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  • Anthrodendum considers the difficulties of the anthropologist in the context of a world where their knowledges are monetized.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about two days she spent in Montréal, with photos.

  • Crooked Timber starts a discussion about the justice, or lack thereof, in Harvard denying convicted murderer Michelle Jones entry into their doctoral program now that her sentence is over.

  • D-Brief looks at the changing nature of the global disease burden, and its economic consequences.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that Equifax's terribly lax data protection should mark the endgame for them.

  • The Map Room Blog considers the use of earth-observer satellites to predict future disease outbreaks (malaria, here, in Peru).

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel notes how quantum mechanics helps explain nuclear fusion in our sun.

  • Window on Eurasia notes a report that Muscovites live on average 12 years longer than non-Muscovite Russians.

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  • Centauri Dreams shares, from JPL, the schedule for Cassini in its last days of existence. Goodbye, dear probe.

  • Dangerous Minds shares some classic illustrations from a Persian book called Lights of Canopus.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting that gas giants can stabilize debris disks.

  • Far Outliers shares excerpts from the diary of a Japanese soldier fighting in New Guinea in the Second World War.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the real suffering that high rents impose on the poor in American cities.

  • The Map Room Blog shares some nice X-ray maps of New York City subway stations.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares more vintage Voyager photos of the outer solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune ...

  • Roads and Kingdoms tells of the marvelous cookies made on the dying Venetian island of Burano.

  • Drew Rowsome considers, at length and with personal references, the differences between "art" and "porn". NSFW.

  • Understanding Society considers the latest thinking on causal mechanisms in modern sociology.

  • Window on Eurasia wonders if non-Russian languages in Russia are attacked out of anxiety over Russian's own decline, and speculates that if integration of mostly Muslim immigrants goes poorly in Moscow, the city could get locked in sectarian conflict.

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  • The waters off the Maritimes, it seems, have enjoyed unusually warm temperatures this year. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • What will become of the forest of British Columbia if locals do not protect it from over-logging? National Observer considers.

  • What, exactly, is this mysteriously invisible high-mass body acting as a gravitational lens in intergalactic space? VICE describes the mystery.

  • The Planetary Society Blog, in commemoration of the Voyagers, shares its archived materials on the probes' discoveries, right here.

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  • When the sun becomes a red giant, Europa and Enceladus will become superheated greenhouses without Earth-like phases.

  • A new model of early Venus suggests it could have had oceans and Earthly temperatures less than a billion years ago.

  • Past activity around the volcanoes of Mars means that these areas could have been refuges for life.

  • On the discovery of acrylonitrile on Titan, a membrane-forming chemical that could permit life in the super-cold.

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  • Crooked Timber's John Quiggin considers imaginable ways to get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm by 2100.

  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog considers the tenuous nature of the upper-middle class in America. How is downwards mobility to be avoided, even here?

  • Imageo shows the growth of a sunspot larger than the Earth.

  • Language Hat shares the story of how Manchu script came to be.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the working poor need protection from arbitrary and always-changing work schedules.

  • The LRB Blog notes the geopolitical scramble at the Horn of Africa, starting with bases in Djibouti.

  • The NYR Daily engages with an intriguing exhibition about the relationship between Henry James and paintings, and painting.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw engages with the classic 1937 Australian film, Lovers and Luggers.

  • Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money notes that one benefit of the trend towards greater informality in fashion is that time has been freed up, especially for women.

  • Peter Rukavina writes about his new Instagram account, hosting his various sketches.

  • Unicorn Booty notes the continuing problems with Germany's adoption laws for same-sex couples.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how the Polish president saved the independence of Poland's courts with his veto.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is trying to mobilize the ethnic Russians of Lithuania, finally.

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  • Anthrodendum takes a look at how surfing has been commodified.

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the stellar occultation that has revealed information about MU69, the next New Horizons target.

  • Crooked Timber's Corey Robin takes issue with Mélenchon's take on anti-Semitism and the French role in the Holocaust.

  • D-Brief notes that we really are not good at detecting faked photos.

  • Dangerous Minds shares some vintage photos of strippers from the 1960s.

  • Michael Sacasas of The Frailest Things looks, again, at the technologically enchanted world.

  • Language Log takes issue with the dismissive treatment of "... in a woodpile." The expression is poison.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the dual position of the camel among the Sahrawi, as wild and tame at once.

  • Neuroskeptic looks at the problems of neuroscience, statistically.

