rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Naomi Klein argues that this summer, of wildfires and disasters, marks an environmental turning point.

  • National Geographic shares stunning video of defrosting Tibetan soil flowing.

  • This dumping of illegally harvested lobsters as garbage on land in Nova Scotia is a terrible waste. CBC reports.

  • Can we limit urban flooding only if we force landowners to contribute to the costs of stormwater infrastructure? MacLean's makes the case.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Hamilton's Christ Church is striving for continued viability, in part through selling off vacant land for condos. Global News reports.

  • Edmonton's Accidental Beach, a byproduct of construction berms on the North Saskatchewan River, has gone viral. Global News reports.

  • Meagan Campbell of MacLean's looks at how the refugee crisis did, and did not, effect the garlic festival of border city Cornwall.

  • The successful integration of a Syrian refugee family of chocolatiers in the Nova Scotia town of Antigonish is nice. The Toronto Star carries the story.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • MacLean's argues that, in Canada and arguably the West generally, it is much too soon to rehabilitate the swastika.

  • Global News reports on a proposal to rename Nova Scotia's Cornwallis River.

  • This effort to engage in a minimalist, non-misleading restoration of a Spanish castle is controversial.

  • The argument that human history goes back millions of years, and encompass a huger area than thought, is compelling.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • CBC's Pete Evans notes that Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and Ottawa are all interested in landing Amazon's HQ2.

  • David Rider in the Toronto Star notes that John Tory is pushing forward Toronto as home to Amazon's HQ2, with its 50 thousand jobs.

  • Bloomberg View's Conor Sen notes that Toronto is a strong candidate for Amazon's HQ2, alongside cities like Atlanta and Boston.

  • Also in the Star, David Rider notes that ex-Amazon exec James Thomson is skeptical a crowded Toronto will land HQ2.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • 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.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • CBC notes sea urchin aquaculture could be a thing for New Brunswick, but it is tricky.
  • UPEI is attempting to help restore the Gulf of St. Lawrence Aster to a viable position in the PEI National Park, CBC shows.

  • Even a decade after Halifax Harbour was cleaned up, Michael MacDonald reports for the Canadian Press, locals are still don't swim in it.

  • Gaspé and the Iles-de-la-Madeline are among the Québec regions most vulnerable to a changing climate and ocean, Morgan Lowrie notes for the Canadian Press.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Kingston is apparently debating whether the name of local statesman John A. MacDonald should still be honoured.

  • Halifax is set to erect monuments marking the Halifax Explosion on the centenary, for next year.

  • Pride in Moncton is apparently advancing by leaps and bounds. Good for them.

  • A centenarian veteran crossed the PEI's Confederation Bridge for the first time, working on his bucket list.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • The Globe and Mail describes a salvage archaeology operation in Cape Breton, on the receding shores of Louisbourg at Rochefort Point.

  • Katie Ingram at MacLean's notes
  • The National Observer reports on how Québec has effectively banned the oil and gas industry from operating on Anticosti Island.

  • This La Presse article talks about letting, or not, the distant Iles-de-la-Madeleine keep their own Québec electoral riding notwithstanding their small population.

  • Will the Bloc Québécois go the way of the Créditistes and other Québec regional protest movements? Éric Grenier considers at CBC.

  • The National Post describes the remarkable improvement of the Québec economy in recent years, in absolute and relative terms. Québec a have?

  • Francine Pelletier argues Québec fears for the future have to do with a sense of particular vulnerability.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • CBC reports on the recent commemoration of Captain John MacDonald of Glenaladale, pioneer of Scottish Catholic settlers on PEI.

  • CBC reports on the growth of the shoulder, non-summer, tourist seasons in Prince Edward Island.

  • Mitch MacDonald's article in The Guardian looking at the invasion of Nova Scotia by PEI businesspeople is interesting.

  • After a recent period of convergence, CBC notes PEI wages have declined to about 85% of the Canadian average.

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • CBC reports on how the Hudson Bay port of Churchill could profit from global warming opening up sea lanes but suffer from heaving land wrecking infrastructure.

  • Brett Bundale reports on how Halifax, Nova Scotia, is booming, unlike the rest of the Maritimes.

  • This article describing how the London police remain vague about the number of dead in Grenfell Tower is horrifying.

  • Global News reports on how many in Harlem dislike the idea of renaming their neighbourhood's south "SoHa".

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • blogTO observes that a former ferry from Halifax is coming to Lake Ontario, to connect mainland Toronto to Centre Island.

