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  • VICE suggests that drag in Brooklyn is having a big creative moment.

  • This interview with the director of the Tom of Finland biopic sounds like he has grasped the issues.

  • LiveScience tells of a formal study suggesting heterosexual guys prefer bromances to straight relationships ... huh.

  • Does online dating have the ability to transform society, by making all kinds of unexpected links across boundaries? Technology Review reports.

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  • Anthropology.net notes that the analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton from Croatia reveals much common ancestry.

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares some stunning photos of Jupiter taken by the Juno probe.

  • Crooked Timber considers the differences--such as they are--between science fiction and fantasy literature.

  • After a conversation with Adam Gopnik, Cody Delistraty makes a case for the importance of high-brow culture.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes a paper arguing that Earth-like planets can exist even without active plate tectonics.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas argues that operating systems relying on instinct hurt human thought.

  • Language Log considers Twitter post limits for East Asian languages.

  • The LRB Blog considers trench fever and the future of nursing in the United Kingdom.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a study suggesting people actively look out for bad and threatening news items.

  • The NYR Daily examines the reasons why Uber ended up getting banned by the city of London.

  • Drew Rowsome reports on an exciting new staging at the Paramount Theatre of Salt-Water Moon.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel looks at the very low proportion of planets in studied exosystems actually detected by Kepler.

  • Strange Company tells the story of John Banvard, a 19th century American who lost everything in mounting panorama exhibitions.

  • Towleroad reports on how PREP contributed to an 80% fall in new HIV diagnoses in London and wider England.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the worsening of HIV/AIDS in Russia, aided by terrible government policy and bad statistics.

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  • Wired mourns AIM, AOL Instant Messenger. For me as with others, it really was a life-changing technology.

  • The Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich region of northern Ontario set for development, is getting high-speed Internet. The Toronto Star reports.
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  • VICE notes that someone programmed an Arduino robot with a simulation of a worm's brain. This is very interesting.

  • The Crux considers the potential import of an orbital Moon station for future interplanetary travel.

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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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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares stunning deep-field pictures of intergalactic space.

  • Centauri Dreams shares the second part of Larry Klaes' analysis of Forbidden Planet.

  • D-Brief suggests that controlled kangaroo hunting may be necessary for the ecological health of Australia.

  • Bruce Dorminey notes a new radio telescope in British Columbia that may help solve the mystery of fast radio burst.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes that quasars can irradiate a noteworthy fraction of potentially Earth-like planets.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money comes out against the idea of giving Amazon massive tax breaks for HQ2.

  • The LRB Blog bids a fond farewell to Saturn probe Cassini.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting new ideas--hence, new sources of economic growth--are harder to come by.

  • Maximos62 recounts a quietly chilling trip to East Timor where he discovers a landscape marked by genocide.

  • The New APPS Blog is quite unsurprised by news that Russians may have used Facebook to manipulate the US election.

  • At Out of Ambit, Diane Duane bids a fond farewell to colleague Len Wein.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw does not think Australia is committed enough to affordable housing to solve homelessness Finland-style.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports from the Suwalki Gap, the thin corridor joining the Baltic States to Poland.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at how a storied land rover was recovered from St. Helena.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel lists the top six discoveries of Cassini at Saturn.

  • Towleroad notes fundamentally misaimed criticism of new AI that determines sexual orientation from facepics.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at contemporary Russian fears about the power of rising China in Russia's Asian territories.

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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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  • I am impressed by the scope, if nothing else, of this plan to archive everything on Instagram. VICE reports.

  • I really hope that Instagram's The AIDS Memorial Account remains active. It's a vital online archive of who we lost. Hornet Stories reports on this account's problems.

  • Hornet Stories reports on how gay NYC comedian Matt Grote decided to play with the tropes of the Instagram hunk. Intriuging..

  • Wired notes a powerful, high-speed Google algorithm that does photo retouching very quickly. Not sure how I feel.

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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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  • If Greyhound pulls out of northern BC, and the rest of rural Canada, what will happen to these regions? CBC reports.

  • The militarized community policing describes in Bloomberg View in New York's famed Hamptons does say something worrisome of psyches.

