rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Global News notes one study suggesting coffee can extend human lives. My morning pot is worthwhile, then!

  • National Geographic features an interview with Ben Mezrich talking about how cloning and genetic engineering can bring back the mammoth.

  • CBC News reports on the discovery of ultra-cool dwarf star EBLM J0555-57Ab, smaller than TRAPPIST-1, even.

  • Jacobin Magazine has a stirring essay by Nick Levine calling space colonization and space resources to be shared equitably.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • 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.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Centauri Dreams remembers Ben Finney, this time from the angle of a man with an interest in space colonization.

  • Crooked Timber wonders what will happen to the Anglo-American tradition of liberalism.

  • Dangerous Minds imagines the VHS tapes of Logan and Stranger Things.

  • Far Outliers notes the Soviet twist on Siberian exile.

  • Inkfish notes that Detroit is unique among cities in being a good place for bumblebees.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders if modern Germany really is a laboratory for innovative politics.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at José Maria de Eça de Queirós, the "Proust of Portugal".

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw updates his readers on his writing projects.

  • Torontoist reports on how Avi Lewis and Cheri DiNovo have advocated for the NDP's Leap Manifesto.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Centauri Dreams describes a new type of planet, the molten hot rubble cloud "synestia".

  • Far Outliers describes the Polish rebels exiled to Siberia in the 19th century.
  • Language Hat looks at words for porridge in Bantuphone Africa.

  • Language Log examines whistling as a precursor to human language.

  • The LRB considers the new normal of the terrorist state of emergency.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the weakness of the Indian labour market.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer tries to explain to Uruguayans how Donald Trump made his mistake on the budget.

  • Savage Minds remembers the late anthropologist of Polynesia and space colonization, Ben Finney.

  • Towleroad examines the rather depressing idea of a porn-dominated sexuality.

  • Understanding Society examines Hindu/Muslim tensions in India.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on the weakness of Belarus' opposition.

  • Arnold Zwicky talks about Arthur Laurents.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • blogTO notes that the redevelopment of Toronto's Port Lands is continuing.

  • Crooked Timber argues that climate denialism exposes the socially constructed nature of property rights.

  • D-Brief notes the reburial of Kennewick Man.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes there is no sign of a second planet around Proxima Centauri.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at life in Texas.

  • The LRB Blog analyzes Milo's stumble.

  • Marginal Revolution considers the levels of disorderliness different societies, like Sweden, can tolerate.

  • The NYRB Daily reports on the poisoning of a Russian dissident.

  • The Planetary Society Blog suggests Voyager 1 picked up Enceladus' plumes.

  • Peter Rukavina writes of his mapping of someone's passage on the Camino Francés.

  • Supernova Condensate looks at the United Arab Emirates' plan to build a city on Mars in a century.

  • Torontoist reported on a protest demanding action on the overdose crisis.
  • Towleroad describes the plight of Mr. Gay Syria in Istanbul and reports on the progress of same-sex marriage in Finland.

  • Understanding Society considers the complexity of managing large technological projects.

  • Window on Eurasia links to one Russian writer arguing Putin should copy Trump and links to anotehr suggesting the Russian Orthodox Church is overreaching.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Beyond the Beyond shares Yves Behar's thoughts on design in an age of artificial intelligence.

  • blogTO makes the case for the east end of Toronto.

  • The Big Picture shares photos of a family of Congolese refugees resettled in New England.

  • Centauri Dreams hosts an essay looking at the prospects for off-world agriculture.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the beauty created by graffiti removal.

  • The Dragon's Tales looks for signs of possible cryovolcanism on Europa.

  • Joe. My. God. shares audio of the new Blondie track "Fun."

  • Language Hat remembers the life and career of linguist Leon Dostert.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues protest is needed in blue states, too.

  • The LRB Blog warns people not to forget about Pence.

  • Marginal Revolution considersa trends in the British economy.

  • Neuroskeptic shares disturbing findings about the prevalence of plagiarism in science.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia does not expect Trump to take all the sanctions down at once.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • The Crux makes the case that, for too long, modern homo sapiens have underestimated the genius of the Neanderthals.

  • D-Brief looks at the efforts of some scientists to develop brewing standards for the Moon.

  • Language Hat examines different languages' writing standards--Turkish, Greek, Armenian--in the late Ottoman Empire.