  • Shawn Micallef notes in the Toronto Star how Toronto fell for the World's Largest Rubber Duck.

  • Alex Bozikovic notes in The Globe and Mail how Toronto(and other cities) can prepare for climate change by trying to adapt to flooding, not prevent it altogether.

  • CBC notes that the more sunshine Greenland gets, the faster its ice cap melts.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
This afternoon, I dropped by the Toronto Reference Library to browse its shelves. As one would expect, Toronto's central library has a very large collection of materials in languages other than English, ready for lenders to pick up. Out of curiosity, I stopped by to see what the Scots Gaelic collection looked like.

The Scots Gaelic shelf at the Toronto Reference Library


There were two shelves of Frisian-language materials above the shelf of Gaelic books, and the Frisian shelves were packed.

This is a sort of afterthought to the death of Gaelic as a living language in Canada. I grew up in the Maritimes, in the province of Prince Edward Island. In that province, now overwhelmingly populated by speakers of English, Canadian Gaelic was once very widely spoken. It was even the main language of, among others, my maternal grandmother’s family. She did not speak the language, though, her parents choosing not to teach it to her. They said that they did not want their many children to learn their neighbourhood gossip.



(The Matheson family lived in the east of what this map calls Eilean Eòin.)

Canadian Gaelic did not persist, not even in the Atlantic Canadian territories where it had been most successfully transplanted, even though it was a (distant) third among European languages spoken in Canada. My feeling is that the speakers of the language did not value it. Part of this may have had to do with the very different statuses of the French and Gaelic languages internationally. French was a high-status language that was a prestigious and credible rival to English, while Gaelic was a much more obscure language looked down upon by almost everyone--including many speakers of Gaelic--with at most hundreds of thousands of speakers. Canada’s Francophone minorities did face oppression, but their language and their community’s existence was something their Anglophone neighbours could more easily accept as legitimate, and that Francophones themselves accepted as legitimate.

This leads to the tendency of speakers of Canadian Gaelic were not committed to the survival of their language. I mentioned above that my maternal grandmother’s parents decided not to transmit the language to their children. In this, occurring soon after the turn of the 20th century, they were far from alone. Speakers of Canadian Gaelic were generally quick to discard this language for an English that was seen as more useful. The survival of the language was not seen as especially important: For a Gaelic-speaking Protestant, for instance, the bond of Protestantism that united them with an Anglophone Protestant was more important than the bond of language that united them with a Gaelic-speaking Catholic. In Gaelic Canada, there was just nothing at all like the push for survivance across the spectrum in French Canada that helped Canadian Francophones survive in a wider country that was--at best--disinterested in the survival of its largest minority.

Fragmented, without any elite interested in preserving the language and its associated culture or a general population likely to support such an elite, the Canadian Gaelic community was bound to go under. And so, in the course of the 20th century, it did, the smaller and more isolated communities going before the larger ones. There are still, I am told, native speakers of Gaelic in Cape Breton, long the heartland of Gaelic Canada, and there is a substantial push to revive the language’s teaching and use in public life in Nova Scotia. I fear this is too little, too late. The time for that was a century ago, likely earlier. If that incentive to give Gaelic official status and a role in public life had been active in the mid-19th century, who knows what might have come of this?

(For further reading on the history of Gaelic in Prince Edward Island, I strongly recommend Dr. Michael Kennedy’s preface (PDF format) to John Shaw’s 1987 recordings of the last creators of Gaelic on Prince Edward Island.)

Was the death of Gaelic as a widely-spoken language in Canada inevitable? Or, was there any possibility of a revival movement, of a renewed valorization of Scots Gaelic? I have wondered in the past if having Cape Breton remain a province separate from Nova Scotia, thus creating a polity populated mainly by Gaelic speakers, might create some kind of incentive for Gaelic to be politically useful.

Thoughts?

(Crossposted to alternatehistory.com.)
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • 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.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
CBC News' Stephanie Vankampen reports on the end of a shuttle connecting Prince Edward Island to the mainland. One reason I left was the question of accessibility to the outside world: I wanted to be able to be mobile. The weakness of mass transit routes, including buses, in the Maritimes generally is a serious issue. That the underlying economics might well not support unsubsidized routes just makes the situation worse.

Since the Confederation Bridge opened in 1997, shuttle service has been offered to bring Islanders to Halifax.

Many passengers have taken the bus regularly for years, to travel to medical appointments, the Halifax airport, or to and from university in the city.

Driver Gary Meyers has been making the run — 13 hour days, 5 or 6 times a week — for the last 17 years. He knows every crack and bump on the road between Charlottetown and Halifax.

He said while the service will be missed by the regular customers, it was no longer profitable for the company to run both shuttle and bus service.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
The Globe and Mail's Christine Sismondo looks at the emergent wine scene along Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy shore, where vineyards are forming in suitable microclimates.

Despite the relative successes of the “Free My Grapes” movement – a consumers’ rights organization that was spearheaded by frustrated wine fan Shirley-Ann George a little over five years ago and works to remove barriers to inter-provincial wine trade – we still can’t find much Okanagan wine in Ontario (George’s particular grievance) nor expressions from Niagara in British Columbia. But you can find Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge everywhere, even in the Yukon. The fresh, rosy-golden, peachy sparkler, called Nova 7, is more or less the headliner for Benjamin Bridge and one of the few Canadian labels you might find anywhere from sea to shining sea.

Why? Well, to hear the winemaker tell it, it’s just that good; it has practically addictive “drinkability.” Nova is no one-hit wonder, either. Benjamin Bridge’s other expressions, particularly the Brut Sparkling (a little less fruity and, arguably, more elegant), are featured on restaurant wine lists across the country, including those at the famous Hawksworth in Vancouver, Calgary’s Bar Von der Fels and Byblos in Toronto.

“There is a natural selection within the wine industry,” says Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, head winemaker at Benjamin Bridge, adding that he has spent very little time campaigning provincial liquor retailers. “Our responsibility is to make the most transparent wines in terms of sharing the story of the growing environment surrounding the Bay of Fundy. And we feel that if we succeed at that, the rest will come naturally.”

And it has. The enthusiasm for the operation’s wines is palpable, but as Deslauriers points out, it’s bigger than just his bottles or one winery. He’s working in a remarkable micro-climate and there are other wineries telling the same story he is. In response, wine lovers are eagerly listening and wine from the Annapolis Valley is trendy, possibly on the cusp of becoming Canada’s next big thing.

“It’s a little bit punny, but people here often say that the rising tide lifts small boats,” says Jenner Cormier, an award-winning Halifax bartender who recently returned to his hometown after three years in Toronto, where he was part of the opening team at Bar Raval. “For us to begin to be considered as a place that’s producing really good wine is huge for us.”

When Cormier left his home for Ontario three-plus years ago, Nova Scotia wines were mainly known for being passable seafood-friendly whites from an underdeveloped region. Upon his return, he was delighted to discover black cabs, pinot noirs and sparkling wines, many of which he describes as “unbelievably complex.” Halifax bars such as Little Oak, the city’s new wine destination, as well as the well-established locavore hotpot, Lot Six, are plucking the best of the best from wineries like Luckett, Avondale Sky and L’Acadie and offering as many as a half-dozen local options on their wine lists.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
The Globe and Mail features Stephen MacGillavray's interview with Kaye Chapman, a centenarian who at the age of 5 witnessed the Halifax Explosion 99 years ago today.

Nearly a century ago, five-year-old Kaye Chapman said goodbye to her four brothers and sisters as they rushed out the door of their north-end Halifax home. She collected her Bible and hymnbook and was about to play Sunday school, when a deafening boom swept her off her feet.

It was Dec. 6, 1917, toward the end of the First World War, when Halifax was the epicentre of the Canadian war effort.

Just before 9 a.m., the French munitions ship Mont-Blanc was arriving in Halifax to join a convoy across the Atlantic. The Norwegian vessel Imo was leaving, en route to New York to pick up relief supplies for battle-weary troops in Belgium. Both vessels were in the tightest section of the harbour when they collided, igniting a blaze that set off the biggest human-caused explosion prior to the atomic bomb.

The Halifax Explosion devastated the north end of the city, killing nearly 2,000 and injuring 9,000. The blast released an explosive force equal to about 2.9 kilotonnes of TNT. Shock waves were felt as far away as Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. The Mont-Blanc was blown to pieces, its half-tonne anchor shaft landing more than three kilometres away.

Today, few survivors are left, likely none with the vivid firsthand recall of 104-year-old Mrs. Chapman, who lived on Clifton Street, about two kilometres from ground zero.

“As young as I was, I can see everything and I can even tell what we were dressed in,” she said at her assisted-living apartment in Saint John. “I had a little white outfit on – a tiny white dress and white stockings.”
rfmcdonald: (Default)
MacLean's shares a Canadian Press article describing the successful, if expensive, working of the first installed tidal electricity generating plant in Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy.