  • A Bangladeshi observer makes the obvious point over at the Inter Press Service that Myanmar needs to radically change its treatment of the Rohingya.

  • Open Democracy looks at how the miliitarized US-Mexican border harms the Tohono O'odham, divided by said.

  • This Wired interview with Antonio Guillem, the photographer whose images made distracted boyfriend meme, is amazing.

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Earlier today at my blog, I linked to an article published earlier this month in the Toronto Star. In "Fleeing to Canada, asylum seekers’ old lives revealed in the scraps found along New York’s Roxham Rd.", journalist Allan Woods looked at the debris discarded by refugee claimants fleeing potential threats in Trump's America.

There were airplane boarding passes and luggage tags from Haiti, Florida, Ethiopia, Salt Lake City and New York; Greyhound bus tickets from Albany and Indianapolis; a Delaware driver’s licence and a U.S. Social Security number; Florida detention records; immigration documents from Orlando; and medical laboratory test records for a Delaware man.

Dampened by rain and dried by sun, the scraps of papers discarded while fleeing for a new life in Canada offer insight into the journeys made by asylum seekers. They may have been thrown away as simple garbage from a life abandoned or been purposefully left behind for fear of complicating an expected refugee claim in Canada.

Canadian officials said this week that there have been about 250 people crossing each day at Roxham Rd. in the past few weeks, with a one-day peak of 500 about a week ago.

About 85 per cent have been Haitian nationals worried that the U.S. government intends to get rid of a special immigration designation, known as a Temporary Protected Status, that prevents deportation back to Haiti and nine other countries.

Among them is the Baptiste family — mother Sophonie, father Michel and son Colby — who stepped off a Greyhound bus at 6 p.m. Wednesday along with an elderly grandfather, an aunt and a cousin after deciding to leave behind the life they had built over the past decade in Queens, N.Y.

In Haiti, they ran a successful home renovation business that was abandoned over fears of kidnapping. Colby Baptiste said he was employed by Honda and was a registered real estate agent in New York before the family decided to seek refuge in Canada.

Pushing them to take that decision was a letter they received from immigration authorities advising them to prepare for the expiration of their Temporary Protected Status and an eventual return to Haiti.

With tears welling in her eyes, Sophonie Baptiste said she saw Canada as a more generous and open country and was confident her family would be able to rebuild once again.


More recently, the Star carried Mike Blanchfield's Canadian Press article interviewing some of the people fleeing.

The Francois family are among nearly 7,000 asylum seekers — most of them Haitian — who have flooded across the Quebec-New York state border since mid-July when the Trump administration announced it might end their “temporary protected status,” which was granted following Haiti’s massive 2010 earthquake. They are among the first few hundred the government has relocated to this eastern Ontario processing centre.

Few here have heard of Justin Trudeau and no one says they saw his now-controversial January Twitter message welcoming immigrants facing persecution. The tweet was heavily criticized by the Conservative opposition for sparking the American exodus.

But many here say they uprooted their new American lives because of something more primal: they were driven by fear of the anti-immigration politics of President Donald Trump.

“I decided to come to Canada because the politics of migration in the United States changed,” says Haitian-born Justin Remy Napoleon, 39. “I was scared. I came here to continue my life.”

Like Frank Francois, Napoleon says he feared deportation over Trump’s policy shift, so he left his adopted home in San Diego, flew to the eastern seaboard and boarded a bus for the northern border. It wasn’t the first time he decided to start over in another country. He left Haiti in 2006 for the Dominican Republic and then went to Brazil.

Napoleon says he dreamed of coming to Canada from as far back as his time in Haiti. When he crossed the border earlier this month, “I thought I was entering a paradise.”


The eastern Ontario city of Cornwall, close to the Québec and New York borders, has--as reported by, among others, Global News--been scrambling to find housing for hundreds, even thousands, of people.

Const. Daniel Cloutier, a Cornwall police spokesman, says almost 300 Haitians have arrived recently and, so far, there have been no problems and none are anticipated.

About 3,800 people crossed into Quebec in the first two weeks of August following the 2,996 who crossed in July after the Trump administration said it was considering ending “temporary protected status” for Haitians in the U.S. following their country’s massive 2010 earthquake.

Last week, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced a temporary shelter would be set up in Cornwall.

The newcomers are being housed at the Nav Centre, which is run by Nav Canada, the private non-profit corporation that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation service. The military is erecting tents on its grounds.

The centre sits on more than 28 hectares of parkland abutting the St. Lawrence Seaway and is billed as a government conference centre with all the amenities of a luxury resort. Its website boasts 560 “comfortable” rooms, as well as a swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre and outdoors sports fields.


Amy Minsky, also at Global News, reported that many of the refugee and asylum candidates who came to Canada have been misled by false rumours, carried on social media.

Amid the federal government’s assurances it has everything under control at the Canada-U.S. border, where thousands of would-be refugees are crossing over in droves, is an aggressive campaign to combat one element seen to be behind the most recent wave: the viral spread of potentially deliberately misleading information about Canada’s refugee and asylum systems.

The Liberal government has said it is aware of misinformation spreading via instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and through other social media platforms.

Much of the misinformation has targeted the Haitian population living in the United States with “temporary protected status” granted to more than 50,000 Haitians, primarily in the wake of 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 222,570, injured another 300,000 and displaced almost 100,000.

With that status likely to expire without renewal in mere months, however, many have packed their bags, made their way to Champlain, N.Y., and walked across to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. – seemingly, according to the Canadian government, encouraged by false information.

“The misinformation that Haitians in the United States, for example, could get permanent residency easily in Canada if they have temporary protected status in the United States. That’s completely untrue,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in an interview with Global News.

“Those [are the] kinds of myths we’re working really hard to dispel, and we’re engaging all available means to attack that misinformation.”

Videos on YouTube are also spreading misinformation about Canada’s system.


At VICE, meanwhile, Cole Kazdin described how fraudsters in the United States are taking advantage of refugees and immigrants there desperately trying to legalize their status.

When Andrea Mora took her grown daughter Karla to get her green card two years ago, she could barely contain her excitement on the drive to the immigration office. "The happiness…" Mora tells me in Spanish. "We were looking so forward to the interview." Finally, she would have her entire family together in the US.

But instead of walking out of the immigration office with a green card, Karla was given a deportation order on the spot. She was a victim of the sort of misinformation and sometimes deliberately misleading advice that experts say is all too common among immigrants looking for permanent resident status.

Mora, who asked that I change her name, came to the US 11 years ago from Costa Rica to be further from her alcoholic husband and closer to her eldest daughter, who is married to a US citizen. After being sponsored by her daughter, Mora now has resident status. She was hoping to sponsor her younger daughter, Karla, who came to the US on a tourist visa. So she borrowed money from friends to get the $5,000 to pay a notario—a term for a notary or immigration consultant—who advised her and helped them fill out the paperwork to apply for Karla's residency.

But notaries don't have law degrees. The one that Mora saw not only filled out the paperwork incorrectly, she also promised an outcome—a green card—that attorneys familiar with the case say would never have been possible.

Those errors led to her interviewer at the immigration office not just turning her application down but telling her to leave the country. Heaping injury upon injury, the notario's high fees meant that Mora is still paying back the friends who lent her money two years ago.


I wonder if anything similar is going on in Canada.
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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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  • 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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  • This U>long-form CBC article looking at Ken Pagan, the man who became infamous through his beer can toss, has insight.

  • I like Christopher Hume's article describing changes of zoning around apartment highrises, to allow shops.

  • John Lorinc's suggestion that taxes collected from foreign buyers be put towards social housing is provocative.

  • Robert Zunke is the man, sometime construction worker, assembling shrines on the Leslie Street spit.

  • Torontoist describes Blockobana, the queer black space at this year's Toronto Caribbean Festival.

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  • Crooked Timber's John Quiggin considers imaginable ways to get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm by 2100.

  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog considers the tenuous nature of the upper-middle class in America. How is downwards mobility to be avoided, even here?

  • Imageo shows the growth of a sunspot larger than the Earth.