  • Language Log deconstructs claims that Japanese has no language for curses.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen looks at the standards of truth by which Trump's supporters are judging him.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the hollow Styrofoam aesthetics of the Trump Administration.

  • Savage Minds considers the idea of personhood.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell considers key mechanics of populism.

  • Arnold Zwicky meditates, somewhat pornographically, on a porn star of the last decade and public sexuality.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Centauri Dreams shares a proposal for the relatively rapid industrialization of space in a few short years using smart robots with 3d printign technology.

  • To what extent, as Crooked Timber speculates, the Arthurian myth complex science fictional?

  • Dangerous Minds shares a lovely middle-finger-raised candle.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the interactions between atmospheres and rotation for super-Earths and Venus-like worlds.

  • Joe. My. God. notes Wikileaks' call for Trump's tax returns.

  • Language Hat shares some words peculiar to Irish English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the words of Trump are meaningless.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cown considers some scenarios where nuclear weapons may end up being used.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at births and deaths in Russia between 2000 and 2015.

  • Savage Minds considers, inspired by the recent Michel Foucault read-in protest to Trump, the relationships between Foucault's thinking and racism.

  • Window on Eurasia calls for a post-imperial Russian national identity, argues that Trump's assault on globalization will badly hurt a Russia dependent on foreign trade and investment, and wonders what Putin's Russia can actually offer Trump's United States.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell offers a unique strategy for journalists interested at penetrating Trump's shell: trick them into over-answering.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Antipope Charlie Stross wonders about the interactions between parasite loads and the intelligence of the inhabitants of off-world colonies.

  • Bad Astronomy shares a stunning mosaic of the Milky Way Galaxy.

  • blogTO notes the construction of a viewing platform for Toronto plane spotters.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog examines why we call other people stupid.

  • Imageo notes how Arctic sea ice is trending at record low levels.

  • Language Hat looks at the ways in which the English language is changing.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money and the Volokh Conspiracy consider whether the FBI announcement of the expansion of the Weiner E-mail search to target Hillary Clinton was legal.

  • Marginal Revolution reports that GM crops are apparently not increasing yields particularly.

  • Progressive Download's John Farrell reports on the politics of bashing Darwin and evolution.

  • Spacing considers a recent election outcome for mayor in Saskatoon.

  • Torontoist reports on the Russell Hill subway crash of 1995.

  • Window on Eurasia considers the prospect of Russians turning against Putin and argue his regime's fascist turn will be continuing.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
In his Washington Post article "Why Obama may have picked the wrong planet", Brian Fung makes the case for Venus to be visited before Mars.

The Obama administration has been pursuing a visit to Mars for years. But Obama may be overlooking an easier target, if the arguments of one NASA researcher (and numerous supporters) are to be believed. While Mars may seem to be an attractive destination, we should consider sending people to Venus instead, these people argue.

Obama's essay conjures images of NASA habitats on the Red Planet like we saw in the film “The Martian.” But that future is a long way off: As the actual author of “The Martian” has said, it's far more likely that NASA's first manned Mars mission will involve humans orbiting a few times and coming back. Even Elon Musk says he'll be creating a “cargo route” to Mars long before he sends actual people to land there.

You see, Mars is a challenging destination. It's far away, the gravity is a fraction of Earth's — posing additional health hazards beyond the lack of atmospheric radiation shielding — and you have to be suited up just to breathe outside.

By contrast, Venus is a lot closer to Earth than Mars is. At their closest points, Venus is only 25 million miles away, compared with Mars's 34 million miles. The shorter distance means you'd need less time and fuel to get there, reducing the cost. And although Venus's surface temperature is hot enough to melt metal, and the crushing pressure will squish you like a bug, the upper atmosphere is actually rather habitable.

“At about 50 kilometers above the surface the atmosphere of Venus is the most earthlike environment (other than Earth itself) in the solar system,” wrote Geoffrey Landis, a NASA scientist, in a 2003 paper. Landis has spent much of his career dreaming up ways to make a human trip to Mars actually feasible, so he knows what he's talking about.
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross imagines what might become possible with cheap heavy spacelift.

  • blogTO notes the vandalization of the iconic Toronto sign during Nuit Blanche.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the detectability of interstellar comets.

