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  • The CBC u>notes the consensus that the new Ontario minimum wage will not hurt the economy, overall, but provide a mild boost.

  • The Toronto Star notes that, from 2019, analog television broadcasts will start ramping down.

  • The Toronto Star notes that high prices in Ontario's cottage country are causing the market to expand to new areas.

  • Gizmodo reports on one study suggesting that Proxima Centauri b does have the potential to support Earth-like climates.

  • Gizmodo notes one study speculating on the size of Mars' vanished oceans.

  • Quartz reports on how one community in Alaska and one community in Louisiana are facing serious pressures from climate change and from the political reaction to said.

  • CBC notes an oil platform leaving Newfoundland for the oceans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Canadian Broadcasting Centre's Ivan Harris Gallery is hidden away from the CBC Museum, behind the escalator leading to the Centre's food court. My attention was caught by the vintage technology on display, by the RCA TK-76 A camera that enabled mobile news gathering in the late 1970s, or the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 that could transmit as many as ten pages of text (!) from the field.

RCA TK-76 A Electronic News Gathering (ENG) Camera)

Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100

Televisions of the 1950s

Sound mixer

Tape recorder
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The CBC Museum is a free space inside the CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto on Front Street. The small space is full of artifacts from CBC's technological past and from more recent children's television programs like Mr. Dressup and The Friendly Giant. My attention, naturally, was focused on the latter.

The Tickle Trunk

Aluminum recording disk

CBC colour symbol

Cine-Kodak Special II film camera, circa 1955

Blocking for Jenny Maple Keys, Mr. Dressup

The Friendly Giant's Wall

Puppets of Mr. Dressup

Puppets of Sesame Park

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  • At Apostrophen, 'Nathan Smith writes about the status of his various writing projects.

  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling links to an article examining pieces of software that have shaped modern music.

  • blogTO notes the expansion of the Drake Hotel to a new Junction site. Clearly the Drake is becoming a brand.

  • Citizen Science Salon looks at how Internet users can help fight illegal fishing in the Pacific.

  • Crooked Timber asks readers for new Doctor Who candidates.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper finding that the presence of Proxima Centauri would not have inhibited planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.

  • The LRB Blog notes the growing fear among Muslims in the diaspora.

  • The Map Room Blog shares a reimagined map of the Paris metro.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy and Towleroad have very different opinions on the nomination of Neil Gorusch to the US Supreme Court.

  • Transit Toronto reports on the reopening of the TTC parking lot at Yorkdale.

  • Whatever's John Sclazi responds to the past two weeks of Trump-related chaos, and is not impressed.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church carries itself as an embattled minority because it is one, and looks at the future of Russian federalism in regards to Tatarstan.

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  • blogTO notes the continued rise in rental prices for apartments.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at a time in the Earth's history when there was a lot of atmospheric oxygen but not much life.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting there is an authentic lack of gas giant planets beyond 10 AU.

  • Itching for Eestimaa notes the British politicians who favoured the recognition of the Soviet annexation of the Baltics, and notes that those imperialist times of old are back.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that Trump voters tend to prefer Duck Dynasty and Clinton voters preferred Family Guy.

  • Marginal Revolution notes California's ban on funding travel to jurisdictions which discriminate against people on grounds of sexual orientation or gender.

  • Peter Watts describes a trip on hallucinogens.

  • The NYRB Daily shares Masha Gessen's concerns about the threat of moral authority.

  • Spacing links to some article about improving bike infrastructure.

  • Window on Eurasia warns of a new consolidation of Russian federal units.

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Niko Bell's Daily Xtra article makes me wonder whether I should, at long last, get a Google Chromecast or other like dongle and start watching television, again, after a lapse of a decade and a half.

Canadian LGBT cable channel OUTtv will shift its focus to a Netflix-style online subscription service, after being bought by a Vancouver investment firm.

The cable channel will remain in place until at least 2020, says incoming CEO Brad Danks, but the company’s main asset will become OUTtvGo, a $4-a-month streaming site, available for now only in Canada.

“It’s a transformation that needs to happen,” Danks says, citing a sagging cable broadcasting market and a new generation of customers accustomed to Netflix and YouTube. “We felt the timing was right.”

Vancouver’s Stern Partners, the owners of the Winnipeg Free Press among diverse other holdings, won permission from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to buy a majority stake in OUTtv at the end of December 2016. OUTtv’s previous owner and CEO — and husband of former BC NDP leader Joy MacPhail — James Shavick will stay on as a board member.

Danks says OUTtvGo will include much of the same programming as the cable channel, including every available season of OUTtv’s most popular offering, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Danks also says he hopes the online library will grow to include more shows for young people, lesbians and other groups who were underserved by the cable channel.

OUTtvGo will not deliver adult content; Danks says there’s no point competing with the vast array of adult videos online, and a porn-free collection will make it easier to work with tech partners such as Apple TV and mobile app stores.
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Thinking about last night's post on the position of religion in Star Trek, I realized not for the first time that I think way too much about the way that fictional universe plausibly works.

I am quite fine with that. It is a source of interest for me, an intellectual game playing with a setting that plenty of others know and can engage with. It can be fun, so why not go ahead?

That is me. What about you? What fictional universes do you like to try to analyze?
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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith has a two part review of some of the fiction that he has recently read.

  • blogTO looks at Casa Loma lit up for the holidays.

  • Dangerous Minds notes The London Nobody Knows, a documentary of the grim areas of late Victorian London.

  • Language Hat looks at how 16th century Spanish linguists represented Nahuatl spelling.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the iatrogenic transmission of syphilis via unsterile instruments during the Civil War.

  • The LRB Blog notes the many conflicting contracts signed by the KGB with different television groups at the end of the Cold War.

  • Marginal Revolution notes Rio de Janeiro's attempts to deal with tourism-targeted crime by compensating victims with a tourist-directed tax.

  • Maximos62 looks at the geological reasons for Indonesia's volcanism.

  • Progressive Download looks at the all-woman Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at the backstory behind the creation of the village of Crapaud.

  • Spacing Toronto looks at how signs asking people to go slow in children-inhabited zones.

  • Torontoist looks at where Suicide Squad was filmed in Toronto.

  • The Understanding Society Blog looks at the specific experiences which molded the French tradition of sociology.

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  • blogTO recommends five neighbourhoods for people looking for apartments.

  • False Steps' Paul Drye describes a failed European-Russian project for a manned capsule.

  • Language Log looks at the oddity of English pronunciations of words in foreign languages, like placenames, with no connection to how these words are pronounced in English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is critical of the coverage given to Trump and Clinton, finding it biased against the latter.

  • Marginal Revolution suggests that seasteading has a future.

  • The NYRB Daily suggests Israeli colonization will mean the end of the traditional lifestyle of Palestinian Bedouin.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on the spread of the red fire ant in Australia.

  • Peter Rukavina describes the unusual round boundaries of the Island village of Crapaud.

  • Savage Minds shares a lovely timeline of the history of anthropology.

  • Torontoist looks at the origins of human rights law in Ontario.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Russia's position as the Soviet successor state hampers its ability to engage with Communism, and reports on Belarus' concern at the dominance of local television by Russian imports.

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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith notes that his husky loves the winter that has descended on Ottawa.

  • blogTO notes Toronto's continuing housing price spikes.

  • D-Brief notes that chimpanzees apparently are built to recognize butts.

  • Dead Things reports on discoveries of the first land vertebrates.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the weird patterns of KIC 8462852.

  • Marginal Revolution considers Westworld's analogies to the Haitian Revolution.

  • Steve Munro looks at the latest on the TTC budget.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the controversial nature of the new official doctrine of Russia's nationhood.

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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith tells the story of how he and his husband got the latest ornament for their tree.

  • blogTO looks at Toronto Instagram star Aimee Hernandez.

  • Language Hat parses the language of Wallace Stegner's fiction.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the worrying spread of smears and lies.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at a musical highway in New Mexico.

  • Torontoist describes biking in Toronto in the 1970s.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy takes issue with the new Gilmore Girls.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia would not accept Ukraine's Finlandization and reports on dissent among Russia's Muslims with the idea of a new state-imposed hierarchy.

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The Toronto Star's Hina Alam reports on Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch's call to take apart the CBC entirely, going one better on Maxine Bernier's call to defund and reorganize the broadcaster.

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is proposing to sell the CBC, saying she doesn’t believe the broadcaster should be “propped up by taxpayers.”

“What I’m proposing is that it either be subject to an asset sale or an IPO, whichever will salvage the best value for Canadians with the intention being we get the best value for money for taxpayers,” said Leitch (Simcoe-Grey) on Thursday.

The pledge was dismissed by the NDP as “ridiculous.”

“We’re back in the 1920s,” said MP Pierre Nantel (Longueuil-Saint-Hubert). “How about going back to Morse code?”

Leitch linked her proposal to another of the major policy items she has put forward — instituting a cap on government spending. This means that every department will have to play its part, she said.
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The National Post carries a report, from Jason Fekete of the Ottawa Citizen, about how Maxine Bernier would like to undermine the CBC as a strong broadcaster with adequate public funding.

Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier is promising to overhaul CBC/Radio-Canada – an institution he says “seems frozen in time” — by cutting hundreds of millions in funding, streamlining its mandate and getting it out of the advertising market.

Bernier says CBC/Radio-Canada “should stop doing three-quarters of what it still does” that private broadcasters are already doing, including running game shows and cooking programs, sports programming, music streaming and a website devoted to opinion journalism.

It also needs to stop “unfairly” competing with struggling private media in a shrinking advertising market, he says.

With a media landscape that now includes hundreds of channels and millions of sources of information and culture, “CBC/Radio-Canada seems frozen in time,” he said.

“It tries to occupy every niche, even though it doesn’t have and will never have the means to do so, with the result being lower-quality programming,” Bernier told reporters.

“With my proposal, CBC/Radio-Canada will stop competing unfairly with private media, and will be more respectful of the taxpayers that help fund it. It will also become a more relevant public institution, helping to reinforce our culture and our national identity.”
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  • blogTO notes that retail space on Bloor Street in Yorkville is not only the priciest in Canada, but among the priciest in the world.

  • Centauri Dreams notes how fast radio bursts, a natural phenomenon, can be used to understand the universe.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at a Kate Bush music performance on Dutch television in 1978.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to an analysis of the asteroids disintegrating in orbit of WD 1145+017.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes evidence from meteorites that Mars has been dry and inhospitable for eons.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the way we construct time.

  • Language Log highlights a 1943 phrasebook for English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Hokkien.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the resistance of the Tohono O'odham, a border people of Arizona and Sonora, to a wall.

  • The LRB Blog looks at a curious painting claiming to depict the cause of England's greatness.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the sheer scale of mass tourism in Iceland.

  • Strange Maps shares an interesting map depicting support for Clinton and Trump, showing one as a continental landmass and the other as an archipelago.

  • Towleroad praises the musical Falsettos
  • for its LGBT content (among other things).
  • Window on Eurasia looks at controversy over ethnonyms in Russian, and argues Putinism is a bigger threat to the West than Communism.

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blogTO's Ed Conroy engages with the history of MuchMusic. Myself, it's difficult for me to underestimate the importance of MuchMusic in helping to form my sense of Toronto, even the wider Canadian cultural landscape.

Whatever happened to MuchMusic? At a time when Toronto once again finds itself at the axis of the music universe, with internationally recognized artists, sprawling iconic venues, and world-wide appetite for information on our city and its cultural conduits, "The Nation's Music Station" is AWOL and missed more than ever before.

MuchMusic debuted at the sweaty end of summer '84, after gnomic Citytv visionary Moses Znaimer pursued a 24-hour music station while CRTC indifference kept it at bay for years. In the meanwhile, Znaimer and some extraordinarily talented people in Toronto began producing smart music television - first with The New Music, then Toronto Rocks, then finally the seminal City Limits in 1983.

By the time a broadcast license was granted the creative maelstrom at Citytv's 99 Queen Street East location ensured MuchMusic was unmissable, depth charge television from day one.

Down south, MTV had been trolling TV buzz since its launch in 1981, but outside of the endless stream of music videos it lacked self-awareness, and came across as somewhat dull (to most satellite viewers watching illegally in Canada, anyways).

Citytv's The New Music not only pre-dated MTV, but also presaged the age of the VJ, real "characters" to help guide the audience through all this groovy new stuff.
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  • blogTO notes how expensive Toronto's rental market is.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system.

  • Crooked Timber engages with the complexities of racism.

  • The Crux shares some oral history about the detection of the first gravitational wave.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports about the difficulties involved with detecting exoplanets around red dwarfs and describes the discovery of a super-Earth orbiting an orange dwarf in the Pleiades.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that New York City ended free web browsing at browsing stations because people kept looking up porn.

  • Language Log notes that a partially shared script does not make Chinese readable by speakers of Japanese, and vice versa.

  • Marginal Revolution cautions against the idea that Brexit is over.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer talks about the usefulness of counterfactuals, especially good counterfactuals.

  • Torontoist argues that the TTC needs more cats. Why not?

  • The Volokh Conspiracy links to a comparative global study of settlements in occupied territories.

  • Window on Eurasia reports that Google has displaced television as a primary source of news for Russians.

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The 50th anniversary of Star Trek has gotten no small amount of resonance in the blogosphere. In my corner alone, see Russell Arben Fox's recounting of five classic moments of the original series, or Paul Campos' open discussion thread at Lawyers, Guns and Money. For me, Charlie Janes Anders' "What if Star Trek Had Never Existed?", published at Wired resonates deeply.

