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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at enormous, explosive Wolf-Rayet stars, and at WR 124 in particular.
  • The Big Picture shares heart-rending photos of Rohingya refugees fleeing Burma.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the potential of near-future robotic asteroid mining.

  • D-Brief notes the discovery of vast cave systems on the Moon, potential homes for settlers.

  • Hornet Stories exposes young children to Madonna's hit songs and videos of the 1980s. She still has it.

  • Inkfish notes that a beluga raised in captivity among dolphins has picked up elements of their speech.

  • Language Hat notes a dubious claim that a stelae containing Luwian hieroglyphic script, from ancient Anatolia, has been translated.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the question of preserving brutalist buildings.

  • The LRB Blog considers how Brexit, intended to enhance British sovereignty and power, will weaken both.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that the moons and planets of the solar system have been added to Google Maps.

  • The NYR Daily considers how the Burmese government is carefully creating a case for Rohingya genocide.

  • The Power and Money's Noel Maurer concludes, regretfully, that the market for suborbital travel is just not there.

  • Visiting a shrimp festival in Louisiana, Roads and Kingdoms considers how the fisheries work with the oil industry (or not).

  • Towleroad reports on the apparent abduction in Chechnya of singer Zelimkhan Bakayev, part of the anti-gay pogrom there.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that rebuilding Kaliningrad as a Russian military outpost will be expensive.

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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 talks about the discovery that the early Moon had a notable atmosphere. http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/air-de-lune

The Big Picture, from the Boston Globe, shares terrifying pictures from the California wildfires. https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/bigpicture/2017/10/10/raging-wildfires-california/GtkTUeIILcZeqp5jlsLTMI/story.html

The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about how writers need editing, and editors. https://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/why-editors-matter-more-than-ever/

D-Brief notes that forming coal beds sucked so much carbon dioxide out of the air that it triggered an ice age.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/10/10/coal-earth-ice/

Dangerous Minds looks at Michael's Thing, a vintage guide to gay New York dating from the 1970s. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/michaels_thing_new_york_citys_once_essential_queer_city_guide

Cody Delistraty looks at a new Paris exhibition of the works of Paul Gauguin that tries to deal with his moral sketchiness, inspiration of much his work. https://delistraty.com/2017/10/09/paul-gauguins-insurmountable-immorality/

Hornet Stories notes that same same-sex-attracted guys opt to be called not gay but androphiles. (Less baggage, they say.) https://hornetapp.com/stories/men-who-love-men-androphile/

Language Hat notes a claim that the Spanish of Christopher Columbus was marked by Catalan. http://languagehat.com/columbuss-catalan/

Language Log notes that the languages of southern China like Cantonese are actually fully-fledged languages. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34933

Lawyers, Guns and Money notes an argument that Chinese companies do not abide by the terms of tech transfer agreements.
http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/10/tech-transfer

The LRB Blog notes an old Mike Davis article noting how California, at a time of climate change, risks catastrophic wildfires. https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/10/10/the-editors/california-burning/

The Map Room Blog is unimpressed by the new book, A History of Canada in Ten Maps. (It needs more maps. Seriously.) https://buff.ly/2gcdLKG

The NYR Daily takes another look at the nature of consciousness.
http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/10/09/consciousness-an-object-lesson/

The Planetary Society Blog shares a scientist's story about how he stitched together the last mosaic photo of Saturn by Cassini. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2017/cassinis-last-dance-with-saturn-farewell-mosaic.html

The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that an unnegotiated secession of Catalonia from Spain would be a catastrophe for the new country. http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2017/10/la-econom%C3%ADa-de-la-secesi%C3%B3n-en-la-madre-patria.html

Roads and Kingdoms considers what is next for Kurdistan after its independence referendum. http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2017/whats-next-for-kurdistan/

Science Sushi considers the sketchy science of studying cetacean sex. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/science-sushi/2017/10/10/dolphin-penis-vagina-simulated-marine-mammal-sex/

Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel notes that exceptionally strong evidence that we do, in fact, exist in a real multiverse. https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/10/12/the-multiverse-is-inevitable-and-were-living-in-it/

Strange Maps looks at rates of reported corruption across Latin America, finding that Mexico fares badly. http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/half-of-all-mexicans-paid-a-bribe-in-the-previous-12-months

Window on Eurasia notes new inflows of migrants to Russia include fewer Europeans and many more Central Asians. http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.ca/2017/10/gastarbeiters-in-russia-from-central.html
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  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross bets that barring catastrophe, the US under Trump will dispatch crewed circumlunar flights.

  • D-Brief takes a look at the evolution of birds, through speculation on how the beak formed.

  • Language Log looks at the ways Trump is represented, and mocked, in the languages of East Asia.

  • Noting the death toll in a Mexico City sweatshop, Lawyers, Guns and Money reiterates that sweatshops are dangerous places to work.

  • The NYR Daily notes the many structural issues likely to prevent foreign-imposed fixes in Afghanistan.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports from a seemingly unlikely date festival held in the depths of the Saudi desert.

  • Rocky Planet reports that Mount Agung, a volcano in Indonesia, is at risk of imminent eruption.

  • Drew Rowsome notes a new stage adaptation in Toronto of the Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest.

  • Strange Company reports on how the Lonergans disappeared in 1998 in a dive off the Great Barrier Reef. What happened to them?

  • Towleroad notes how Chelsea Manning was just banned from entering Canada.

  • Window on Eurasia claims that the Russian language is disappearing from Armenia.

  • Arnold Zwicky maps the usage of "faggot" as an obscenity in the United States.

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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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  • Acts of Minor Treason's Andrew Barton reacts to the series premiere of Orville, finding it oddly retrograde and unoriginal.

  • Centauri Dreams shares Larry Klaes' article considering the impact of the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet on science and science fiction alike.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper wondering if it is by chance that Earth orbits a yellow dwarf, not a dimmer star.

  • Drone360 shares a stunning video of a drone flying into Hurricane Irma.

  • Hornet Stories celebrates the 10th anniversary of Chris Crocker's "Leave Britney Alone!" video. (It was important.)

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders if 16 years are long enough to let people move beyond taboo images, like those of the jumpers.

  • The LRB Blog takes a look at the young Dreamers, students, who have been left scrambling by the repeal of DACA.

  • The Map Room Blog notes how a Québec plan to name islands in the north created by hydro flooding after literature got complicated by issues of ethnicity and language.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the rise of internal tourism in China, and soon, of Chinese tourists in the wider world.

  • The NYR Daily has an interview arguing that the tendency to make consciousness aphysical or inexplicable is harmful to proper study.

  • Roads and Kingdoms has a brief account of a good experience with Indonesian wine.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell links to five reports about Syria. They are grim reading.

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  • Anthrodendum considers what, exactly, anthropology majors can do job-wise with their degrees. Interesting ideas.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the possible origins of cometary organics in deep space.

  • Hornet Stories talks of anti-immigrant Americans with immigrant ancestors who skirted relevant laws themselves, like Donald Trump.

  • Language Hat considers byssus, an exotic ancient textile and a word with a complex history.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at how the potential for disaster in Florida is worsened by poor planning.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the sad intersection of war, xenophobia, and rising rates of polio in Pakistan (and elsewhere).

  • The Map Room Blog notes an interactive map-related play still showing at the Halifax Fringe, Cartography.

  • The NYR Daily notes a high-profile corruption trial of a former government minister in Moscow.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares Paul Schenk's story about how he interned at JPL in 1979 for the Voyager 2 flyby.

  • Roads and Kingdoms looks at the search by a Brazilian man for caves in the south of that country.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy asks some interesting questions about the mechanics of Settlers of Catan.

  • At Whatever, John Scalzi remembers Jerry Pournelle.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia is strongly opposed to any Circassian return to their ancestral homeland.

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  • The New York Times is but one news source to observe the findings of archeologists and geneticists that the Canaanites were not slaughtered. Was the claimed Biblical genocide a matter of thwarted wish-fulfillment?

  • At Wired, David Pierce mourns the standalone iPod, an innovative music-changing technology in its time now being phased out.

  • Catherine McIntyre at MacLean's describes how birding is becoming hip among young urbanites, in Toronto and across Canada.

  • Open Democracy looks at how Estonia is pioneering e-residency and virtual citizenship schemes.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes a new study suggesting some hypervelocity stars were ejected from the Large Magellanic Cloud.

  • Crooked Timber's John Holbo wonders how else Trump can transgress the norms of the presidency.

  • The Crux notes the exceptional hardiness of the tardigrade. These forms of life might well outlive the sun.