  • Language Log looks at Chinese language transcriptions for Obama, Hillary, and Trump.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at impending hard Brexit and notes how the economy of Thailand is dominated by Bangkok.

  • The NYRB Daily writes at length about its apparent discovery of the identity of Elena Ferrante.

  • Savage Minds shares a Bolivian perspective on Donald Trump.

  • Strange Maps shares a list of ten potential Jewish homelands outside of Palestine.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at quiet Chechen dissidence and warns about the consequences of Putin's repressions.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell worries about the people soon to be in charge of the United Kingdom's Brexit negotiations.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
At D-Brief, Carl Engelking reports on how experiences on an island in the Canadian Arctic could aid in the colonization of Mars.

Talk of sending humans to Mars hit a fever pitch this week following SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s big announcement Tuesday.

He outlined an ambitious plan to begin sending cargo missions to Mars by 2018, with the first manned missions leaving by 2022 or 2023. Along the way, he hopes to improve the cost of trips by “5 million percent”, and establish a colony of 1 million souls there within 40 to 100 years. Let’s just say people had questions — The Verge’s Loren Grush outlined a few of them.

How will humans survive? What about radiation? How will they get around? What happens to the waste colonists flush down the toilet? We didn’t get a clear answer form Musk, but these are the kinds of questions that NASA scientists have been working to answer for two decades in one of the most remote, empty places on earth: Devon Island.

Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on the planet, and it’s about as Mars-like as it gets. It’s home to the 14 mile-wide Haughton Crater, which is cold, dry, rocky and extremely isolated. Since 1997, Pascal Lee, planetary scientist at the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute, and director of the Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center, has led missions every summer from a small research station there to prepare people and design technologies for a trip to the Red Planet.

On the island, researchers have tested robots, spacesuits, drills and other tools that would aid future Mars explorers. It’s also a proving ground for would-be Mars colonists. Devon Island is isolated, the environment is brutal and the area is poorly mapped, which makes it the perfect place to get a taste of what might go wrong out there.
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait evaluates the doability of Elon Musk's proposal for colonizing Mars.

  • blogTO notes that Casa Loma will be transformed into a haunted house for the month of October.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes NASA's belief that Europa almost certainly has watery plumes.

  • False Steps shares an early American proposal for a lunar base.

  • Far Outliers notes the location of multiple massacres in Chinese military history.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that a far-right group is unhappy Alabama judge Roy Moore has been suspended.

  • The Map Room Blog notes the acquisition of a British-era map of Detroit.

  • Marginal Revolution speculates as to whether a country's VAT promotes exports.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the end of the Rosetta space probe.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog charts increases in maximum life expectancy over time.

  • Seriously Science notes a paper arguing that small talk diminishes happiness.

  • Towleroad reports on a gay Cameroonian asylum seeker in the United Kingdom at risk of deportation.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes Instapundit's departure from Twitter without noting why Reynolds is leaving.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on the complexities surrounding the possibility of another Finno-Ugric festival.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • blogTO shares the new face of the Broadview Hotel.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about the joys of the unscreened life.

  • Dead Things reports on a study suggesting that although humans are violent by the standards of mammals, we are among the least violent primates.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on the discovery of five sizable planets orbiting HIP 41378.

  • Language Log reports on the perils of 7 and 9 in Cantonese.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the usefulness of The Battle of Algiers.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reacts to the Elon Musk proposal for colonizing Mars.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer responds briefly to the question of what Mexico can do about Trump.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how the Russian invasion of Ukraine has spurred new arms purchases throughout the eastern half of Europe, even in Belarus.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • blogTO notes Mississauga's new waterfront park.

  • Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about the glamour and otherwise of the writer's life.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on a study of Epsilon Eridani.

  • Language Hat describes a fascinating-sounding book untranslated into English, "Oğuz Atay’s experimental, linguistically complex novel of ideas Tutunamayanlar (The Disconnected)".

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money describes the sheer numbers of books banned by Texan prisons.

  • Marginal Revolution describes the question of whether the United Kingdom will have a hard Brexit.

  • James Nicoll links to his review of the classic book of space colonization, Heppenheimer's 1977 Colonies in Space.