A massive underwater turbine started generating electricity from the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy on Tuesday, a test project the Nova Scotia government says marks a turning point for Canada’s renewable energy sector.

North America’s first in-stream tidal turbine was officially linked to the province’s electricity grid around noon, said Cape Sharp Tidal, the consortium behind the ambitious project.

The turbine is producing enough energy to power 500 Nova Scotia homes.

[. . .]

The partnership behind the project includes Halifax-based Emera Inc. and OpenHydro, a French conglomerate that specializes in naval defence and energy. Its two-megawatt turbine was lowered to the bottom of the bay two weeks ago.

The 1,000-tonne machine is about five storeys tall, but it is only a test model. It is anchored on the seabed at the eastern end of the bay in the Minas Passage, a five-kilometre-wide channel near Parrsboro, N.S. The powerful tides there left a smaller test turbine badly damaged in 2009.

A second test turbine will be installed next year.

The completed four-megawatt demonstration project will use a fraction of the 7,000 megawatt potential of the Minas Passage, the government said.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
This BNN.ca article makes me wonder. Nova Scotians, is this island-buying a noticeable trend?

There’s a growing interest in the private island market – and you don’t have to be among the ultra-rich to own one, according to a real estate broker specializing in the sale of islands around the world.

“The trend nowadays is people who are buying islands aren’t just looking for a vacation home, they’re looking to monetize it as well,” Chris Krolow, founder and CEO of Private Islands Inc., told BNN in an interview. He said investors are increasingly interested in buying an island, building it up and renting out a portion.

Krolow, who also hosts a real estate reality show called “Island Hunters,” is based in Toronto and has been selling private-island real estate since 1999. He sells anywhere between 30 and 35 islands a year.

But you don’t need to be as wealthy as Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison who bought a Hawaiian island for US$300-million, or magician David Copperfield who dropped an estimated $50-million to buy an island in the Bahamas.

You can buy an island for as low as $50,000 in Nova Scotia, according to Krolow, who said Canada’s east coast is home to the world’s cheapest islands.

“Chances are you might have some issues building on it if it’s too small,” he warned. “Of course getting there is a bit of an issue. Most of the people buying in Nova Scotia aren’t locals. They’re coming from Europe or they’re coming from the U.S., so that kind of drives the price down because there’s not a lot of demand there.”
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about his upcoming session at the Naked Heart literary festival here in Toronto.

  • blogTO notes that Metrolinx is set to kill Bombardier's LRT contract.

  • Centauri Dreams talks about the discovery of planets in the system of HD 87646, one not unlike Alpha Centauri.

  • Dangerous Minds talks about a documentary on skinheads.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to two papers about the discovery of planetary debris in orbit of white dwarfs.
  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper speculating if the primordial atmosphere of Titan was ammonia.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog talks about the vote and immigrants.

  • The LRB Blog notes the worrying state of Brexit rhetoric.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a digital atlas of Mi'kmaq names in Nova Scotia.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at China's powerful new Long March 5 rocket.

  • Towleroad notes Kim Davis' large legal bill.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy's Orin Kerr supports Hillary, another noting how Utah can save the US from Trump.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Putin's Russia is more dangerous than the Soviet Union and suggests that the official definition of the Russian nation is brittle.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
I approve of this, reported by MacLean's after the Canadian Press, quite strongly. We have to start somewhere.

Daniel Christmas helped transform his near-bankrupt First Nation into one of the country’s most successful.

Now, named what is believed to be Canada’s first Mi’kmaq senator, he says he hopes to use his experience to “rebuild” Ottawa’s relationship with aboriginals.

Christmas, senior adviser for the First Nation of Membertou, N.S., said it was his top priority after being appointed one of nine new independent senators Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“I hope to bring a lot of my experience and lessons learned and know-how to try to point to a way to try and rebuild that relationship,” said the 60-year-old, who believes he is the first Mi’kmaq senator. “I have some definite unique experiences that will share a certain perspective on how this can be done.”

Bernd Christmas, a longtime friend and former Membertou CEO, said the new senator was instrumental in the development of his home community, which during the late 1990s was on the brink of bankruptcy and grappling with a 95 per cent unemployment rate.

Profile

rfmcdonald: (Default)rfmcdonald

October 2017

S M T W T F S
12 3 4 5 6 7
89 101112 13 14
15 16 17181920 21
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:38 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios