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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 looks at the complex prebiotic chemistry in the system of young triple IRAS 16293-2422.

  • Language Hat looks at the central role played by Kyrgzystan writer Chinghiz Aitmatov in shaping Kyrgyz identity.

  • The Map Room Blog shares Baltimore's new transit map.

  • Steve Munro examines the Ford family's various issues with TTC streetcars.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the latest UN Report on the Donbas and the conflict there.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the number of ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Union fallen sharply through demographic change including assimilation.

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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly calls on journalists to stand up to Trump.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at exocomets.

  • Language Log shares an ad from the 1920s using the most vintage language imaginable.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money talks about globalization as a mechanism for concentrating wealth at the top of the elite.

  • The LRB Blog talks about the ghosts of the Cold War in the contemporary world.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen argues that Germany has its own responsibility in transatlantic relations.

  • The New APPS Blog looks at the importance of administrative law.

  • The NYRB Daily celebrates John Berger.

  • Savage Minds proposes a read-in of Michel Foucault in protest of Trump's inauguration on the 20th.

  • Towleroad reports on the latest statistics on the proportions of LGBT people in the United States.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at the continuing depopulation of the Russian Far East and examines the shift to indigenous naming practices in Kyrgyzstan.

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  • blogTO notes five interesting abandoned places to explore around Toronto.

  • The Dragon's Gaze considers how to map minute areas of the protoplanetary disks of young stars.

  • Joe. My. God. notes ISIS' claim of responsibility for the Orlando massacre.

  • Language Log looks at the oddly misprinted signs in non-Latin scripts at an Austrian botanical garden.

  • Speed River Journal's Van Waffle turns to a nature walk yesterday.

  • Towleroad notes the line-ups to donate blood at Orlando.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that knee-jerk reactions to tragedy are rarely good ones.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi expresses his grief and rage at mass shootings generally.

  • The Financial Times' The World notes English and Russian hooliganism at Euro 2016.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how experts in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan reject the idea that theirs are failed states, and looks at modern-day Russians' awkwardness towards a holiday marking Russia's declaration of sovereignty within the Soviet Union.

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  • blogTO notes planned additions to the Eaton Centre.

  • Centauri Dreams explores protocols for contact between our spacecraft and those of aliens.

  • Discover's Dead Things notes the discovery of an archeological site almost 15 thousand years old off the coast of Florida.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the roughness of Neptune's migration to its current orbit.

  • The Dragon's Tales tries to explain the odd orbits of Kuiper Belt objects.

  • Language Hat notes name changes in the early Soviet Union.

  • Marginal Revolution reports on an abortive Soviet Internet.

  • Towleroad notes new anti-gay legislation in Kyrgzystan.

  • Understanding Society looks at a report on racism and riots from the 1960s.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at a Russia strategist's defense of Russia's tactics versus NATO.

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  • D-Brief reports on Ceres' bright spots.

  • Dangerous Minds celebrates the video game arcades of the 1980s.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper speculating that tightly-packed globular clusters might be good cradles for life.

  • The Dragon's Tales examines the processes by which gravel is formed on Mars and Titan.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog wonders about the extent to which college alienates low-income students.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is critical of Hillary Clinton's speech at AIPAC.

  • The LRB Blog features an essay by an American expatriate in Belgium on the occasion of the Brussels attacks.

  • Steve Munro analyses the quality of service on the 6 Bay bus.

  • The NYRB Daily reflects on the films of a Syrian film collective.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer points out that the rate of terrorism in Europe now is substantially lower than in the 1970s and 1980s.

  • Savage Minds considers secrecy as it applies to the anthropological writer.

  • Strange Maps reflects on the BBC's Shipping Forecast weather service.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi reflects on the prospects of human survival into the future.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are on the verge of fighting a border war.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the earliest mentions of Proxima Centauri in science fiction.

  • D-Brief notes that early oceans could moderate chemical reactions that could lead to life.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes that most super-Earths around red dwarfs may not be close enough to burn off their excess hydrogen/helium envelopes.

  • The Dragon's Tales looks at the continuing Russian war in Syria.

  • Geocurrents notes, using the Philippines as an example, that sea can unite language communities more readily than otherwise.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer is wondering why Bloomberg would run for president.

  • Torontoist enlists Steve Munro to see if John Tory's new mass transit plan would work for Scarborough.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that Melissa Click, an American university professor who called--on video!--for some muscle to chase away student journalists from a protest, has been charged with assault.

  • The Financial Times' The World notes that Russia's economic troubles are, indirectly, promoting radical Islam in Central Asian countries dépendent on migrant workers.

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  • Centauri Dreams notes how the New Horizons probe is maneuvering into mapping orbits of Ceres.

  • Crooked Timber examines the decline of inter-generational mobility and class mobility.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on Jupiter analog HIP 11915b.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes Russian claims in the Arctic and links to a comparison of Chinese and American statements on perceived threats.

  • Language Hat reports on a project hoping to map the diffusion of ideas over time.

  • Language Log reports on the use of the term "mother" in comparative linguistics.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the fragility of Greek foreign trade and examines economic dysfunction in Greece and the former Yugoslavia.

  • Registan links to a report of an exile from Kyrgyzstan in Ukraine.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how the Russian state has not found Western partners willing to partition Ukraine, unlike Stalin's Soviet Union re: Nazi Germany.

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  • blogTO notes that the cash-strapped CBC may be forced to sell its iconic downtown Toronto headquarters.

  • James Bow reflects on winter in Kitchener-Waterloo.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper studying the relationship between exoplanets and circumstellar dust discs.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a simulation of the polar atmosphere of Venus and notes concerns that India's Hindustan Aeronautics might not be able to manufacture French Rafale fighters under contract.

  • Far Outliers notes Madeleine Albright's incomprehension of Cambodia's late 1990s struggles and looks at the way the country lags its neighbours.

  • The Frailest Thing notes how human traffic errors reveal we're not quite up to some of the tasks we'd like.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Finland's president has signed a marriage bill into existence.

  • Languages of the World notes the problem of where the homeland of the Indo-Europeans was located.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the often-ignored pattern of lynching Mexicans in the United States.

  • Marginal Revolution notes (1, 2) the problems of human beings with algorithmic, computer-driven planning.

  • Otto Pohl notes how Germans in Kyrgyzstan were forced into labour battalions.

  • pollotenchegg looks at demographic indicators in Ukraine over the past year, noting a collapse in the east.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at deep history, looking at the involvement of war in state-building in Africa and noting the historically recent rise of inequality in Latin America.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at one Russian's proposal to give a Ukrainian church self-government, notes Russia's inability to serve as a mentor to China, and looks at rural depopulation in the North Caucasus and South Russia.

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The Diplomat's Stephen Blank argues that in post-Soviet Central Asia, even in Kazakhstan, the Russian language is waning. This has obvious consequences for Russian soft power on the ground in the region.

[I]t has been clear for some time, and recent news reports confirm it, that the Russian language is steadily losing ground in Central Asia in educational institutions and in much of the media throughout Central Asia. To be sure, Moscow is trying to counter this, for instance with recent attempts to saturate the Kazakh media. Yet this trend towards establishing the primacy of national cultures and languages at the expense of Russian builds on twenty years of steady nationalization of the culture of these states as a matter of deliberate policy, on their deliberate efforts to maintain an openness to the larger globalizing trends in the world economy, and on a generation of growing restrictions on Russian language use in broadcasting and other media.

Of course, Central Asian leaders will not publicly attack the use of Russian language or create situations that could tempt Moscow to intervene in Central Asia on the same pretexts as it employed in Ukraine. But while the invasion of Ukraine created and still generates considerable anxiety in Central Asia, the crisis that Russia faces as a result of its action makes intervention in Central Asia a less likely prospect for the foreseeable future. Given the steep economic decline Russia has experienced following its Ukrainian adventure a third front on top of Ukraine and the North Caucasus is the last thing Moscow seeks. Nonetheless, leaders like Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev point with pride to the growth of Kazakh as the native language and more younger students are preferring English or Chinese to Russian.

In Kyrgyzstan, a recent report showed different forces at work but similar outcomes. The poverty of the Kyrgyz school system means that despite Russian claims of large-scale support for Russian-language teaching abroad, means that only 11 percent of Kyrgyz students are going to superior Russian schools in that republic. Students otherwise are not learning Russian and competent teachers are hard to find. All this, of course, generates a vicious cycle. Similarly, in December 2013, Veniamin Kaganov, Russia’s deputy education minister, was quoted in Tass as saying that the number of Russian speakers had fallen by 100 million since the break up of the Soviet Union. Neither is this outcome unique to Kyrgyzstan or Central Asia. Although globalization certainly plays a role here, all these states have taken serious policy steps since 1991 to create a stronger sense of national identity among their peoples, a policy line that inevitably translates into privileging native languages over Russian and English and now Chinese over it as well.

This outcome strongly suggests that while state support for the propagation of he Russian language abroad is a point in Russia’s 2009 national security strategy, Moscow is apparently steadily if somewhat unobtrusively failing to achieve its goals. And this testifies to a continuing failure to actualize Russia’s soft power despite an enormous state investment. The manifestations of this failure may be quiet and not immediately visible but they do point to the steady erosion over time of Russian power of all kinds in Central Asia, although its military capabilities there remain potentially formidable.
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The Inter Press Service hosts a multiply-authored Eurasianet article talking about the impact of the Russian economic slowdown on Central Asian migrant workers. (The lure of access to the Russian labour market may have been raised as a way to seduce migrant-exporting Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to join the Eurasian Union.)

According to Russia’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, there are about three million Uzbek labour migrants in Russia, the most from any Central Asian country. Others estimate the number of Uzbeks could be twice that.

Unofficial estimates put their remittances in 2013 at the value of roughly a quarter of Uzbekistan’s GDP. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are even more dependent on labour migrants, with remittances contributing the equivalent of 30 percent and roughly 50 percent to their economies, respectively.

Data from Russia’s Central Bank shows that the funds Uzbeks send home dipped nine percent year-on-year during the third quarter of 2014. Analysts predict the fall will continue. The Russian business daily Kommersant estimates that remittances fell 35 percent month-on-month in October alone.

That was before the ruble, which has steadily fallen since Russian troops seized Crimea in February, nosedived earlier in December. Thanks to Western sanctions, the low price of oil, and systemic weaknesses in Vladimir Putin’s style of crony capitalism, the currency has lost roughly 50 percent against the dollar this year. Most migrants convert their rubles into dollars to send home.

“My salary was 18,000 rubles a month, which several months ago would be equivalent to 500 dollars. Now, it is less than 300 dollars,” Sherzod, a 29-year-old from the Ferghana Valley who was working at a shop in Samara, told EurasiaNet.org.
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  • Centauri Dreams looks at how the inability to make contact with the long-departed ISEE-3 probe offers hints as to the problems with long-duration spaceflight.

  • The Dragon's Gaze considers Beta Pictoris' planets, one paper considering the orbit of Beta Pictoris b and another wondering if the identified planet might in fact be massive dust clouds from planetesimal collisions.

  • The Dragon's Tales explores the latest in Ukraine.

  • Far Outliers notes the collapse of Japanese forces in Papua New Guinea, from Phillip Bradley's Hell's Battlefield (1, 2, 3).

  • A Fistful of Euros' Alex Harrowell considers the extent to which electronic communications are compromisable.

  • The Planetary Society Blog celebrates Yuri's Night, an upcoming celebration of spaceflight on the 12th of this month.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders how many Salvadorans were displaced from Honduras after the Soccer War of 1968 and considers certain parallels in ethnic minority politics between French Algeria and Russian Crimea.

  • Strange Maps notes that Portugal's territory is almost entirely water, a combination of its extensive coastline, associated seas, and dispersed archipelagos.

  • Transit Toronto notes that the stretch of Yonge subway by Eglinton will be closed down this Saturday owing to emergency repairs.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi describes the many ways in which he has sold his books.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Kazakhstan is taking greater care regarding the Russian language after Crimea, and notes pressures in Kyrgyzstan.

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    Of note in Joanna Lillis' Eurasianet article describing the outcome of a recent summit meeting in Moscow of the heads of government of the different countries signed up to the Eurasia Union project is that the smaller member-states are becoming more skeptical of this. Opposition in Kazakhstan, particularly, seems to be growing. (I suspect that the presence in northern Kazakhstan of a large Russian minority, one that is a majority in a couple of provinces and that--like Ukraine's Russians and Russophones--has been a target of Russian irredentism in the past, goes a long way towards explaining this.)

    “The project will be pushed with even more fervor and current and potential Customs Union members will be faced with stark choices,” said Nargis Kassenova, director of the Central Asian Studies Center at Almaty’s KIMEP University. “The Cold-War logic of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ is winning the day, and Russian policy is becoming less nuanced.”

    Observers generally believe that the Crimea crisis significantly complicates Putin’s Eurasian integration push, making it more difficult for the Kremlin to win hearts and minds elsewhere in the former Soviet Union.

    Kazakhstan traditionally has been a staunch Russian ally, and President Nazarbayev has served as a cheerleader for integration, although even he has previously voiced concerns about Russian domination of the Customs Union. Yet early indicators show the Ukraine crisis has galvanized opposition in Kazakhstan to integration with Russia. Putin’s power play has fanned fears of Russian economic domination. Many also believe EAU membership would entail a loss of sovereignty.

    “Russia, instead of trying to assure post-Soviet states that it does not have any imperial intentions … showed that it does not consider these states fully sovereign, and its interests override the international law principle of territorial integrity,” Kassenova told EurasiaNet.org. The issue of territorial integrity remains sensitive in Kazakhstan, given that some northern regions of the country are home to a large Russian minority.

    Zhanbolat Mamay, an activist in Kazakhstan involved in a campaign opposing the country’s membership in the EAU, offered an even blunter assessment. “[The Eurasian Economic Union] is a revival of the Soviet Union in a new format – a Putin format,” he told a news conference on March 4.

    Statements coming out of Moscow about Crimea, such as the denial that the Kremlin has deployed troops on Ukrainian territory but reserves the right to do so, is fueling suspicion in Kazakhstan. “We can’t be in a union with an occupying state,” economist Oraz Dzhandosov told the Ratel.su website.

    A commentary published by the Delovaya Nedelya broadsheet said “the current crisis is perhaps the last chance for Astana to put the brakes on the Eurasian tango.” In a possible nod to the vocal opposition in Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev’s March 5 statement noted that the governments of member states should do more to explain the benefits of integration, which is being carried out for the “good of our peoples.”
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    • Charlie Stross mourns fellow and recently passed Scottish writer Iain (M.) Banks.

    • Crooked Timber, Lawyers, Guns and Money, and New APPS all take a look at the disgusting self-justifying behaviour of philosopher Colin McGinn towards a female grad student of his.

    • Daniel Drezner wonders about the extent to which ideology will become important in upcoming seasons of Game of Thrones.

    • Language Hat wonders if Dutch spelling reforms have cut off contemporary speakers of Dutch from easy access to Dutch literature predating the mid-19th century.

    • Marginal Revolution wonders if European Union Internet privacy and security regulations will make things worse for American firms.

    • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw writes about the continuing mystique of the monarchy in Australia.

    • Registan's Reid Standish talks about the marginal improvements in law and order in Kyrgyzstan.

    • Strange Maps' Frank Jacobs talks about the recent map reimagining the countries of the world on a reunified Pangaea as a rhetorical ploy.

    • Understanding Society's Daniel Little charts the ways in which life for Chinese has improved over the past four decades, asnd the ways in which things are still lacking.

    • Window on Eurasia quotes from alarmists worrying about the "de-Russification" of Tatarstan, demographically and otherwise.

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    • Bag News Notes isn't impressed by the scandal aroused by Arne Svenson's photos of New York City condo dwellers taken through their windows--they are open, aren't they?

    • Beyond the Beyond links to an interview with Chinese science fiction writer Fei Dao about that genre in China.

    • Burgh Diaspora's Jim Russell writes about the problems of rural America in keeping talent.

    • The Dragon's Tales and Jonathan Crowe both link to the new cartographic map of Saturn's moon Titan.

    • Far Outliers' quotes from Chinua Achebe's latest book, this quote a recounting of the geographic and social origins of nationalism in Nigeria.

    • Geocurrents notes the patterns and causes of Stalin's deportation of ethnic minorities from frontier zones, from Finland through to Siberia.

    • Terrible news from Normblog's Norman Geras, who is currently being hospitalized for prostate cancer.

    • Torontoist reports on the multimedia efforts of a Torontonian looking for a cat lost at College and Dovercourt.

    • The Way the Future Blogs' Frederik Pohl writes about Brooklyn's joys.

    • Window on Eurasia notes that Kyrgyzstan is the latest former Soviet state to downgrade the status of the Russian language.

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    The Daily Beast:


    • In his article "Don't Judge the Chechens Yet", historian Charles King argues that the Tsarnaev brothers' alleged acts can be best fit into a specifically American history of American domestic terrorism, with few direct links to Chechnya on their part, and warns that playing to stereotypes of North Caucasian violence could worsen things.

    • Journalist Andrew Meir explains the Tsarnaevs and recent Chechen history, among other points explaining that very few Chechen refugees live in the United States (the number of 250 is raised) as opposed to the European Union and Turkey.



    Foreign Policy:


    • Nicholas Clayton writes of his experience interviewing a Chechen volunteer fighting with Islamists in the Syrian civil war. Clayton raises the interesting question of the Georgian government's past collaboration with Chechen militants, which apparently intensified under the recently departed Saakashvili.

    • Eugene Huskey writes about the Chechen connection with Kyrgyzstan, where the Tsarnaev family lived for a time. The Chechen connection with Kazakhstan, where the large majority of Chechens were deported, is stronger; in Kyrgyzstan, Chechens are a small minority, most notable for connections with some Chechens with organized crime networks.



    The New Yorker:


    • David Remnick, editor of the magazine and a journalist with extensive experience of Russia, profiles the Tsarnaev family's experience, concentrating particularly on the apparent alienation of the two brothers from the country they now found themselves in.

    • I've already linked to Michael Idom's post considering the vissicitudes of Russian national identity two decades after the Soviet Union's end, specifically in relation to the Chechens. I thought I'd do so again.



    Slate:


    • Dave Cullen wonders if the Tsarnaev brothers were like Columbine massacre perpetrators Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, with elder brother Tamerlan leading a less dominant younger brother into the plot for company.

    • Anne Applebaum argues that, with no evidence the Tsarnaev brothers were part of a transnational network, their alleged crimes fall into the same category as those committed by pattern of European second- and third-generation immigrant youth alienated from their societies.

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    • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling is skeptical that plans to archive vast quantities of archived data accumulated over decades, even centuries, are going to be viable.

    • The Burgh Diaspora notes that for southern Europeans, Latin America is once again emerging as a destination--this time, the migration is of professionals seeking opportunities they can't find at home.

    • The Dragon's Tales' Will Baird links to a proposal by biologists that life initially evolved in highly saline environments.

    • Democracy is still fragile in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Eastern Approaches notes.

    • Odd placenames in Minnesota are analyzed at Far Outliers.

    • A Fistful of Euros' Alex Harrowell notes the translation problems surrounding the Nazi term volkisch, liking one recent translator's suggestion that "racist" works best.

    • Razib Khan at GNXP introduces readers to the historical background behind the recent ethnic conflict in Burma.

    • Itching for Eestimaa's Guistino takes a look at same-sex marriage in Estonia.

    • Savage Minds reviews Nicholas Shaxson's book Treasure Islands, which took a look at offshore banking centres like Cyprus.

    • Torontoist's Kevin Plummer describes the background behind Elvis' 1957 performances in Toronto.

    • The negative effects of mass migration to Russia from Central Asia on sending countries, especially the republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are introduced at Window on Eurasia.

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    • Crooked Timber's Niamh Hardiman writes about the tensions between democracy and effective supranational governance in the European Union, in Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's statements.

    • Eastern Approaches' T.J. profiles one of the first prominent Sikh immigrants in Slovenia, a business-owner.

    • The Global Sociology Blog gives a qualified positive review of Paolo Bacigalupi's young-adult novel Ship Breaker.

    • GNXP's Razib Khan considers the ways in which the people of Madagascar, descended from Austronesian-speaking migrants from Southeast Asia, seem to have developed in isolation from trends in the ancestral homeland and elsewhere. Interesting comments.

    • Language Hat notes the shift from "vous" to "tu" in French.

    • Lawyers, Guns and Money's SEK expects that in the aftermath of Mitt Romney's collapse as a candidate, American extremists are likely to be even more vocal than before.

    • Marginal Revolution links to a remarkable essay claiming the Khmer Rouge never committed genocide in Cambodia but instead did as much good as they could in its brief reign. There are no words.

    • A guest post at Registan observes that Uzbek culture and language are gradually being excluded from public space in Kyrgyzstan's Osh, which saw anti-Uzbek pogroms two years ago.

    • Torontoist follows protests of Toronto Muslims outside the American consulate at the infamous Innocence of Muslims video.

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    • In a guest post at Charlie Stross' blog, Kari Sperring takes issue with the idea of of a primeval Celtic paradise for women, based purely on myth and imaginings

    • blogTO's Chris Bateman explains how different Toronto neighbourhoods--Parkdale, Rosedale, and so on--got their names.

    • Eastern Approaches notes the ongoing scandal in Poland over that country's grant of permission to the United States to operate secure prisons on its territory.

    • Reflecting on the death of Neil Armstrong, GNXP's Razib Khan wonders if the failure to return to the Moon demonstrates the end of the Whig ideal of inevitable progress.

    • Language Hat takes note of research into scribblings of nonsense words on Greek pottery. Might these words be actual words from the languages of the Caucasus? It's a provocative idea.

    • Language Log's Victor Mair reports on a Chinese artist's proposal to create new characters. Mair is against the idea entirely, instead favouring a shift to a simpler script.

    • Marginal Revolution links to economics research suggesting that, whether in independent countries or American states, capital cities isolated from the populations they govern support high levels of corruption.

    • Registan's Casey Michel expects the first-ever state visit of Kazakhstani president Nursultan Nazarbayev to his country's much poorer and smaller southern neighbour of Kyrgyzstan to result in the second country being pressured to adopt the ways of the first.

    • Supernova Condensate wants the death of Neil Armstrong to mark the beginning of a second era of ambitious manned space travel and exploration.

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    • 80 Beats notes suggestions that odd carbon-14 ratios in classical Japanese manuscripts and records of a red cross in the night sky from Anglo-Saxon England indicate that there may have been a supernova visible from Earth in 774.

    • Extraordinary Observations is skeptical about the prospects for farming in urban areas in the United States, taken in isolation.

    • Anti-Semitic and anti-Romani sentiment in Hungary is detailed, those two populations' histories explored, at Geocurrents.

    • A New APPS Blog post suggests that feminism might be unpopular with some men because they're not familiar with working women in their own lives, drawing from the author's personal experiences as well as broader analysis.

    • Border disputes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and the underlying patterns of disorder they reflect, is the theme of a Registan post.

    • Technosociology suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood's transparent communication of electoral results in Egypt may have been responsible for the acceptance of the vote by the military.

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