  • At the NYR Daily, Garry Wills reviews a recent performance in Chicago of Henry VI, Part Two.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at the polarization of media in the different parts of Donbas and notes worrying precedents for Putin's rationalization of Russia's government.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Bloomberg notes the closure of Poland's frontier with Kaliningrad, looks at how Google is beating out Facebook in helping India get connected to the Internet, notes British arms makers' efforts to diversify beyond Europe and examines the United Kingdom's difficult negotiations to get out of the European Union, looks at the problems of investing in Argentina, looks at the complications of Germany's clean energy policy, observes that the Israeli government gave the schools of ultra-Orthodox Jews the right not to teach math and English, examines the consequences of terrorism on French politics, and examines at length the plight of South Asian migrant workers in the Gulf dependent on their employers.

  • Bloomberg View notes Donald Trump's bromance with Putin's Russia, examines Melania Trump's potential immigrant problems, and is critical of Thailand's new anti-democratic constitution.

  • CBC looks at how some video stores in Canada are hanging on.

  • The Inter Press Service notes that the Olympic Games marks the end of a decade of megaprojects in Brazil.

  • MacLean's approves of the eighth and final book in the Harry Potter series.

  • The National Post reports on a Ukrainian proposal to transform Chernobyl into a solar farm, and examines an abandoned plan to use nuclear weapons to unleash Alberta's oil sands.

  • Open Democracy looks at the relationship between wealth and femicide in India, fears a possible coup in Ukraine, looks at the new relationship between China and Africa, examines the outsized importance of Corbyn to Britain's Labour Party, and looks how Armenia's defeat of Azerbaijan has given its veterans outsized power.

  • Universe Today notes proposals for colonizing Mercury, looks at strong support in Hawaii for a new telescope, and examines the progenitor star of SN 1987A.

  • Wired emphasizes the importance of nuclear weapons and deterrence for Donald Trump, and looks at how many cities around the world have transformed their rivers.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling mourns the death of Alvin Toffler.

  • The Big Picture shares images of the Istanbul airport attack.

  • blogTO notes Toronto's recent Trans March was the largest in world history.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly interviews memoirist Plum Johnson.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the determination of distances to dim stars and looks at the total energies likely to be used in interstellar travel and interplanetary colonization.

  • Crooked Timber notes the ordered recount in Austria's presidential elections and advocates for anti-militarism.

  • D-Brief notes the exciting discoveries of Ceres, and observes that ancient tombs may have doubled as astronomical observatories.

  • The Dragon's Gaze considers where warm Jupiters form, considers the stability of complex exoplanet systems, and notes a high-precision analysis of solar twin HIP 100963.

  • The Dragon's Tales wonders if the shape of Martian sand dunes indicate a denser Martian atmosphere a bit more than four billion years ago.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers evictions and poverty in the United States.

  • Inkfish notes that different honeybees seem to have different personalities.

  • Language Hat notes the import of Maltese in Mediterranean history.

  • Language Log talks about Sino-Japanese.

  • Lovesick Cyborg shares the doubts of polled Americans with the viability of virtual lovers.

  • The LRB Blog shares an article supporting Corbyn.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that San Francisco was literally built on buried ships.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the collapse of Greek savings and looks at Euroskepticism's history in the United Kingdom.

  • Steve Munro updates readers on Union-Pearson Express ridership.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer thinks the Netherlands Antilles offer useful models to the United Kingdom, and is confused by a claim that that bias against Mexican immigrants does not exist when the data seems to suggest it does.

  • Torontoist goes into the life of conservative Protestant newspaper publishing Black Jack Robinson.

  • Transit Toronto notes that in a decade, GO Trains will connect Hamilton to Niagara Falls.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues against using the Brexit vote to argue against referenda.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the Russian deployment of military forces to the Belarus border, looks at Tatarstan's concern for its autonomy, observes the changing demographics of Ukraine, and notes the Russian debate over what sort of European Union collapse they would like.

  • Arnold Zwicky remembers his father through ephemera.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • The Big Picture looks at flooding in West Virginia.

  • Centauri Dreams considers how to develop a deep-space infrastructure.

  • Crooked Timber considers Boris Johnson and looks at the Norway option.

  • Dangerous Minds praises Laura Nyro.

  • The Dragon's Tales reports on Martian agriculture.

  • The LRB Blog considers the ongoing constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at the results of the Spanish elections.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • 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.

Profile

rfmcdonald: (Default)rfmcdonald

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 25th, 2017 02:45 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios