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  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting exoplanet transits could start a galactic communications network.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the connections between eating and identity.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas looks at the need for a critical study of the relationship between technology and democracy.

  • Language Hat notes how nationalism split Hindustani into separate Hindi and Urdu languages.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reflects on the grim outlook in Somalia after the terrible recent Mogadishu bombing.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen thinks Trump's decertification of the Iran deal is a bad idea.

  • The Map Room Blog links to an article imagining a counter-mapping of the Amazon by indigenous peoples.

  • Neuroskeptic considers the possibility of Parkinson's being a prion disease, somewhat like mad cow disease.

  • The NYR Daily notes that a Brexit driven by a perceived need to take back control will not meet that need, at all.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw looks at the problem Sydney faces as it booms.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at the extent to which an independent Catalonia would be ravaged economically by a non-negotiated secession.

  • Peter Watts tells the sad story of an encounter between Toronto police and a homeless man he knows.

  • Window on Eurasia notes a Sakhalin bridge, like a Crimea bridge, may not come off because of Russian weakness.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes a team of students who caught footage of the August solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon.

  • D-Brief notes the discovery that the early Moon apparently had a very thin atmosphere for tens of millions of years.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to Elon Musk's descriptions of his space ambitions.

  • Hornet Stories notes that many on the alt-right are upset that game Wolfenstein is all about shooting Nazis.

  • The LRB Blog notes the almost ridiculous irony of Conservative Theresa May wearing a bracelet with the image of radical leftist Frida Kahlo.

  • Russell Darnley looks at efforts to get Singapore restaurants to shift away from using environmentally damaging palm oil.

  • The NYR Daily looks at the overwhelming power of the NRA in the modern United States.

  • The Planetary Society Blog considers ways we can do SETI better by having a less Eurocentric understanding of our own history.

  • Window on Eurasia wonders if Uzbekistan and Kyrgzystan could solve border issues through swapping enclaves.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the corrosive effect of Bannon, and journalistic culture generally, on politics.

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  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of uploading a digital "Golden Record" into the memory of New Horizons.

  • Crooked Timber takes a look at American legal writer (and judge) Richard Posner's embrace of pragmatism. What does it mean?

  • D-Brief notes the rapid melting of the glaciers that feed the major rivers of Asia.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering ways to detect planets in orbit of red giants.

  • The LRB Blog considers the potential for political tumult in Saudi Arabia, in the wake of arrests and rumours.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a new gravity map of Mars, revealing the crust of that world to be less dense and more variable than thought.

  • The NYR Daily looks at the South China Sea dispute in the wake of Indonesia's newly restated claims.

  • Roads and Kingdoms looks at Philadelphia's seasonal cookie--spiced wafer--wars.

  • Drew Rowsome is a big fan of the movie adaptation of It.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that, for want of better options, the Donbas republics' people might return to Ukraine.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte, loneliest galaxy in the Local Group.

  • Centauri Dreams examines the recent detailed view of the star Antares, and notes Antares' mysteries.

  • False Steps' Paul Drye notes Project Adam, a Sputnik-era proposal for a manned American suborbital flight.

  • Far Outliers recounts a 1945 encounter between an American general and the Sultan of Sulu, impoverished by the war.

  • Language Log notes the Sino-Indian propaganda video war over their border dispute in the Himalayas.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the messy process of the demobilization of FARC in Colombia.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at how Virginia has managed to become a multicultural success story.

  • The NYR Daily looks at the photos of India taken by Cartier-Bresson.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders how, despite the drug war, Mexico City continues to feel (even be) so peaceful. Can it last?

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel goes through the many reasons why it makes no sense to fear first contact with aliens.

  • Strange Company tells of Bunkie Dodge, pool-playing cat of early 20th century New England.

  • Unicorn Booty notes that the new Taylor Swift song is inspired by Right Said Fred's "I'm So Sexy."

  • Window on Eurasia shares an argument that an essentially post-colonial Russophone cultural community cannot coexist with a Russian empire.

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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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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the emergent evidence for exomoon Kepler-1625b-I.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the future of technological civilizations: what if they do not always ascend, but stagnate?

  • D-Brief takes issue with the idea of the "digital native." Everyone needs to adopt new technology at some point.

  • Are Elon Musk and Space-X backing away from the Mars colony plans? The Dragon's Tales notes.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a map of massacres of Aborigines on the Australian frontiers.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders if widespread roboticization really will increase productivity much.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the traditional rum of Newfoundland.

  • Drew Rowsome likes a new Toronto show, Permanence, in part for its take on male sexuality and sexual presence.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes that Russia leads the world in cat ownership.

  • Strange Company reports on coin-collecting 1920 cat Peter Pan Wass.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at the potential conflicts between "contingency" and "explanation."

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how a Nassau County legislator wants to block a Roger Waters conconcert because of his support for an Israel boycott.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Chinese outnumber Jews in the Far East's Jewish Autonomous Oblast. (Not many of both, mind.)

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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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  • Centauri Dreams considers the challenges and the prospects of laser SETI.

  • Citizen Science Salon reports on a couple who have done their best to keep their bee numbers up.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Milo's book, contrary to Milo's claims, has performed very badly indeed in the UK, among other places.

  • Language Log features a poetic digression by Victor Mair on Chinese characters for words like "plum" and "wine."

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that moderate Republicans in Congress might not be all that.

  • The LRB Blog considers Nice at, and after, the time of last year's terrorist attacks.

  • Marginal Revolution features Tyler Cowen's description of his writing processes.

  • Drew Rowsome interviews Toronto gay photographer Dylan Rosser.

  • Unicorn Booty looks back at the history of the queercore movement--gay punk, as a first approximation.

  • Vintage Space links to an article explaining why there was neither an Apollo 2 nor an Apollo 3.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests the Russian state is undermining various once-allied Russian nationalist movements.

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  • blogTO reported that York University plans on opening a satellite campus in York Region's Markham. This is a first.

  • Dangerous Minds notes a new, posthumous release from Suidide's Alan Vega.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the detectability of Niven ringworlds around pulsars. (Maybe.)

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers burnout among sociology students, and suggests that engagement with issues is key to overcoming it.

  • The Great Grey Bridge's Philip Turner photoblogs his recent Rhode Island vacation.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on the arrest of a Christian activist protesting outside of the Pulse memorial in Orlando.

  • The LRB Blog shares considerable concern that the Democratic Unionists of Northern Ireland are now national powermakers.

  • Spacing Toronto shares the ambitious plan of Buenos Aires to make the city better for cyclists, pedestrians, and mass transit
  • Transit Toronto notes that starting Friday, Metrolinx will co-sponsor $C25 return tickets to Niagara from Toronto.

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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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  • Beyond the Beyond notes an image of a wooden model of Babbage's difference engine.

  • James Bow talks about the soundtrack he has made for his new book.

  • Centauri Dreams considers ways astronomers can detect photosynthesis on exoplanets and shares images of Fomalhaut's debris disk.

  • Crooked Timber looks at fidget spinners in the context of discrimination against people with disabilities.

  • D-Brief notes that Boyajian's Star began dimming over the weekend.

  • Far Outliers reports on a 1917 trip by zeppelin to German East Africa.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that there is good reason to be concerned about health issues for older presidential candidates.

  • The NYRB Daily reports on Hungary's official war against Central European University.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the origins of modern immigration to Russia in internal Soviet migration.

  • Savage Minds shares an ethnographer's account of what it is like to look to see her people (the Sherpas of Nepal) described.

  • Strange Maps shares a map speculating as to what the world will look like when it is 4 degrees warmer.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that the US Congress does not have authority over immigration.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia's population will be concentrated around Moscow, compares Chechnya's position vis-à-vis Russia to Puerto Rico's versus the United States, and looks at new Ukrainian legislation against Russian churches and Russian social networks.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes how Evelyn Waugh's writings on the Horn of Africa anticipate the "Friedman unit", the "a measurement of time defined as how long it will take until things are OK in Iraq".