  • Language Hat shares the story of how Manchu script came to be.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the working poor need protection from arbitrary and always-changing work schedules.

  • The LRB Blog notes the geopolitical scramble at the Horn of Africa, starting with bases in Djibouti.

  • The NYR Daily engages with an intriguing exhibition about the relationship between Henry James and paintings, and painting.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw engages with the classic 1937 Australian film, Lovers and Luggers.

  • Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money notes that one benefit of the trend towards greater informality in fashion is that time has been freed up, especially for women.

  • Peter Rukavina writes about his new Instagram account, hosting his various sketches.

  • Unicorn Booty notes the continuing problems with Germany's adoption laws for same-sex couples.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how the Polish president saved the independence of Poland's courts with his veto.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is trying to mobilize the ethnic Russians of Lithuania, finally.

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    Torontoist's feature on how Stepgate went viral internationally is a mustread.
  • The National Post covers a disturbing report about claiming a police officer maimed a teenager. If the Toronto police have been actively trying to cover up criminal assault by one of their members ...

  • Global News notes that Metrolinx has opted to remove Bombardier for consideration in operating GO Transit.

  • A high-speed ferry link between Toronto and Niagara--St. Catherine's--is imaginable. Economically viable? The Globe and Mail reports.

  • Simon Lewsen describes in The Globe and Mail how the 1977 murder of Emanuel Jaques led, eventually, to the transformation of Yonge Street.

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  • I have limits as to what I will do to get a great photo. The limits of others may be more elastic, too much so even. VICE warns against this excessive dangerous.

  • Lifehacker shares some quick tips to people looking for obvious signs of a photograph being doctored.

  • These obviously NSFW photos from pre-AIDS New York City by Alvin Baltrop capture the ephemeral scene beautifully.

  • Niko Kallianiotis' photos of small-town Rust Belt Pennsylvania are evocative. I recognize this kind of landscape.

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  • Johann Hari writes for Open Democracy about what may be the beginning of the end of the drug war in Germany.

  • I am not in agreement with Joseph Couture's argument in NOW Toronto that the Internet has ended gay communities. (Convince me.)

  • Samantha Edwards reports in NOW Toronto controversy regarding the Parkdale feminist street art event. Was it really intersectional?

  • James Cooray Smith wonders--or "wonders"--why some Doctor Who fans are so upset with a woman portraying the Doctor.

  • In MacLean's, chief Perry Bellegarde argues that more Canadians should be concerned with the too-many deaths of young First Nations people in Thunder Bay.

  • The National Post tells the story of how Australian senator Larissa Walters had to unexpectedly resign her position on account of her Canadian birth.

  • Via James Nicoll, a paper claiming evidence of human presence in northern Australia, in Madjedbebe, 65k years ago.

  • National Geographic tells of the peculiar way some Gulf of Mexico dolphins prepare their catfish. Is it cultural, culinary even?

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  • NOW Toronto shares photos of the Pride Toronto parade.

  • blogTO notes that, in a recent ranking, Toronto is one of the best cities in which to not be straight in the world.

  • Bloomberg notes the importance of gay pride parades, as self-assertion and resistance, in the age of Trump.

  • Kevin Ritchie's cover article for NOW Toronto looks at the successes and innovations of drag in the era of RuPaul's Drag Race.

  • VICE looks at the extent to which gay life has been transformed by the culture of the app.

  • If all it took for Germany to move towards same-sex marriage was to introduce Merkel to a nice couple ... well done. The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Laurel Gregory of Global News looks at research into children who have been out throughout their school years. I can scarcely imagine.

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  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at what, exactly, is going on at Boyajian's Star. Does KIC 8462852 have a large ringed exoplanet with Trojans?

  • The Frailest Thing considers modernity as something that has its own sort of enchantments.

  • Language Hat examines how Arkansaw was mutated into Arkansas.

  • Language Log looks at the etymology for "coral reef" in Chinese.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Krugman's subtweet.

  • Neuroskeptic considers ketamine as an anti-depressant.

  • Torontoist describes two local startups, Partial and Wandervoic, that are trying to connect local artists with non-traditional art buyers.

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