- The Ontario government is not backing down on rent control despite impending conversions of real estate to condos.
- blogTO notes this last heat wave has made the Toronto Islands superb, at last. I visited Sunday--visit while you can.
- The 401 Richmond arts centre is getting tax relief, letting it function as a home for culture in a booming downtown.
- Christopher Hume argues amalgamation, by undermining old power structures, made progress in Toronto impossible.
- Far Outliers notes how the new Suez Canal helped create a network of coal-using port cities across Eurasia.
- Hornet Stories notes that Serbia's out lesbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic, marched in Belgrade's pride parade.
- Joe. My. God. notes a statement by the Pentagon that transgender troops can still re-enlist for the next few months.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes a fundamentally ill-thought defense of colonialism by Bruce Gilley.
- Marginal Revolutions notes that Swedish support for the far right is linked to perceptions of foreign threats to employment.
- Out There looks at the last days of Cassini at Saturn.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes real estate shenanigans in greater Sydney.
- Drew Rowsome has a critical, but positive, review of closeted gay author Frank M. Robinson's autobiography.
- The Volokh Conspiracy sums up the outcome of the controversial monkey selfie copyright case.
- Window on Eurasia suggests that Russian challenges to language legislation in Tatarstan hint at future challenges.
- blogTO lists some interesting things to do and see in Toronto's American neighbour, Buffalo.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly strongly defends contemporary journalism as essential for understanding the world.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money rightly takes issue with the claim identity politics hinders the US left. Remember New Deal coalitions?
- Marginal Revolution notes just how expensive it is to run Harvard.
- Otto Pohl notes the upcoming 76th anniversary of the Soviet deportation of the Volga Germans.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer reports on the remarkably fluent code-switching between English and French of some Washington D.C. subway riders.
- Strange Maps notes rival food and fabric maps of India and Pakistan.
- Tricia Wood at Torontoist argues that, for environmental and economic reasons, Ontario needs high-speed rail.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Tatarstan has done a poor job of defending its sovereignty from the Russian government.
- Antipope Charlie Stross takes a look at the parlous state of the world, and imagines what if the US and UK went differently.
- Bad Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at Sirius, including white dwarf Sirius B.
- Centauri Dreams considers Cassini's final function, as a probe of Saturn's atmosphere.
- D-Brief notes the discovery that diamonds rain deep in Neptune (and Uranus).
- Bruce Dorminey reports on a NASA scientist's argument that we need new interstellar probes, not unlike Voyager 1.
- The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the way a course syllabus is like a Van Halen contract rider.
- Language Hat takes a look at the palimpsests of St. Catherine's Monastery, deep in the Sinai.
- Language Log looks at the etymology, and the history, of chow mein.
- The LRB Blog recounts a visit to Mount Rushmore in the era of Trump.
- Marginal Revolution takes a look at the question of why Mexico isn't enjoying higher rates of economic growth.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw considers the extent to which politics these days is just sound and fury, meaning nothing.
- Mark Simpson links to an essay of his explaining why we should be glad the Smiths broke up in 1987.
- Speed River Journal's Van Waffle considers the import, to him and the environment, of a spring near his cottage.
- Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel looks at the abundance of black holes in our galaxy, more than one hundred million.
- Unicorn Booty notes that smoking marijuana might--might--have sexual benefits.
- Window on Eurasia shares an argument that ethnic Russians in Russia share issue in common with whites in America, and reports on an argument made by one man that ethnic Russians in republics need not learn local languages.
- Centauri Dreams looks at two brown dwarf pairs, nearby Luhman 16 and eclipsing binary WD1202-024.
- D-Brief notes a study suggesting panspermia would be easy in the compact TRAPPIST-1 system.
- Far Outliers notes the shouted and remarkably long-range vocal telegraph of early 20th century Albania.
- Language Hat links to a fascinating blog post noting the survival of African Latin in late medieval Tunisia.
- The LRB Blog notes the observations of an Englishman in Northern Ireland that, after the DUP's rise, locals are glad other Britons are paying attention.
- Marginal Revolution notes a study suggesting that refugees in the US end up paying more in taxes than they receive in benefits.
- Spacing reviews a fascinating-sounding new book on the politics and architecture of new libraries.
- Understanding Society examines the mechanisms through which organizations can learn.
- Window on Eurasia talks about the progressive detachment of the east of the North Caucasus, at least, from wider Russia.
- 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.
- blogTO shares media exploring how Toronto was marketed internationally in the 1980s. This decade apparently saw less concentration on landmarks and more on cultural activities.
- The Map Room Blog links to a National Geographic collection of the childhood maps of cartographers.
- Marginal Revolution notes that the loosening of China's one-child policy has not resulted in much change.
- Justin Petrone wonders if Estonians are weird.
- Steve Munro reports on the many, many problematic things coming out of Metrolinx, including fare-by-distance and the ongoing PRESTO disasters.
- Supernova Condensate shares a thought-provoking set of statues on global warming, Follow the Leaders.
- Torontoist's Kieran Delamont notes the astonishing thoughtlessness of new fashion brand Homeless Toronto.
- Window on Eurasia looks at a Belarus in a state of political ferment that might--might--be pre-revolutionary, and wonders if disbanding Russia's ethnic republics could be profoundly destabilizing.
- blogTO reports on the history of Toronto's Wellington Street.
- Dangerous Minds introduces me to the grim American gothic that is Wisconsin Death Trip. What happened to Black River Falls in the 1890s?
- The Dragon's Gaze links to hypotheses about KIC 8462852, one suggesting KIC 8462852 has four exoplanets, another talking about a planet's disintegration.
- The Dragon's Tales links to a paper modeling the mantles of icy moons.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at small city NIMBYism in the Oregon city of Eugene.
- The LRB Blog reports on toxically racist misogyny directed towards Labour's Diane Abbott by Tory minister David Davis, "misogynoir" as it is called.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on the elections in Indonesia, a country increasingly important to Australia.
- Peter Rukavina describes how the builders of his various indie phones, promising in their own rights, keep dropping them.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer is optimistic that NAFTA will survive mostly as is.
- The Volokh Conspiracy examines the ruling against Trump's immigration order on the grounds that its planners explicitly designed it as an anti-Muslim ban.
- Window on Eurasia suggests that the treaty-based federalism of Tatarstan within Russia is increasingly unpopular with many wanting a more centralized country.
- 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.
- blogTO notes concerns in Church and Wellesley about a spike of reported anti-gay violence.
- Crooked Timber looks at the shambolic mess that is the Republican healthcare plan.
- Language Hat links to an article concerned with the question of how to try cracking the Indus Valley script.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the malevolence and incompetence of the Trump Administration are record-breaking.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that the proposed border tax on Mexican imports is likely workable for all the major actors.
- Strange Maps examines with maps how families of landowners centuries old still own huge swathes of downtown London.
- Une heure de peine's Denis Colombi examines, in French and in the French political context, the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.
- The Volokh Conspiracy shares Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus" welcoming refugees to American shores.
- Window on Eurasia notes the concerns of one Tatar historian that Russian federalism is being undermined and looks at the consequences of Putin's chat with Trump.
- 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.
Spacing Toronto's John Lorinc argues that a leaked federal government report predicting very high levels of debt in decades to come can, from the perspective of cities, best be read as a warning that hoped-for federal funding in infrastructure is not coming.
The little explosion of sweaty news last week about an apparently buried federal report predicting “decades” of gigantic deficits added just a bit more fuel to the fire crackling around Justin Trudeau’s feet. The key take away was that net debt levels, driven by anemic GDP growth and an aging population, will crest at $1.55 trillion by the 2050s.
The short-hand media analysis focused more on that great big scary number than the complex political dynamic this analysis will set in motion.
I’m not talking about the short-term melodrama. The report obviously feeds into the emerging narrative of the Trudeau government as profligate and beholden to wealthy lobbying interests while increasingly isolated in a world that’s become fixated on the brain-stem appeal of nativist politics. It also gives Kevin O’Leary and the rest of the Conservative leadership pugilists a new talking point, allowing them to change the channel away from Kellie Leitch’s tone-deaf immigrant bashing.
Rather, when I scanned at this report, which is built on the sturdy and seemingly apolitical timber of long-term demographic and productivity analysis, two points struck me:
One, while the media reports presented the document as something the government released as quietly as a church mouse skittering around on Christmas eve, the language in the document bears the unmistakable signs of a political edit: “As this demographic transition unfolds,” the unnamed Department of Finance author states at one point, “the Government will continue to take smart decisions and make sound investments to build Canada’s economy of the future and create an economy that works for the middle class [emphasis added].”
These, clearly, are not the words of some nerdy government economist.
So? I’d argue this document was absolutely intended to be discovered, thus subtly sending the signal that Ottawa is keeping a watchful eye trained on long-term economic and spending trends.
MacLean's shares this Canadian Press report talking about the chilly relations between Québec City and St. John's.
They are arguably the least friendly neighbours in Confederation.
Newfoundland and Labrador has been feuding with Quebec since before the Atlantic province joined Canada, with a barely hidden animosity driven by border disputes and hydroelectric power feuds that have wound through courts for decades.
Which is why headlines were made last month when Quebec began talking about possibly “burying the hatchet” on an epic scrap over the lopsided Churchill Falls hydro deal. Premier Philippe Couillard told reporters that it’s not just energy issues — the two provinces can collaborate on other things and need to build more neighbourly ties.
But there is deep skepticism in Newfoundland and Labrador, which has a population smaller than metropolitan Quebec City and a collective wariness borne of distrust.
Premier Dwight Ball says he’s open to talks with Quebec, if they help his province. But any real rapprochement sounds far off.
- 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.
- blogTO warned yesterday of impending snowfall.
- Centauri Dreams considers if planets in the circumstellar habitable zones of red dwarfs, like Proxima Centauri b, might tend to be ocean worlds.
- Crooked Timber tries to track down the source of some American electoral maps breaking down support for candidates finely, by demographics.
- D-Brief shares stunning images of L1448 IRS3B, a nascent triple stellar system.
- Joe. My. God. notes the advent of same-sex marriage in Gibraltar.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that, the last time the Cubs won, Russia was run by Romanovs.