  • Gizmodo notes the evidence for a recently frozen subsurface ocean on Pluto's Charon.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the Israeli government's effective, if confused, opposition to same-sex adoption.

  • Unicorn Booty looks at the significant impact RuPaul's Drag Race has on music sales.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Putin's political allies have been having trouble coming up with a positive future.

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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith updates his readers about the progress of his various writing projects.

  • The Big Picture shares photos from the Battle of Mosul waged against ISIS.

  • Centauri Dreams notes the discovery of rogue binary planet 2MASS J11193254–1137466, two super-Jupiters by themselves.

  • Dangerous Minds notes the raw photography of early 20th century New York City's Weegee.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is rightly unimpressed by the reflexive Russophilia of The Nation. Imperialism is still imperialism ...

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen strongly recommends Dali, in the Chinese province of Yunnan, for tourists.

  • The NYR Daily features Masha Gessen, looking at the truth underneath the lies of Trump.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer makes a case that Macron's use of "civilizational" to describe Africa's issues might be the subject of over-quick outrage.

  • Peter Rukavina describes his two weeks with a Nokia N95, without a modern smartphone. There was good and bad to this.

  • Speed River Journal's Van Waffle explains, with photos, what hoverflies are and why they are so important.

  • Understanding Society considers a fraught question: what paths to modernization were open for China in the 1930s, before the People's Republic?

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that, in 30 years, Moscow will be a megacity with a large population of (substantially immigrant) Muslim origin.

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  • Language Log argues that, despite a lack of official or public support, Cantonese remains the dominant language of Hong Kong.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the case for the global relevance of the Cranberries' song "Zombie."

  • Marginal Revolution seems to like the end results of Canada's immigration system.

  • The NYR Daily notes that, even after ISIS, Iraq will be beset by multiple ethnoreligious crises.

  • Out There's Corey S. Powell interviews an astronomer about the very strange Przybylski’s Star, rich in rare radioactive elements.

  • Savage Minds considers the decolonization of anthropology in the context of Iraq.

  • Arnold Zwicky considers the surprisingly deep historical resonance of the loon in Canada.

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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly considers the various challenges of being an independent person.

  • Centauri Dreams considers the possibility of a Mars-mass planet in the Kuiper belt.

  • Dangerous Minds notes how the 5Pointz warehouse of NYC, once a graffiti hotspot, has been turned into a condo complex that at best evokes that artistic past.

  • Language Log explores the etymology of "sang", a descriptor of a Chinese subculture of dispirited youths.

  • The LRB Blog reports on a Border Patrol raid on the No More Deaths encampment in Arizona, a camp that helps save migrant lives in the desert.

  • The Strange Company blogs about the mysterious 1829 disappearance of Judge John Ten Eyck Lansing from New York City.

  • Unicorn Booty describes three gay Muslim immigrants terrified of the implications of President Trump.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers pros and cons to the idea of religious arbitration.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the Qatar crisis is worsening Sunni/Shia tensions among the Muslims of Russia.

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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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  • Anthony Easton at MacLean's writes in defense of Nickelback, one of Canada's most popular bands if not a critical darling.

  • Also in MacLean's, Stephanie Carvin notes that the new foreign and military policies announced by the Canadian government could still fall short.

  • Bloomberg View's Stephen L. Carter considers the idea of the just war through the lens of Wonder Woman.

  • Nuclear energy, it seems, will be India's answer to global warming in the era of Trump.

  • Qataris, Bloomberg notes, are trying to deal with their island country's state of siege.

  • Airbus may pull its production plants from the United Kingdom unless the country keeps single market access.

  • Refugees, Lynne Olson notes at National Geographic, helped save the United Kingdom during the Second World War.

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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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  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross wonders--among other things--what the Trump Administration is getting done behind its public scandals.

  • blogTO notes a protest in Toronto aiming to get the HBC to drop Ivanka Trump's line of fashion.

  • Dangerous Minds reflects on a Talking Heads video compilation from the 1980s.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reflects on a murderous attack against Indian immigrants in Kansas.

  • The LRB Blog looks at "post-Internet art".

  • Lovesick Cyborg notes an attack by a suicide robot against a Saudi warship.

  • Strange Maps links to a map of corruption reports in France.

  • Torontoist reports on Winter Stations.

  • Understanding Society engages in a sociological examination of American polarization, tracing it to divides in race and income.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the many good reasons behind the reluctance of cities around the world to host the Olympics.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that where the Ingush have mourned their deportation under Stalin the unfree Chechens have not, reports that Latvians report their willingness to fight for their country, looks at what the spouses of the presidents of post-Soviet states are doing, and notes the widespread opposition in Belarus to paying a tax on "vagrancy."

  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the linguistic markers of the British class system.

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  • blogTO notes that the redevelopment of Toronto's Port Lands is continuing.

  • Crooked Timber argues that climate denialism exposes the socially constructed nature of property rights.

  • D-Brief notes the reburial of Kennewick Man.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes there is no sign of a second planet around Proxima Centauri.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at life in Texas.

  • The LRB Blog analyzes Milo's stumble.

  • Marginal Revolution considers the levels of disorderliness different societies, like Sweden, can tolerate.

  • The NYRB Daily reports on the poisoning of a Russian dissident.

  • The Planetary Society Blog suggests Voyager 1 picked up Enceladus' plumes.

  • Peter Rukavina writes of his mapping of someone's passage on the Camino Francés.

  • Supernova Condensate looks at the United Arab Emirates' plan to build a city on Mars in a century.

  • Torontoist reported on a protest demanding action on the overdose crisis.
  • Towleroad describes the plight of Mr. Gay Syria in Istanbul and reports on the progress of same-sex marriage in Finland.

  • Understanding Society considers the complexity of managing large technological projects.

  • Window on Eurasia links to one Russian writer arguing Putin should copy Trump and links to anotehr suggesting the Russian Orthodox Church is overreaching.

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Anthropologist Nadia El-Shaarawi, writing at Savage Minds, describes her experiences interviewing Middle Eastern candidates for refugee status and frames them in the context of the anti-refugee sentiment and exclusionary state structures.

As a volunteer legal advocate working with refugees who were seeking resettlement, I learned to ask detailed questions about persecution. These were the kind of questions you would never ask in polite conversation: Who kidnapped your best friend? Were they wearing uniforms? What did those uniforms look like? Where did they hit you? Did you pay a ransom for her release? How did you identify her body? Questions like these, which refugees are asked over and over as part of the already extreme vetting that they undergo to be granted asylum and resettlement, are personal, intimate, painful. They demand a precise and consistent command of autobiographical detail and the strength to revisit events that one might otherwise want to forget. They try to get to the heart of what happened to a person, what forced them to leave everything behind.

On a more cynical level, these questions try to catch a person in a lie, to identify those who are not “deserving” of refuge. The answers are checked and cross-checked, asked again and again across multiple agencies and organizations. In separate interviews, family members are asked the same questions. Do the answers match up? Do the dates and places make sense? Were you a victim of persecution? Are you who you say you are? While these questions and their answers shape the narrative of an individual resettlement case, there is a way in which they don’t get to the heart of what happened to a person, why someone was forced to flee, cross at least one border to enter another state, and is now seeking resettlement in a third country.

Vetting, extreme or otherwise, is about inclusion and exclusion. But before someone even gets to the arduous, opaque process of being considered for resettlement in the United States, decisions are made at the executive level about who to include in a broader sense. While the Refugee Convention provides protection for any person with a “well-founded fear of persecution” on specific grounds, this has never been the full story of the US refugee program, where a presidential determination each year decides how many refugees will be resettled, and from where. Some die-hard advocates and detractors aside, refugee resettlement has historically had bipartisan support and mostly stays under the radar of public attention, except, it seems, in moments where it becomes a reflection of broader anxieties and struggles over belonging and exclusion.
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  • blogTO notes the amazing spike upwards in temperatures for this weekend.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of some stark war memorials of the former Communist world.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on brown dwarf HIP 67537b.

  • The LRB Blog looks at Donald Trump's interest in a Middle Eastern peace settlement that looks as if it will badly disadvantage the isolated Palestinians.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen reflects on his reading of Julius Evola and other hitherto-marginal writers.

  • The NYRB Daily notes the potential health catastrophe that could result from Donald Trump's anti-vax positions.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer suggests that the corruption marking the relationship of France and Gabon over that country's oil is finding an echo in the Trump organization's involvement in Filipino real estate.

  • Torontoist calls for regulation of road salt on grounds of its toxicity.

  • Transit Toronto looks at the various scenarios for King Street.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia's economic growth will lag behind growth elsewhere for the foreseeable future, and looks at protest in St. Petersburg over the return of an old church to the Orthodox Church.

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