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  • The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.

  • blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.

  • Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.

  • Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs' challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.

  • The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country's history of emigration.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn's smaller moons.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus' religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.

  • Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin's famous quote about what parents do to their children.

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  • blogTO looks at eleven recent Toronto-themed books, from fiction to children's literature.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.

  • Far Outliers reports on how German East Africa substituted for foreign imports during the blockade of the First World War.

  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the fall of Rome may have been due to the failure to reconquer North Africa.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the exuberant art of Jazz Age Florence Stettheimer.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a stunning portrait of Jupiter from the New Horizons probe.

  • Window on Eurasia considers the idea of containment in the post-Cold War world.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the British election.

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  • Anthropology.net reports on new evidence that Homo naledi may have used tools, buried their dead, and lived alongside Homo sapiens.
  • Centauri Dreams remembers an abortive solar sail mission to Halley's Comet.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the "Apache" dancers of France.

  • Cody Delistraty writes about Swedish futurist Anders Sandberg and his efforts to plan for humanity's future.

  • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer talks about her day as a sociologist.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the good news that normal young HIV patients can now expect near-normal life expectancies.

  • Language Hat looks at a recent surge of interest in Italian dialects.

  • Language Log looks at the phenomenon of East Asians taking English-language names.

  • The LRB Blog considers the dynamics of the United Kingdom's own UDI.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at the existential issues of a growing Kinshasa still disconnected from the wider world.

  • Steve Munro notes that Metrolinx will now buy vehicles from France's Alstom.

  • The New APPS Blog uses Foucault to look at the "thanatopolitics" of the Republicans.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at Trump's constitutional crisis.

  • Out There considers the issues surrounding the detection of an alien civilization less advanced than ours.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the United States' planetary science exploration budget.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at Argentina's underrated reputation as a destination for foreign investment.

  • Progressive Download shares some thinking about sexual orientation in the context of evolution.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at the success of wind energy generation on the Island.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at the dynamics of Rome.

  • Window on Eurasia shares a lunatic Russian scheme for a partition of eastern Europe between Russia and Germany.

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  • James Bow calls for an end to the US-Canada Safe Third Country agreement prohibiting people coming from American soil from claiming refugee status in Canada.

  • D-Brief reports on the vast array of man-made minerals appearing in what is now being called the Anthropocene Era of Earth.

  • Dangerous Minds notes the efforts of the Disco Preservation Society to preserve DJ mixes from 1980s San Francisco.

  • Language Log takes issue with Neil DeGrasse Tyson's argument that cryptographers, not linguists, would be needed in Arrival.

  • The LRB Blog notes impunity for murderers of civil society activists in Honduras.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen talks about Joyce Gladwell's autobiography Brown Face, Big Master.

  • The NYRB Daily celebrates the work of Hercules Segers.

  • The Planetary Society Blog is skeptical of the Space X plan to send tourists past the Moon by 2018.

  • Supernova Condensate lists 8 things we know about Proxima Centauri b.

  • Towleroad reports on new walking tours being offered of gay London.

  • Arnold Zwicky engages with a California exhibition comparing paintings with movies.

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  • blogTO notes the Distillery District's Toronto Light Festival.

  • Border Thinking Laura Agustín looks at migrants and refugees in James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia.

  • Centauri Dreams suggests that Perry's expedition to Japan could be taken as a metaphor for first contact.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a report about how brown dwarf EPIC 219388192 b.

  • The LRB Blog notes the use of torture as a technique of intimidation.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at China's very heavy investment in Laos.

  • The NYRB Daily examines violence and the surprising lack thereof in El Salvador.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw touches on the controversies surrounding Australia Day.

  • Transit Toronto reports the sentencing of some people who attacked TTC officers.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that a Putin running out of resources needs to make a deal.

