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  • Anthrodendum takes a look at the way community knowledge is now being subject to a privatization.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlyn Kelly starts a discussion about what makes home.

  • Bruce Dorminey suggests a pre-Theia, Moon-sized impactor gave the Earth its metal crust.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the current state of knowledge about Proxima b.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes that Russia is apparently testing advanced nuclear weapons.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas considers the religious impulse in so many technophiles' view of the world.

  • Language Hat considers the dynamics associated with learning minority languages in Europe.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money shares a classic traffic safety clip from 1913.

  • The LRB Blog mourns the loss of Glen Newey, long-time contributor.

  • Lovesick Cyborg notes a NASA study into the economics of a viable space-based solar power project.

  • Roads and Kingdoms takes a look at the açorda of Portugal, a bread-based broth that was a long-time food of the poor.

  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands celebrates the passage of summer into fall through photos of her vegetable garden.

  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at the representation of LGBTQ people on television, and sees much reason for cheer.

  • Science Sushi notes that different dolphin groups seem to have different dialects.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at Robert Merton's refinement of social functionalism.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that many ethnic Russians in Belarus, as in Ukraine, have shifted identity to that of the titular nation.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes one mistake made about artificial intelligence: it is not automatically more accurate.

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  • Centauri Dreams links to archival video painstakingly collected from the Voyager missions.

  • Citizen Science Salon notes ways ordinary people can use satellite imagery for archaeological purposes.

  • Good news: Asian carp can't find a fin-hold in Lake Michigan. Bad news: The lake is so food-deprived nothing lives there. The Crux reports.

  • D-Brief notes that, once every second, a fast radio burst occurs somewhere in the universe.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at the psychedelic retro-futurism of Swedish artist Kilian Eng.

  • Dead Things notes the recovery of ancient human DNA from some African sites, and what this could mean for study.

  • Cody Delistraty reconsiders the idea of the "coming of age" narrative. Does this make sense now that we have abandoned the idea of a unitary self?

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the evolution of icy bodies around different post-main sequence stars.

  • The Great Grey Bridge's Philip Turner notes anti-Putin dissident Alexei Navalny.

  • Hornet Stories notes reports of anti-gay persecution in Azerbaijan.

  • Language Log takes a look at the dialectal variations of southern Ohio.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money starts a discussion about what effective disaster relief for Puerto Rico would look like.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Mexico, and the story of the buried girl who was not there.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that Toronto real estate companies, in light of rent control, are switching rental units over to condos.

  • Naked Anthropologist Laura Agustín takes a look at the origins and stories of migrant sex workers.

  • The NYR Daily talks about the supposedly unthinkable idea of nuclear war in the age of Trump.

  • Drew Rowsome gives a strongly positive--and deserved review to the Minmar Gaslight show The Seat Next to the King, a Fringe triumph now playing at the Theatre Centre.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel explains how so many outer-system icy worlds have liquid water.

  • Towleroad features Jim Parsons' exploration of how important is for him, as a gay man, to be married.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russian language policy limiting minority languages in education could backfire, and wonders if Islamization one way people in an urbanizing North Caucasus are trying to remain connected to community.

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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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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes how data mining of stellar surveys led to the discovery of a new star type, the BLAP.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly tells about her enjoyable recent stay at Fire Island.

  • Centauri Dreams notes the latest maneuvers of asteroid probe OSIRIS-REx.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres as a biomarker.

  • Joe. My. God. notes how racist Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is upset at being called a racist.

  • Language Log notes how China censored images of the Tibetan-language tattoo of MMA fighter Dan Hardy.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how deportees to Mexico are beset by that country's crime syndicates.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper considering how many sellers a market needs to be competitive.

  • The New APPS Blog considers the racism of Donald Trump in the light of Agamben's concept of the homo sacer.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw considers the issue of monuments in Australia in the context of Aborigines' sufferings by the subjects memorialized.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shows the Jupiter approach videos taken by the Voyager probes.

  • Towleroad explains why Diana, with her embrace of (among other things) fashion and AIDS victims, is a gay icon.

  • Arnold Zwicky notes the official registration in Scotland of a tartan for LGBT people.

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  • blogTO shares Aidan Ferreira's stunning photos of the Toronto Islands flooded out. The damage, especially to the beaches, looks severe.

  • CTV News shares remarkable drone footage of the Toronto Islands.

  • The Toronto Sun reports on the plight of the water taxi operators, unable to earn their living this summer with trips to the Islands.

  • The Toronto Star's Fatima Syed notes that, to stay afloat, the Centreville Amusement Park will be selling its beautiful antique carousel.

  • Katharine Laidlaw's interviews in Toronto Life with Toronto Islanders tell the story of a very hard year.

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  • The National Park Service's LGBTQ Heritage Theme Study is an amazingly thorough survey of sites and stories of note.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Stephanie Chambers explores how the history of homophobia recorded in her newspaper's old articles.

