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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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io9 looks at the surprising things we are continuing to learn from Tycho's supernova, SN 1572. https://gizmodo.com/a-famous-supernovas-mysteries-are-still-unraveling-hund-1818816208

Anthrodendum has a thoughtful interview between two anthropologists about their experiences as ethnographers. https://savageminds.org/2017/09/25/explaining-ethnography-in-the-field-a-conversation-between-pasang-yangjee-sherpa-and-carole-mcgranahan/

Centauri Dreams reports on the LIGO/VIRGO detection of gravitational wave #GW170814 https://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=38557
D-Brief also notes the detection of #GW170814 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/09/27/gravitational-wave-virgo/
as does Starts With A Bang https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/09/27/ligo-virgo-detects-the-first-three-detector-gravitational-wave/

The Crux notes how ancient rocks on the Québec-Labrador frontier have preserved traces of very early life. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2017/09/27/earth-oldest-rocks-life/

D-Brief notes the potential discovery of a biomarker for CTE, something that may well help professional athletes. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/09/27/cte-biomarker/

Dangerous Minds looks at the time the Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minelli collaborated on an album. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/results_when_the_pet_shop_boys_met_liza_minnelli

The Dragon's Gaze looks at evidence that a sub-Saturn gas giant is forming around T Tauri star TW Hydrae. http://thedragonsgaze.blogspot.ca/2017/09/tw-hydrae-is-forming-subsaturn-gas-giant.html

Hornet Stories looks at the four lessons a professor took from gay porn, about sexuality and its representation. https://hornetapp.com/stories/gay-porn-professor/

Language Log looks at how Joseon Korea once used the wrong Chinese dialect to talk officially to China. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34693

Lawyers, Guns and Money notes an odd defense of Hugh Hefner by a conservative. http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/09/hugh-hefner-good-now

The LRB Blog notes the oddly convention nature of Hugh Hefner. https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/09/28/august-kleinzahler/the-conventional-mr-hefner/

The Map Room Blog argues that faults found with fantasy maps actually reflect deeper issues with fantasy literature. http://www.maproomblog.com/2017/09/the-territory-is-not-the-map/

Marginal Revolution notes that IBM employs more people In India than in the United States.
http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/09/india-fact-day-3.html

The NYR Daily notes a new art exhibition of work by Peter Saul dealing with Trump. http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/09/27/a-carnival-of-desecration-peter-saul-trump/

The Planetary Society Blog notes the Earth pictures taken by the OSIRIS-REx probe. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2017/0928-earth-flyby-osiris-rex.html

The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes a worrying new analysis justifying an American strike on North Korea, despite Seoul. http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2017/09/the-hawks-make-their-case-to-fight-north-korea.html

Drew Rowsome notes an amusing-sounding mystery, Undercover, playing at the Tarragon. http://drewrowsome.blogspot.ca/2017/09/undercover-case-of-comic-mystery.html

Towleroad links to fascinating ethnographic work of LGBT members of American street gangs. How do they do it? http://www.towleroad.com/2017/09/gay-gang/
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  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of dispatching a fleet of sail-equipped probes to map the asteroid belt.

  • Crux considers the importance of the invention of zero for mathematics.

  • D-Brief notes that Scotland's oldest snow patch is set to melt imminently.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper looking at the stability of multiplanetary systems in star clusters.

  • Imageo notes the modest recovery of icecaps in the Arctic this summer.

  • Language Log notes the importance of Kazakhstan's shift to using the Latin script for the Kazakh language.

  • The LRB Blog reports on a writer's visit to Helsinki.

  • The Map Room Blog notes a giant relief map of Guatemala, built to reinforce claims to what is now Belize.

  • The NYR Daily considers the continued salience of race in the fragile liberal-democratic world, in America and Europe.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders if the heavy-handed Spanish government is trying to trigger Catalonian independence.

  • Roads and Kingdoms considers the palm wine of Senegal, and its vendors.

  • Understanding Society considers the Holocaust, as an experience sociological and otherwise.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy makes a libertarian case for open borders.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi celebrates his meeting mutual fan Alison Moyet.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Belarus' cautious Belarusianization is met by Russia's pro-Soviet nostalgia.

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  • Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait notes the continuing maps and naming of the Pluto system.

  • Centauri Dreams considers one method to detect photosynthesis on Earth-like worlds of red dwarf stars.

  • D-Brief notes the discovery of Octlantis, a permanent community of octopi located off the coast of Australia.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes Earth-like world can co-exist with a Jovian in a circumstellar habitable zone.

  • Hornet Stories notes that Morrissey is now in Twitter. (This will not go well.

  • Language Log notes the kanji tattoo of one American neo-Nazi.

  • The LRB Blog notes how the English town of Tewksbury is still recovering from massive flooding a decade later.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the improbable life of Barry Sadler, he of "The Ballad of the Green Berets".

  • The Map Room Blog shares this terrifying map examining the rain footprint of Hurricane Irma.

  • Spacing reviews a fascinating dual biography of architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson.

  • Window on Eurasia notes an call to restore to maps the old Chinese name for former Chinese Tuva, Uryankhai.

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  • Anthrodendum features a guest author talking about the need for artificial intelligence's introduction into our civilization to be managed.

  • Dangerous Minds tells the story of how John Lennon and Yoko Ono met Marshall McLuhan.

  • Cody Delistraty suggests Freud still matters, as a founder and as a pioneer of a new kind of thinking.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on cloud circulation patterns of exoplanet HD 80606b.

  • Far Outliers examines just how Chinese immigration to Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, became so big.

  • Hornet Stories interviews Moises Serrano, one of the many undocumented queer people victims of the repeal of DACA.

  • Marginal Revolution notes a study suggesting some Indian students have math skills which do not translate into the classroom.

  • The NYR Daily looks at the crackdown on free media in Cambodia.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at a new set of recommendations for Canada's space future by the Space Advisory Board.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports from Burma, noting the prominence of social media in anti-Rohingya hate.

  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands shares beautiful photos from the Sicilian community of Taormina.

  • Ethan Siegel at Starts With A Bang talks about the mystery of some stars which appear to be older than the universe.

  • Window on Eurasia is critical of a Russian proposal for UN peacekeepers in the Donbas making no mention of Russia.

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  • Centauri Dreams notes the latest on fast radio burst FRB 121102.

  • D-Brief makes a good case for the human diet to expand to include insects. I'd like to try an insect burger myself.

  • Dangerous Minds shares some wonderful photos of Joy Division's Ian Curtis.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting up to 1% of stars could capture, at least temporarily, rogue planets.

  • Hornet Stories--the new name for Unicorn Booty--notes the latest shake-up in German-language LGBTQ media.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money shares a thoughtful essay by Christa Blackmon, drawing from her experiences as a survivor of Hurricane Andrew. How do you best take care of child survivors?

  • The Map Room Blog links to a fascinating-sounding book, Alastair Bonnett's new Beyond the Map.

  • The NYR Daily reviews a documentary about the Venerable W, a Buddhist monk in Burma who has led anti-Muslim violence.

  • The Planetary Society Blog considers the way forward for NASA's Mars Exploration Program.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the search for Texas barbecue in Mexico City.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 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.

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  • Dangerous Minds points readers to Cindy Sherman's Instagram account. ("_cindysherman_", if you are interested.)

  • Language Hat takes note of a rare early 20th century Judaeo-Urdu manuscript.

  • Language Log lists some of the many, many words and phrases banned from Internet usage in China.

  • The argument made at Lawyers, Guns and Money about Trump's many cognitive defects is frightening. How can he be president?

  • The LRB Blog <"a href="https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/08/03/lynsey-hanley/labour-and-traditional-voters/">notes that many traditional Labour voters, contra fears, are in fact willing to vote for non-ethnocratic policies.

  • The NYR Daily describes a book of photos with companion essays by Teju Cole that I like.

  • Of course, as Roads and Kingdom notes, there is such a thing as pho craft beer in Vietnam.

  • Peter Rukavina notes
  • Towleroad notes a love duet between Kele Okereke and Olly Alexander.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy seems unconvinced by the charges against Kronos programmer Marcus Hutchins.

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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 looks at the emergent evidence for exomoon Kepler-1625b-I.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Liisa Ladouceur's NOW Toronto review of the Rage and Rapture tour's stop in Toronto get it entire. Brilliant concert.

  • Emma Teitel in the Toronto Star is quite right to note that residents of the Beach complaining about unsightly commerce are so missing the point.

  • Global News reports that mosquitos which test positive for West Nile virus have been found on the flooded Toronto Islands.

  • The Toronto Islands will reopen Monday, on the first of the month, the City of Toronto announced.

  • Canada Post promises that its drivers will stop blocking bike lanes with their vehicles.

  • Metro Toronto describes how ESL learners in west-end Toronto are learning English via their concerns with affordable housing.

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Me and my ticket #toronto #blondie #garbage #concert #sonycentreto


Last night, I attended the Toronto date of the Rage and Rapture tour, featuring Garbage and Blondie. It was amazing.

My photo album featuring some of my photos taken in the course of the concert is here.
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  • In The Globe and Mail, Ian Brown and Nam Phi Dang's photo essay tracking the adventures of a bus of Chinese tourists who went from Toronto to the Island and back is insightful and amusing.
  • Alex Ballingall's account in the Toronto Star of his week-long trek along the Trans-Canada Trail from Niagara to Toronto is enlightening. Would I could do this ...

  • Mark Milke in MacLean's argues that, regrettable excesses aside, Canadians should be proud of our British heritage.

  • The Montreal Gazette's Brendan Kelly wonders why a supposedly Canadian music compilation does not include any French-language songs.

  • In the Toronto Star, Emma Teitel points out that visibility, including corporate visibility, is hugely important in Pride.

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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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"Yeah, Whatever" is the title track off of Vancouver-based Canadian electronica group Moev's 1988 album "Yeah, Whatever". Produced by the second incarnation of this band, featuring one Dean Russell as vocalist and lyricist, this song deserved wider recognition. Russell's vocals and the guitar-driven lyrics bring to mind a sort of Canadian fusion of Depeche Mode with the Smiths.

Most unfortunately, Moev and Dean Russell never got the chance to break through into the mainstream, Russell dying of HIV/AIDS in 1994 and the band subsequently splintering. What could have been--But at least we have this.
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  • Sandy Garossino considers the furor over Omar Khadr. What if the 15 year old was actually not guilty of the crimes of which he was accused?

  • The Globe and Mail's Tabatha Southey points out, after the Proud Boys incident in Halifax, how the alt-right's claims to be joking reveals their intent. Hannah Arendt knew these kinds of people.

  • The CBC's Haydn Watters describes how one Ottawa couple is planning to visit in 2018 every location involved in every one of the 87 Heritage Minutes.

  • Ben Paynter at Fast Company writes about the system of funding and other support that keeps Canadian pop music thriving.

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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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Possibly Canadian folksinger Bruce Cockburn's signature song, his 1984 single "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" amply deserves its fame. It's a strong song, deserving its top ranking on any number of lists of top Canadian love songs, the poetry of Cockburn's lyrics carried by the urgency of his vocals.



This song arguably achieved greater fame outside of Canada by virtue of the Barenaked Ladies' later cover. That cover is decent, I grant, but it lacks Cockburn's signature urgency. Cockburn wrote this song, like other songs at this time, in the context of the Cold War, in his concern for refugees from Latin America. (I read somewhere that he was thinking of couples caught up in Argentina's then recently-concluded dirty war.) Other critics linked this song to the emergence HIV/AIDS crisis. The Barenaked Ladies' cover is light, too light--their Scarborough might have been boring, but it was not that bad. Cockburn understood perfectly that love matters, even especially when times were difficult, and his performance gets this across wonderfully.

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This vibrant skin, this hair like lace
Spirits open to the thrust of grace
Never a breath you can afford to waste

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

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