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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • The anthropology group blog Savage Minds now has a new name, Anthrodendum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Language Hat shares some stirring poetry in Scots.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • blogTO describes the changing designs of TTC maps over the past generations.

  • Cody Delistraty links to an article of his contrasting and comparing Donald Trump to Louis XIV.

  • Marginal Revolution shares facts about Qatar in this time of its issues.

  • Peter Rukavina describes the latest innovations in his homebrew blogging.

  • Towleroad notes the sad anniversary of the Pulse massacre in Orlando.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that there is still potent for Idel-Ural, a coalition of non-Russian minorities by the Volga.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines how Labour and the Tories made use of Big Data, and how Labour did much better.

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Back one day in March, I accidentally and irretrievably deleted the private entry on Dreamwidth that had contained links to URLs and details on sources that I had been saving for future posts for perhaps a couple of years. I was a bit upset by this, but, I soon realized, I was more upset by my accidental deletion of the entry than by the loss. This private document, full of links pointing to possible future writings, had become baggage, something to be periodically updated and then consistently forgotten.

This realization prompted me to a rethinking of what I am doing, as a writer and a blogger and a person active on social media. What, exactly, am I doing? Why am I doing this? What should I be doing?

I am still thinking. Suffice it to say that something different will be coming. If I don't decide to make sure this difference will arrive thanks to my effort, well, who will do that?
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  • D-Brief notes the first-ever use of Einsteinian gravitational bending to examine the mass of a star.
  • Language Log announces the start of an investigation into the evolving rhetoric of Donald Trump. Something is up.

  • The LRB Blog reports from Tuareg Agadez in Niger, about rebellions and migrant-smuggling.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders what is the rationale for the extreme cut-off imposed on Qatar.

  • Maximos62 wonders about the impact of Indonesia's fires on not just wildlife but indigenous peoples.

  • Personal Reflections notes the irrelevance of the United States' withdrawal from Paris, at least from an Australian position.

  • Savage Minds points to a new anthropology podcast.

  • Window on Eurasia
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Goodbye, rfmcdpei


Almost two hours ago, I deleted my LiveJournal. User rfmcdpei is no longer active on this site.

I do allow for the possibility that I might change my mind. Maybe I will bring it back temporarily, so as to convert it to some kind of personal docment via BlogBooker, or perhaps I will restore it in the name of minimizing link rot on the Internet and to continue to be able to read what few (ever fewer) people still write only on LiveJournal. This post, however, is the first post that I will not be crossposting from Dreamwidth over to LiveJournal, and no other post shall follow.

I did join the rush on account of the new user agreement unleashed earlier this week, of course.



Any number of news sources, like the Daily Dot and Boing Boing and Gizmodo and Charlie Stross at Autopope, have written at great length about the new terms of service agreement. That this agreement is not available, not in a legally binding form and not in a well-translated form, in the English language made the exodus inevitable.

Russia, as a classical dictatorship, wants to be able to restrict what people write about within its sphere, to do away with anonymity and to limit the range of permissible subject matter. LiveJournal, which happens to be based in Russia as a consequence of a long series of business decisions (bad decisions, I would argue, ones which kept LiveJournal from emerging as a lasting social network of worldwide scope), is subject. Therefore, anyone who is not dependent on LiveJournal is leaving a social network that appears to be fatally compromised.

(What is the opposite of soft power?)

I have had alternatives ready. Back in October 2012, I blogged about how I had moved away from LiveJournal as a primary blog, towards Dreamwidth for LiveJournal-like social networking and to WordPress for the more blog-like functions. I am losing nothing as a consequence of this. My regrets about this are not especially profound ones, characterized much more by wistfulness and nostalgia than by serious regret.

rfmcdpei has been around for a month short of fifteen years. It's amazing.



LiveJournal was always been there for me. I remember reading Tom's LiveJournal, and the LiveJournals of others, back in early 2002 when I was so desperate to connect with anyone. I remember how excited I was when I got an invite code from Darren back in June of 2002. I remember writing an online diary of my life there, and then, first slowly then with speed, transforming this diary into a blog. I know that I met all sorts of people who I know nd like even know there, came to learn all kinds of things there, helped other people learn through LiveJournal. In my life, LiveJournal was a huge net positive.

And now it's over. It's an era that was bound to end, I know, and what an era it was. Thank you, LiveJournalers and LiveJournal founders, too, for making this so good and fun.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Dwight on Facebook linked to a Metafilter feature noting that the servers of Livejournal--the social networking and blogging platform I got started on, the social networking and blogging platform that I still use--has moved to Russia. In light of that country's issues with basic freedoms, it's probably worth considering ending blogging on this platform.

As of a few days ago, the IP addresses for blogging service LiveJournal have moved to 81.19.74.*, a block that lookup services locate in Moscow, Russia. Now users -- especially those who do not trust the Russian government -- are leaving the platform and advising others to leave.

For years, the online blogging community LiveJournal -- popular in Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine -- has served as a key communications platform for Russian dissidents (the Committee to Protect Journalists earlier this month called on Russian authorities to release a LiveJournal user who has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for a critical blog post). Even after Russian company SUP bought it from California-based Six Apart in 2007 (previously), the fact that SUP continued to run the servers in the US meant that users felt relatively safe; a 2009 press release specifically said that LiveJournal, Inc.* would continue to run technical operations and servers in the United States (and claimed that 5.7 million LiveJournal users were Russia-based).

[. . .]

Tracerouting livejournal.com now points to a Moscow location and an ISP operated by Rambler Internet Holding LLC, the company that also owns SUP. (Former LiveJournal user Gary McGath says that a few days ago, he checked the IP location of livejournal.com, and it was in San Francisco.) LiveJournal's official news posts do not mention the change; users have begun to ask questions there and on their own journals.
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The start of a new year is a good time to add links to my blogroll, bloggish and otherwise.



Enjoy!
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At Demography Matters, I ask some questions of our readers. Are there particular trends you are interested in? Are there particular regions you would like to read about? Would analyses of the present here, try to predict the future, aim for a better understanding of the past? Would you like to be the one doing the analyzing?

Discuss, please.
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  • Beyond the Beyond notes that electronic newspapers just don't work.

  • blogTO notes that the Eaton Centre's HMV is closing.

  • Crooked Timber notes that it will be shifting to moderated commenting.

  • D-Brief notes a new sharp image of Eta Carinae.

  • Dead Things notes that some monkeys are apparently making stone tools.

  • Joe. My. God. shares Le Tigre's new pro-Clinton song, "I'm With Her".

  • The LRB Blog is critical of Britain's hostility towards refugee children.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a new historical atlas of Tibet.

  • The NYRB Daily examines Assange's reasons for using Wikileaks to help Trump.

  • The Planetary Society Blog notes that New Horizons target 2007 OR10 has a moon.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes the reasons for Ecuador's clamping down on Assange.

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What sites do you visit regularly? What are you into?

Let me know in the comments.
rfmcdonald: (forums)
I've been thinking about the direction of A Bit More Detail, and my social media presence generally, quite a lot recently.

What do you think about blogging? You're reading this: Why do you read this and other blogs? What do you want to get from them?
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Some time ago, Bruce Sterling linked to Anil Dash's essay (published at Medium) describing the many features of the early blogosphere that were lost in subsequent generations, but could plausibly be brought back.

Search

As extraordinary as it seems now, there was a point when one could search most of the blogs in the world and get a reasonably complete and up-to-date set of results in return. Technorati was a pioneering service here, and started by actually attempting to crawl all of the blogs on the Internet each time they updated; later this architecture evolved to require a “ping” (see Updates, below) each time a site updated. On the current internet, we can see relatively complete search results for hashtags or terms within Twitter or some other closed networks, but the closure of Google Blog Search in 2011 marked the end of “blog search” as a discrete product separate from general web search or news search. It’s easy to imagine that modern search software and vastly cheaper hardware make it possible to recreate a search engine for frequently-updated sites like news sites and blogs, with domain-specific features that general tools like Google News don’t offer.

Comments

In the early days of blogging, not every publishing tool supported comments natively; as a result, third-party commenting services popped up to meet the need. As the major tools incorporated their own commenting features, comment services came to be used primarily by big publishers using unwieldy content management systems that didn’t natively support commenting features. In the earlier era, comment systems were built without anticipating the ways that online communities would grow, and these serious design flaws enabled the widespread abuse that we see online today. Newer tools seem to be trying to put the genie back in the bottle, but large publishers are increasingly shutting down comments entirely rather than investing in building a healthy community.

Responses

One category of interaction between sites that’s nearly disappeared is the idea of structured responses between different authors or even different sites. Though Medium supports a limited version of this feature today, early tools like Trackback and Pingback made it possible for almost any site to let another site know that their story or article had inspired a response. Typically, those responses were shown under an article, similar to comments, but once Google introduced its advertising platforms like AdSense, links between sites suddenly had monetary value and spam links soon followed. A modern reinvention of Trackback-style features could connect conversations on different websites in the same way that @ replies work on Twitter.


I would also mention, as Dash did, Friends pages like those of Livejournal.

Thoughts?
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  • blogTO describes how Parkdale's Harry's diner is going to be revamped.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly describes the joys of making friends through the blogosphere.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at Kuiper Belt object Niku and its strange orbit.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at the controversy over Google's map of Palestine.

  • Marginal Revolution notes how Faroese women leave their home islands at a disproportionately high rate.

  • Peter Rukavina describes time spent with his son kayaking Charlottetown harbour.

  • Strange Maps depicts</> the shift of the global economic centre of the world.

  • Window on Eurasia describes the decay of provincial Karelia.

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  • The Big Picture reports from Boston's Methadone Mile.

  • The Broadside Blog celebrates its seventh anniversary.

  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage photos of Kate Bush.

  • Language Hat considers the position of Chinese poetry.

  • Otto Pohl reflects on his visit to Almaty.

  • Torontoist reports on how Torontonians are hacking Pokémon Go.

rfmcdonald: (non blog)
Here's a meta question: Who actually reads this? People who don't normally comment here, and people who read this at sites I don't track--Livejournal, Dreamwidth, Twitter, RSS feeds, you name it--please comment.
rfmcdonald: (me)
One thing I would like to do is to associate different nights with different kinds of long-form blog posts. Thursday would be for music, as it has been for years, while Wednesday might be for pop culture, Monday and Friday for more various themed stuff, and so on.

Thematically, I'd like to focus the blog tightly. The focus I've chosen so far is on Toronto and secondarily on islands, not just Prince Edward Island, leaving other linkage for the [BLOG] and [NEWS] posts of the earlier parts of the day.

If you have better ideas, please tell me.
rfmcdonald: (forums)
Indulge my curiosity, if you would. Do you write at all? Is it for work only, or for pleasure? What do you write? Where do you write?
rfmcdonald: (me)
I will be coming up with something in the next few days, some more durable and--I hope--profitable formula.

More later.

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