Even trying to imagine a world without Star Trek is like visiting an alternate world as weird as any planet the Enterprise ever voyaged to. And, obviously, it’s impossible to prove a counterfactual, especially one about a show that has now had so many incarnations in TV, film, and other media. But the fact of the matter is even though the Space Age was in full swing in the mid-1960s and shows like Irwin Allen’s sci-fi hits Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space were getting attention, nothing as smart and sprawling as Star Trek had ever been seen before. Where Lost in Space was a kid-friendly show that aired at 7:30 p.m., Roddenberry’s show was a more mature version of sci-fi, one that aired in a more adult-oriented timeslot.

And if that second Trek pilot hadn’t happened for whatever reason, NBC might have filled the gap with another goofy Irwin Allen show. The network did, after all, consider picking up two Allen productions in the late 1960s: Man From the 25th Century and City Beneath the Sea. But based on interviews with over a dozen experts, one truth emerges: If Gene Roddenberry hadn’t been willing to fight for his show, and Lucille Ball’s studio hadn’t been willing to take a chance on it, nobody else might have been able to make something as visually and intellectually ambitious as Trek.

“I think that Star Trek emerged from a unique convergence of very special talents, and it is very possible that in their absence, nothing of a similar quality would have appeared,” says science fiction scholar Gary Westfahl, author of The Mechanics of Wonder, adding that it’s easy to imitate the pulp 1930s space-opera of E.E. “Doc” Smith (as George Lucas and others later did), but vastly harder to imitate the more mature space adventures of Robert A. Heinlein (the way Roddenberry did).

And that’s really the crux of what made Star Trek different, especially for American TV of the time: It showed space exploration as a serious endeavor, one undertaken by a crew of professionals. That vision had existed in print science fiction for years, but it was extraordinarily difficult to bring to the screen.

“He made a science fiction series about humans, about us,” Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry says of his father. “I think a lot of the other science fiction of the day was more fear-oriented: ‘Look at this crazy alien. Look at them attacking us.’ It was one-dimensional science fiction.”

Star Trek got those additional dimensions by unifying disparate strands. Long before sci-fi allegories like Battlestar Galactica, the show was combining 1930s pulp space opera with the rising tide of social criticism in 1960s sci-fi novels. Trek also tied together the thought experiments of The Twilight Zone with Western-style action and Captain Video-style space adventure. Without that pioneering work, it’s not hard to imagine today’s world of sci-fi movies and TV looking very different.

Without Star Trek, I cannot imagine how different my experiences, of science fiction and of pop culture and of other people, would have been. I daresay that I've been bettered by it. What else can I say but "Thanks for the shows" and hope for more to come? Discovery, at least, looks pretty promising.
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Friday night, I watched Star Trek: Beyond with my friend Jonathan and was pleased. This film, third in the reboot series, easily felt the Trekkiest of the three, and the most fun of the three. The plot works (compliments to star and co-writer Simon Pegg), all the major characters got development, canon was referenced without overpowering the plot, and Beyond at its best did capture a sense of wonder. The film's relative underperformance aside, I would say it promises good things for the future of the franchise.

I am a fan. In recent years, my participation has been limited to reading the tie-in fiction of the Star Trek expanded universe, since that's all we've had since the end of Enterprise a decade ago. I am quite excited by the impending Toronto-filmedseries Discovery. Showrunner Bryan Fuller's reputation, that of the writers he is bringing with him, and the promises he has made about settings and representation, promise good things.

What do you think? Does Star Trek still have a future? Or do you think otherwise? This is the fiftieth anniversary of the franchise, after all. Is it time for something new?

What say you all?
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  • Antipope considers the question of who would win in a battle to the end, Cthulhu or Warhammer 40K's Emperor of Mankind?

  • blogTO shares history and photos of Humber Bay Shores and the Scarborough Bluffs.

  • Joe. My. God. notes Donald Trump's attack on the Japanese-American alliance.

  • Language Hat reports on how speakers of the Aboriginal language of Murrinhpatha point out directions.

  • Marginal Revolution starts a discussion on the Faroe Islands.

  • George R.R. Martin announces that his Wild Cards universe is set to come to television.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Americans are recognizing Putin's regime as negative, looks at pro-Russian Ukrainian journalists, and observes how Russia's invasion has not affected the identity of Ukraine's Russophones.

  • Arnolz Zwicky celebrates (1, 2) British actor Ianto Jones.


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