  • The NYR Daily considers the hacking of the American vote. Who did it? Who gained?

  • Science Sushi notes that climate change threats African wild dogs' survival.

  • Window on Eurasia notes an Armenian argument that Russia lacks the soft power that the Soviet Union once enjoyed.

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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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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly considers the various challenges of being an independent person.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the possibility of a Mars-mass planet in the Kuiper belt.

  • Dangerous Minds notes how the 5Pointz warehouse of NYC, once a graffiti hotspot, has been turned into a condo complex that at best evokes that artistic past.

  • Language Log explores the etymology of "sang", a descriptor of a Chinese subculture of dispirited youths.

  • The LRB Blog reports on a Border Patrol raid on the No More Deaths encampment in Arizona, a camp that helps save migrant lives in the desert.

  • The Strange Company blogs about the mysterious 1829 disappearance of Judge John Ten Eyck Lansing from New York City.

  • Unicorn Booty describes three gay Muslim immigrants terrified of the implications of President Trump.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers pros and cons to the idea of religious arbitration.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the Qatar crisis is worsening Sunni/Shia tensions among the Muslims of Russia.

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  • D-Brief considers if gas giant exoplanet Kelt-9b is actually evaporating.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper that considers where to find signs of prior indigenous civilizations in our solar system. (The Moon, Mars, and outer solar system look good.

  • Joe. My. God. reveals the Israeli nuclear option in the 1967 war.

  • Language Log shares a clip of a Nova Scotia Gaelic folktale about a man named Donald.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the ongoing deportations of Hispanic undocumented migrants from the United States.

  • The LRB Blog notes the brittle rhetoric of May and the Conservatives.

  • The NYRB Daily mourns the Trump Administration's plans for American education.

  • Savage Minds considers the world now in the context of the reign of the dangerous nonsense of Neil Postman.

  • Strange Maps shares a map documenting the spread of chess from India to Ireland in a millennium.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that the Russian government needs to do more to protect minority languages.

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  • blogTO reports on the history of Toronto's Wellington Street.

  • Dangerous Minds introduces me to the grim American gothic that is Wisconsin Death Trip. What happened to Black River Falls in the 1890s?

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to hypotheses about KIC 8462852, one suggesting KIC 8462852 has four exoplanets, another talking about a planet's disintegration.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper modeling the mantles of icy moons.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at small city NIMBYism in the Oregon city of Eugene.

  • The LRB Blog reports on toxically racist misogyny directed towards Labour's Diane Abbott by Tory minister David Davis, "misogynoir" as it is called.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on the elections in Indonesia, a country increasingly important to Australia.

  • Peter Rukavina describes how the builders of his various indie phones, promising in their own rights, keep dropping them.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer is optimistic that NAFTA will survive mostly as is.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy examines the ruling against Trump's immigration order on the grounds that its planners explicitly designed it as an anti-Muslim ban.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the treaty-based federalism of Tatarstan within Russia is increasingly unpopular with many wanting a more centralized country.

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  • blogTO notes an Instagram user from Toronto, @brxson, who takes stunning photos of the city from on high.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the limits of exoplanet J1407b's massive ring system.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes evidence that the primordial Martian atmosphere apparently did not have carbon dioxide.

  • Imageo notes that the California rivers swollen by flooding can be seen from space.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that American intelligence agencies are withholding sensitive information from a White House seen as compromised by Russian intelligence.

  • Language Hat talks about the best ways to learn Latin.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper observing a decline in inter-state migration in the United States.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the interesting failure of a public sculpture program in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the remarkable heat that has hit Australia in recent days.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the intersection between space technology and high-tech fashion.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at how Argentina gave the Falkland Islands tariff-free access to Mercosur.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the countries likely to be vulnerable to rapid aging.

  • Transit Toronto notes the Bombardier lawsuit against Metrolinx.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that poor Russian statistical data is leading directly to bad policy.

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  • 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.

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The Atlantic's David Brown wonders why NASA is neglecting the study of Venus, arguably the most Earth-like world known to us.

A generation has now gone by since the agency set a course for the second planet from the Sun, and with this latest mission opportunity lost, the earliest an expedition there might launch (from some future selection process) would be 2027—nearly 40 years since our last visit.

For centuries, it would have been inconceivable that Venus would be in such a predicament. In the 18th century, Venus was the organizing force in international science. When humanity was finally able to stretch its arms toward the solar system, the first place it reached for was Venus. It was our first successful planetary encounter beyond Earth, and was the first planet on which humans crashed. It would later would host our first graceful landing.

Venus and Earth are practically twins. They’re alike in size, density, gravity, and physical makeup. They are both in our star’s habitable zone. Scientists have discovered no other adjacent planets in the entire galaxy that share such similarities. And yet somewhere along the way, Earth became a cosmic paradise for life as we know it, and Venus became a blistering hellscape. Beneath its sienna clouds of sulfuric acid is the greenhouse effect gone apocalyptic. At 850 degrees Fahrenheit, its surface is hotter than Mercury, though the planet itself is much farther from the Sun. A block of lead would melt on the surface of Venus the way a block of ice melts on Earth.

In recent years, the Kepler space telescope has discovered more than 3,000 planets around other stars, many of which are orbiting in habitable zones where water could be stable on a planet’s surface. These “Earth 2.0’s” are but pixels of light many light years away and are difficult to study. Conveniently, there is an Earth 2.0 next door to our own. Venus was an ocean world for much of its history. By understanding that history, how it compares to Earth, and how it lost its habitability, we might better understand potentially habitable exo-worlds.

Moreover, as scientists and lawmakers grapple with climate change, they can look to Venus. “I don't want to say that Earth can turn into Venus from global warming,” says Bob Grimm, the director of the Department of Space Studies at the Southwest Research Institute and chair of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group. “That is not going to happen. It takes a lot of carbon dioxide to make Venus's atmosphere as hellish as it is. But that lies on a continuum, on a spectrum, of how CO2 in atmospheres affect planetary climates. Earth is not going to turn into Venus, but Venus has lessons on climate evolution for Earth that we should pay attention to.”
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MacLean's' Mike Doherty has an interview with two authors, Amanda R. Hendrix and Charles Wohlforth, who argue that if humankind is ever to embark in on an expensive program of colonization in space (something much more expensive than fixing our world, they argue), Titan not Mars should be the target.

Q: Why is humanity so fixated on travelling to Mars?

AH: It’s always been fascinating because back in the earliest observations, it looked like there were canals on Mars and some sort of greenery, [as if] there could be aliens. It remains a good option for looking for past life, and more accessible than some of the places in the outer solar system that might have current life. So it’s interesting as a target scientifically, but for long-term human settlement, it’s not the place to go.

CW: We’re a very long way from being able to put humans safely on Mars. The issues with [brain damage from] galactic cosmic rays, or GCRs, are serious, and in the past year, NASA has really come to recognize them: an internal document says you only have 150 days of safe travel unprotected—which won’t get you anywhere near a Mars-and-back mission with current technology. It’s probably time to level with the American people, and setting a farther-out human habitation goal is a better way to start solving those problems, rather than thinking about a short-term trip to Mars that’s probably not going to happen.

[. . .]

Q: Why specifically is Titan the place to go, and can we realistically get people as excited about Titan as we have been about Mars?

AH: Titan is a much more interesting place just visually; in terms of the landscape and the opportunities there, Titan offers so much more. It’s really Earth-like: it’s the only other place in the solar system that has any liquid on the surface. It’s not water, but it’s ethane and methane, and there’s a nice atmosphere. It’s one-and-a-half* the [atmospheric] pressure that we feel here on Earth, so it’s not too much and not too little. The main benefit, of course, is that people will be shielded from a lot of the the GCRs that are so damaging. It takes a long time to get there, and it’s cold, but there are ways around that.
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  • blogTO praises the food court of Village by the Grange.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about the importance of self-care in times of stress.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes that KIC 8462852 does seem to have faded throughout the Kepler mission.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes that Planet Nine may be especially faint in the infrared and looks at the challenges mapping polar regions on Titan.

  • Imageo notes how melting of the ice cap continues in the Arctic Ocean.

  • Language Hat reports on a new script for the Fulani language.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that people who blame identity politics for the victory of Trump were not exactly non-supporters of the main.

  • Marginal Revolution considers the consequences of bribing the American president.

  • The NYRB Daily shares Charles Simic's deep concerns for the future of the United States.

  • Jim Belshaw's Personal Reflections discusses Australia as a target for immigration and calls for honesty in discussions on migration.

  • Peter Rukavina reports on the visit of then-Princess Elizabeth and her husband 65 years ago.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi makes the fair point that he can hardly be expected to know what his Trump-era novels will be like.

  • Window on Eurasia compares Russia's happiness with Trump's election to its elation over Obama's in 2008, and looks at how Russia is facing decline on a lot of fronts.

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  • Beyond the Beyond shares an early 17th century Catholic Church communication doubting the Earth went around the sun.

  • blogTO notes the sympathy cards placed outside the American consulate in Toronto.

  • Crooked Timber argues that liberal progressivism hasn't been tried in recent years and so can't have failed.

  • The Dragon's Tales shares one model explaining the contradictions between the faint young sun and a warm early Mars.

  • Far Outliers reports on the roles of different types of British servants in India.

  • Language Hat shares a history of Canadian English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Richard Rorty's prediction of a Trump-like catastrophe and argues that economics do matter.

  • On the anniversary of the Bataclan, the LRB Blog reflects on the music of France.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes the grim predictions of Hans-Joachim Voth as to the degeneration of American life likely under Trump.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the relatively low population growth of France in the 19th century.

  • Towleroad notes Trump's statement that gay marriage is settled.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Belarus will have less maneuvering room under Trump.

  • Arnold Zwicky considers the colours of the pride rainbow.

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  • blogTO notes that York University is slated to have an architecturally interesting student centre.

  • Centauri Dreams reports on new imaging of various protoplanetary disks.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on observations finetuning what is known about HD 209458b.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the happiness of at least one white supremacist leader with the Trump victory.

  • Language Hat reports on medieval prejudices about collectors of books.

  • Language Log explains its silence over the Trump election.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money celebrates Doctor Strange.

  • Marginal Revolution suggests anxiety over technological change gave Trump an advantage over Clinton.

  • The NYRB Daily considers when it is proper to put a work through a new translation.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the week's activities in the solar system.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer is alarmed by the description of the nascent California separatist movement in an article, as the mechanisms are described.

  • Peter Rukavina shares of a map about Internet accessibility on Prince Edward Island.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy praises Obama's recent statements.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Trump's policies might hurt Russia and notes Ukrainians who hope his government will not be hostile to Ukraine.

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  • Bad Astronomy notes the discovery of water vapour clouds in the atmosphere of nearby brown dwarf WISE 0855.

  • blogTO notes the imminent arrival of winter weather.

  • Centauri Dreams reports on a new theory of the Moon's origins suggesting the impact collision which create it was much more violent than we thought.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes how snowlines migrate across a system in the course of a star's life.

  • The LRB Blog reports on the mind-numbing legal complexities of Brexit.

  • The Map Room Blog reports on a new book of maps of New York City.

  • The NYRB Daily explores the making of a documentary in 1970 on Thomas Bernhard.

  • Seriously Science notes that kittens recognize the sounds of their mother.

  • Towleroad reports on a South African imam promoting gay rights at a Cape Town mosque.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Putin's annexation of Crimea made reform in Ukraine essential, and reports on budget cuts and their threat in the North Caucasus.

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  • Bad Astronomy notes that a NASA probe has photographed the site on Mars where the ESA's Schiaparelli lander crashed.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about being an immigrant, of sorts, in the United States.

  • C.J. Cherry announces that work on her history of the Alliance-Union universe is continuing.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper looking at the ionization of protoplanetary disks by cosmic radiations.

  • The Dragon's Tales finds evidence for Planet Nine in the orbits of Kuiper Belt objects and the inner Oort cloud.

  • Far Outliers looks at the culture of addiction in Appalachia.

  • Joe. My. God. notes how a Russian embassy has mocked the European Union for defending GLBT rights.

  • Language Log looks at the sounds made by speakers of English, native and Chinese-language mother tongue both.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a map of the river basins of the United States.

  • Torontoist looks at the history of clowns in Toronto.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at how Central Asia is non-Muslim, reports a call for a historical reorientation of Azerbaijan, reports on a Tatar dramatist's fear that Russia is trying to assimilate non-Russians, and looks at how a court in Sakha has defended the constitutional rights of the republic and its titular people.

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  • The Boston Globe's Big Picture shares photos of Massachusetts' Mattapan trolley.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at Planet Nine's effects and examines the weather of Titan.

  • Both The Dragon's Tales and the Planetary Society Weblog react to the loss of the Schiaparelli lander.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks for brown dwarf exoplanets.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on the sheer scale of the Australian real estate boom.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the beginning of an antiwar movement among Russian Orthodox faithful.

  • Arnold Zwicky shares a photo of a flowering tree in a Kyoto garden.

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