notes Israel's tightening restrictions on conversions and looks at how Putin has become a US election issue.

  • CBC notes the construction in Turkey for a cemetery for participants in the recent coup.

  • Gizmodo reports on flickering AR Scorpii, an unusual binary.

  • The Inter Press Service reports on urban land tenure for migrants and describes Malawi's recent translocation of elephants.

  • MacLean's describes the Chinese labourers of the First World War.

  • The National Post notes the marginalization of conservative white men in the Democratic Party.

  • Open Democracy looks at politics for the United Kingdom's Remain minority, looks at Scotland's European options, and suggests Hillary needs to learn from the lessons of Britain's Remain campaign to win.

  • The Toronto Star notes the plans of Tim Horton's to expand to Southeast Asia, starting with the Philippines.

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  • Kieran Healy notes the role of social media in undermining the Turkish coup.

  • Joe. My. God. notes US Army Secretary Eric Fanning's ride as Grand Marshal in the San Diego pride parade.

  • The LRB Blog notes the aftermath of the Orange Order's fires in Northern Ireland.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at what might be a veto in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Brexit, and notes the continuing economic fallout.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at how ISIS thrives on chaos.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer reflects on the Turkish coup and notes Trump's odd Russophilia.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if it is ever justifiable to overthrow a democratic government.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at instability in the Donbas, suggests Turkey is distracting people from Russia, looks at low levels of Russophone assimilation in Estonia, considers ideological struggles in Belarus, and looks at immigration restrictionism in Russia versus Central Asia.

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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit may be good for European criminals, looks at the negative impact of Brexit on Japan's retail chains, examines the way a broken-down road reflects India-China relations, looks at Russia's shadow economy and observes Ukraine's effort to attract shippers to its ports.

  • The Globe and Mail notes the mourning in Québec for the Nice attacks.

  • MacLean's reports on a New Brunswick high school overwhelmed by Syrian refugees and examines the dynamics of Brazil's wealthy elite.

  • National Geographic notes that Brazil's capuchin monkeys have progressed to the stone age.

  • The National Post reports on evidence of cannibalism among Neanderthals, notes Kathleen Wynne's criticism of "All Lives Matter", and engages with the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.

  • Open Democracy engages with Scotland's strategy for Brexit.

  • Wired looks at a New York City park built to withstand rising seas, mourns the disappearance of the CD, and notes that scenes of murder will never disappear from our social media.

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  • The Dragon's Gaze considers detecting industrial civilizations through their ozone holes.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the French National Front's opposition to the Pride parade in Paris.

  • Language Log considers English names in China.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer is confused by Spanish policy towards Scotland in the era of Brexit.

  • Spacing Toronto notes that twenty years' worth of Fort York's journal are available online.

  • Supernova Condensate notes the complexity of the Juno probe's arrival at Jupiter.

  • Torontoist shares photos of Honest Ed's in its last months.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the domination of Russia by its big cities, reports on a political dissident in Belarus, and suggests the Donbas republics are starting to erode.

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  • Bloomberg notes the rail boom in Bangladesh, looks at the fall in the value of the pound, notes a German proposal to give young Britons German citizenship and observes Spanish concern over giving Scotland a voice, looks at competition between Paris and Frankfurt to get jobs from the City of London, looks at how a Chinese takeover of an American ham company worked well, and observes that revised statistics show a much rockier economic history in Argentina.

  • Bloomberg View notes that Merkel is Britain's best hope for lenient terms and compares Brexit to the Baltic break from the Soviet Union.

  • The Globe and Mail notes continuing problems with the implementation of tidal turbines on the Bay of Fundy.

  • MacLean's notes that pride marchers in the Manitoba city of Steinbach can walk on the street, and looks at the impact of immigrant investment on Vancouver's housing market.

  • National Geographic notes the endangerment of Antarctica's penguins.

  • Open Democracy compares Brexit and the breakup of the former Soviet Union, looks at water shortages in Armenia, and examines the impact of Brexit on Ireland.

  • The Chicago Tribune looks at urban violence.

  • Universe Today notes the Dutch will be going to the Moon with the Chinese.

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  • Bloomberg looks at the European cities hoping to poach talent from London post-Brexit, notes central Europe's support for the European Union, looks at how Venezuelans are dealing with broken cars with the car industry gone, and looks at the United Kingdom's already substantial hit.

  • Bloomberg View considers peace in Columbia, notes American infant mortality, looks at China's fears over Brexit and examines China's anti-corruption crackdown.

  • CBC notes the substantial refugee population of Ukraine.

  • The Inter Press Service wonders about the consequences of Brexit for the United Nations.

  • MacLean's notes the beginning of the North American leaders' summit.

  • National Geographic observes the impending end of the ivory trade of Hong Kong.

  • The National Post looks at the Leave voters' regrets.

  • Open Democracy looks at Scotland and also at the post-Brexit environment more generally.

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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit could give Scotland a chance to take some of London's finance industry, looks at the Canadian-born governor of the Bank of England, looks at a quiet crisis in the Russian economy re: investment, and notes the awkwardness of the British diaspora in the European Union.

  • Bloomberg View notes the United Kingdom's upcoming challenges with India.

  • The CBC notes that Iceland has gotten a Canadian-born first lady and looks at the new Panama Canal expansion.

  • Daily Xtra quotes the Canadian prime minister as arguing Canada must make amends for past wrongs to LGBT people.

  • MacLean's looks at the indecisive results of the latest Spanish election.

  • The National Post notes that Scotland is already preparing for a second vote.

  • Open Democracy looks at the strange new dynamics in Northern Ireland, where Unionists are applying for Irish passports.

  • Universe Today examines experiments in agriculture using simulated Martian soil, and looks at a star set to rotate around the Milky Way Galaxy's central black hole at 2.5% of the speed of light.

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