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Astronomy's John Wenz reports on a proposal to try to initiate contact with a hypothetical civilization on Proxima Centauri b that does not necessarily leave me cold, or worried. A hypothetical Proximan civilization only a decade more advanced in observational astronomy that us might well be aware of the existence of Earth, could conceivably even be aware of our technological civilization's existence. A Proximan civilization capable of travelling to us would certainly know this. That said, the critics' argument that this is the sort of thing that really should be handled by a broad-based coalition also makes sense. If we are going to send out messages, let's try to come up with some standards, at least.

Douglas Vakoch, the former Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, is launching the METI Initiative with one planet in mind: the recently discovered planet around Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth (and thus the closest exoplanet.)

Vakoch says that METI has more than a few targets in mind, there are a few advantages to Proxima Centauri b.

“First, it’s close to our solar system, keeping the time for a roundtrip exchange as short as possible,” Vakoch says. “Second, some have suggested that this exoplanet is potentially habitable.”

[. . .]

“To be intelligible, any message to extraterrestrials needs to be written in a universal language, and that won’t be English or Swahili,” Vakoch says. “We begin with mathematics, because it seems likely that scientists on any world will need to know at least the essentials of math.”

Then there’s the question of why, which Vakoch paraphrases SETI research Ronald Bracewell in saying that humanity should “join the Galactic Club.” Even bigger, though, is the question of “why should we broadcast that we’re here in case we, you know, get invaded.” Of the many, many things that Stephen Hawking has said publicly in recent years, the dangers of alien contact has come up again and again. Some in the SETI community say a cautious approach should be taken, with a consortium saying, “We know nothing of ETI’s intentions and capabilities, and it is impossible to predict whether ETI will be benign or hostile.”
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  • blogTO notes Niagara Falls' new light show.

  • Body Horrors reports on a 1980 epidemic of MRSA among Detroit drug users.

  • Centauri Dreams describes the final orbits of Cassini around Saturn.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting Tabby's Star is being star-mined.

  • Language Log looks at an element of Chinese slang regarding telecommunications.

  • The LRB Blog argues against blaming migrants for problems on the left.

  • The Planetary Society Blog discusses the continued Dawn mission around Ceres.

  • Savage Minds talks about the need to slow down in a time of crisis.

  • Seriously Science notes research suggesting whales jump out of the water for purposes of communication.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that, in the United States, flag burners cannot be stripped of their citizenship.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians would like the West to make up on Russia's terms and looks at the embassies and delegations of Russia's component regions.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at signs of advanced technologies detectable by SETI searches.

  • D-Brief notes evidence of the domestication of turkeys in eth and 5th century Mexico.

  • Dangerous Minds discusses a legendary 1985 concert by Einstürzende Neubauten.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the banning of Tila Tequila from Twitter.

  • Language Log looks about a Hebrew advertisement that makes use of apostrophes.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money bids farewell to one of its bloggers, Scott Eric Kauffman.

  • The LRB Blog notes that Israel is fine with anti-Semites so long as they are Zionists.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that Hillary Clinton won the most economically productive areas of the United States.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer suggests anti-sprawl legislation helped lose the recent election.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes Russia's banning of LinkedIn.

  • Towleroad notes Ellen Degeneres' winning of a Presidential honor medal.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Trump could be much less easy to handle than the Kremlin thinks, and looks at claims that small northern peoples are conspiring with foreigners.

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  • blogTO shares some photos of Toronto in colour from the 1950s.

  • Centauri Dreams talks about SETI in the light of the Anthropocene era.

  • Dangerous Minds notes that there is now a hipster nativity scene available for purchase.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting that tidal heating could explain the difference between super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that protecting Trump in New York City costs that municipality a million dollars a day, and notes a parade of Spanish fascists in support of Trump.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that politics is identity politics.
  • The LRB Blog notes the end of Sarkozy's campaign and revisits Goldwater.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the latest about the population of Ukraine.

  • Towleroad notes the hateful mail received by an out mayor in Massachusetts.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at Trump's apparently anti-constitutional entanglement of business and politics.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on how Russia's promotion of the Russian language in neighbouring countries is backfiring, and looks at the hard nationalist line of Patriarch Kirill against Ukrainian autocephaly and multiculturalism in Russia.

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