- Maximos62 meditates on Bali as a plastic civilization.
- The NYRB Daily reflects on how the Beach Boys have, and have not, aged well.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw looks at un- and underemployment in Australia.
- Torontoist looks at what we can learn from the dedicated bus routes of Mexico City.
- Understanding Society looks at economics and structural change in middle-income countries.
- Window on Eurasia notes one man's argument that Russians should be privileged as the only state-forming nation in the Russian Federation, and shares another Russia's argument against any idea of Belarusian distinctiveness.
- blogTO notes a photo series celebrating the corner stores of Toronto and reports on massive condo towers planned for Yonge and College.
- Centauri Dreams notes the antimatter sail as a potential future propulsion technology.
- D-Brief notes the beginning of a search for an Earth-like planet orbiting Alpha Centauri A or B.
- Joe. My. God. notes that it is Ecuador that disrupted Assange's Internet connection.
- Language Hat looks at distinctions between fiction and non-fiction in different literatures.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how Republicans are concerned for the future of the US Supreme Court and links to Matt Taibbi's article suggesting that Trump might reinforce the existing American system.
- Maximos62 links to his new audiobook of tales from Asia and the Pacific.
- The Planetary Society Blog looks at the relationship between rapidly rotating regular satellite and their tides.
- Window on Eurasia suggests that language shift among the Kalmyks to Russia has not weakened their ethnic identity, and shares arguments that Tatarstan and Bashkortostan must be brought back into line in with Russia's national government.
- blogTO notes the mess on College Street.
- D-Brief notes that the crater of Chixculub was hot enough to sustain a subsurface ecology for two million years.
- Language Hat notes "brother" and some of its variations.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the United States' 1964 presidential election.
- The Map Room Blog notes how Google does not map green spaces.
- Peter Rukavina shares his family's trip to the beach on the Island.
- Window on Eurasia looks at how Bashkortostan has been subjected to centralization.
The Globe and Mail carries Jordan Press's Canadian Press article looking at a new initiative by Canadian mayors to get federal funding for affordable housing.
The mayors of Canada’s largest cities are making a billion-dollar push for federal housing money just as the Liberals are set to finalize a national strategy, and the minister responsible is trying to manage expectations.
The mayors want the federal Liberals to set aside $12.6 billion during the next decade to help build new affordable housing units and alleviate a growing need in places like Toronto and Vancouver.
The lion’s share, about $7.7 billion, would go to repairing and maintaining existing units nationwide. A further $4.2 billion would go to building up to 10,000 new affordable housing units annually across the country. There is also approximately $700 million for a portable rental subsidy that wouldn’t be tied to a unit, but to a recipient.
It’s a major ask of the federal government as it works to finalize the second phase of its infrastructure program and allocate $17.7 billion for affordable housing, seniors homes, recreational facilities and child care — with each of those sectors competing for the cash.
“The highest need for most of us would be housing, and it’s not to say there aren’t pressing needs for seniors’ infrastructure, for culture and recreation infrastructure, and for child care space infrastructure, but without adequate, safe and decent dignified housing for families, those other services are less relevant,” said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, chairman of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities big city mayors’ caucus.
- blogTO shares photos of the new Yonge-Eglinton Centre.
- Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling makes the comparison of the Middle East now to central Europe in the Thirty Years War.
- The Dragon's Gaze notes the discovery of a hot Jupiter orbiting a T Tauri star just two million years old.
- Joe. My. God. reports on the conviction of a man who had been accused of involvement in kidnapping the child of same-sex parents.
- Language Hat reports on the American Jewish accent.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that Republicans are coming to accept Donald Trump.
- The Map Room Blog reports on a Boston exhibition of Hy-Brasil.
- The Planetary Society Blog reports on the 9th anniversary of the Dawn probe's launch.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer points out that Erik Loomis is wrong, that Ford is not moving jobs to Mexico.
- Window on Eurasia suggests an isolated Russia might lash out against Belarus, and looks at Putin's support in non-Russian republics.
- Antipope hosts a guest blogger with an interesting vision for a new iteration of cyberpunk.
- Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling shares a link to a report on Saudi Arabian water resources.
- Centauri Dreams shares a study of nearby brown dwarf WISE 0855.
- Crooked Timber notes the amoral technocracy of the Speers.
- Dangerous Minds shares vintage postcards from a century ago warning against the threat of feminism.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the import of carbon to oxygen ratios in exoplanet formation.
- ImaGeo notes the discovery of new dwarf planet RR245.
- Joe. My. God. notes that Australians scientists have declared an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in that country, conditionally.
- Language Hat links to a site for learning sign languages.
- Language Log tests an alleged Finnish joke about Russian occupations for linguistic plausibility.
- The LRB Blog notes that Prime Minister Theresa May is not a victory for feminism.
- Marginal Revolution notes the depopulation of Japan and looks at Britain's low productivity.
- Otto Pohl announces his impending move to academia in Kurdistan.
- The Russian Demographics Blog looks at Ukrainian emigration.
- Window on Eurasia suggests Russian austerity will hurt Russia's regions.