  • Back2Stonewall shares rare archival footage of the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day parade, ancestor of Pride.

  • The New Yorker's Daniel Penny tells the story of Joseph Touchette, at 93 the oldest drag queen in Greenwich Village.

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  • Joe. My. God. has reposted a famous, fantastic contemporary New York Daily News article about the Stonewall Riots.

  • James Leahy's clips of Toronto Pride parades from 1988 through 1995 are great. h/t to Leahy and to Shawn Micallef of Spacing for sharing them.

  • Arnold Zwicky has collated some photos of Pride rainbows on Chicago and Dublin transit buses and on some boots.

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  • 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.

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  • D-Brief shares rare video of beaked whales on the move.

  • Dangerous Minds notes that someone has actually begun selling unauthorized action figures of Trump Administration figures like Bannon and Spencer.

  • Language Log looks at a linguistic feature of Emma Watson's quote, her ending it with a preposition.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen considers, originally for Bloomberg View, if Trump could be seen as a placebo for what ails America.

  • The New APPS Blog takes a Marxist angle on the issue of big data, from the perspective of (among other things) primitive accumulation.

  • The Search reports on the phenomenon of the Women's History Month Wikipedia edit-a-thon, aiming to literally increase the representation of notable women on Wikipedia.

  • Towleroad notes the six men who will be stars of a new Fire Island reality television show.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy finds some merit in Ben Carson's description of American slaves as immigrants.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Belarusians are beginning to mobilize against their government and suggests they are already making headway.

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The Grimes song "Kill V. Maim" is one I've been playing a lot this week, with its video set partly in Toronto's abandoned Lower Bay Station and a threateningly manic song with a chorus--"Are you going to the party?/Are you going to the show?"--inspired by Godfather's Al Pacino and by Harley Quinn.

Grimes, a.k.a. Claire Boucher, appears on the latest episode of the “Song Exploder” podcast, a must-listen for music fans who want to hear their fave artists talk about how they created their own songs. In it, Grimes breaks down her thrashing Art Angels cut “Kill V. Maim,” revealing the impetus of it was a friend who doubted her ability to be musically aggressive.

“He kept doing these cute little plucky things, and I was like ‘No, no, let’s make a hard song.’ He was like ‘No, no, you make cute music.’ I was so horrified,” Grimes recalls. “So I went home after that sort of wanting to prove that I could make something that’s going to be really aggressive that I would want to play during an action sequence in a movie.”

After that, she set out to make something that could soundtrack the trailer for a fictional crossover of The Godfather and Twilight. Add in a lot of kick drums, some cleverly buried samples of cheering crowds, and what Grimes calls a “scary, demon chorus” inspired by Harley Quinn, and you have “Kill V. Maim,” which she reveals is “probably my favorite song I’ve ever made.”
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This Thursday, a [MUSIC] day, also happens to be World AIDS Day. My song choice was inevitable.



I blogged Annie Lennox's cover of the Cole Porter song "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" back in January 2009. This cover, taken from the 1990 AIDS fundraising album Red Hot + Blue, is perhaps her most beautiful song. The sound of her full voice against the sparse piano and Paris cafe accordion sends chills down my spine. She evokes love and loss--of the epidemic, of the human condition in general--so superbly here she could make me cry.
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Today, the news feeds remind us, marks the 25th anniversary of the death, of HIV/AIDS, Freddie Mercury. He was an inimitable talent, the vocals of one of his final songs, 1991's "The Show Must Go On" proving this for posterity.



Mercury sings such potent lyrics so well.

Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance
Another heartache - another failed romance, on and on
Does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I'm learning
I must be warmer now
I'll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free!


We are all the poorer for his absence from the world.
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In writing my new Thursday [MUSIC] posts, I find myself revisiting songs I'd touch on before. The Pet Shop Boys' 1988 single "It's Alright" is one I had written about back in January 2009.

What is necessarily wrong with that? Songs can remain the same, but interpretations can change. There are some undeniable core continuities between me now and me in 2009, say, but I don't think about things in quite the same way.



Generations will come and go
but there’s one thing for sure
Music is our life’s foundation
and shall succeed all the nations to come
I hope it’s gonna be alright
'cause the music plays forever
(For it goes on and on and on and on…)
I hope it’s gonna be alright
(On and on and on…)
‘Cause the music plays forever
(For it goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on)


A song that expresses hope for the future, and expresses it in the hope of music’s eternal power in the face of all the ills of the world, is always worth listening to again.
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Last night, I went to the Choir! Choir! Choir! celebration of the life and music of Leonard Cohen, held last night at 9 o'clock in the man-made amphitheatre that is Christie Pit.

Assembled for Cohen #toronto #christiepit #leonardcohen #choirchoirchoir


Assembled for Cohen, 2 #toronto #christiepit #leonardcohen #choirchoirchoir


Assembled for Cohen, 3 #toronto #christiepit #leonardcohen #choirchoirchoir


Assembled for Cohen, 4 #toronto #christiepit #leonardcohen #choirchoirchoir


Assembled for Cohen, 4 #toronto #christiepit #leonardcohen #choirchoirchoir


Break #toronto #christiepit #leonardcohen #choirchoirchoir


The sound on my recording of "Suzanne" is not the best, but I think you might be able to get something of the power of the event, of the hundreds upon hundreds of people gathered together.



I liked the Toronto Star report of the event by Alicja Siekierska.

The outpouring of love for Leonard Cohen continued in Toronto on Wednesday, as hundreds of mourners gathered in Christie Pitts Park to sing some of the legendary singer-poet’s greatest hits.

Led by Choir Choir Choir, they began with “Bird on a Wire,” belted “Hey That’s No Way to Say Goodby”e and, of course, performed an emotional rendition of Cohen’s best known song “Hallelujah.”

It was an emotional evening for many, but despite the sombre goodbye, it was a joyful event truly celebrating the work and life of Cohen.

“I want everyone in Montreal to hear us from here,” Choir Choir Choir co-founder Daveed Goldman exclaimed to the crowd, just before launching a boisterous version of “So Long Marianne.”

Clad in warm clothing, gatherers young and old began tricking in an hour before the event started. By 9 p.m., the hill in the park was packed, flickering candles lighting up singing faces.
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Erasure's 1988 international breakthrough hit "A Little Respect" has been a much-appreciated earworm for the past week or so.



It's a great pop song, Andy Bell's brilliant vocals contrasting what the acoustic guitar and synthesizer of Vince Clarke, all produced with the glorious sheen of Stephen Hague. It's an ever-listenable plaintive plea by a man to his lover, begging to know what it would take to make things work.

I try to discover
A little something to make me sweeter
Oh baby refrain from breaking my heart
I'm so in love with you
I'll be forever blue
That you give me no reason
Why you're making me work so hard


Bell's status as an out star plays a role here: "What religion or reason/Could drive a man to forsake his lover?" What indeed.

I've recently discovered that a remixed version in 2010, the "HMI Redux" version being a digital release to raise funds for the Hedrick-Martin Institute and the True Colors Fund, featuring a choir from said institute's youth choir providing backing vocals and youth in the video.

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  • blogTO recommends some Toronto-related Vine clips.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a SETI study of Boyajian's Star.

  • Crooked Timber criticizes one author's take in the politics of science fiction.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining the auroras of hot Jupiters.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper finding that atmospheric methane did not warm the early Earth.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on how a Scottish hotel owner's homophobic statements led to his inn's delisting.

  • Language Log links to a linguist trying to preserve dying languages.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Nate Silver's polling and prediction methods.

  • The LRB Blog notes the background behind Wallonia's near-veto of Canada-EU free trade.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at how economic issues do not correlate with support for Trump.

  • The Planetary Society Weblog shares photos of the Schiaparelli crash site.

  • pollotenchegg notes the degree to which economic activity in Ukraine is centralized in Kyiv.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a poll suggesting conservative views are unwelcome at Yale.

  • Both Window on Eurasia and the Russian Demographics Blog note a projection that Chinese will soon become the second-largest nationality in Russia.

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Via blogTO's Amy Grief shares some Toronto transit humour.

In YouTuber sweetsingin's latest video, he introduces Toronto to the Prestissimo card, "which automatically adjusts your transit fare in Toronto based on poor-quality service."

With this newly imagined card, riders would a reduced fair (or even money back) if their train/bus/streetcar was late or lacked basic amenities, like air conditioning on a hot day.

"What if we gave a damn, and actually tried to get you to the places you need to go, quickly, reliably, and affordably?" asks the video.




I laugh, and yet.
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Floria Sigismondi's Pneuma is so much easier to appreciate away from peak viewing at Nuit Blanche, when the crowds on Nathan Phillips Square are so much less. It's a haunting dreamscape.



From Pneuma, 1 #toronto #torontocityhall #nathanphilipssquare #nuitblanche #floriasigismondi #pneuma


From Pneuma, 2 #toronto #torontocityhall #nathanphilipssquare #nuitblanche #floriasigismondi #pneuma


From Pneuma, 3 #toronto #torontocityhall #nathanphilipssquare #nuitblanche #floriasigismondi #pneuma


The soundtrack is Boards of Canada's haunting 2013 single "Reach for the Dead".

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Some days ago, my cousin shared Dazed Digital's clip of queer rapper Mykki Blanko's recitation of artist and activist Zoe Leonard's 1992 poem "I Want A Dyke For President".

I want a dyke for president. I want a person with aids for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to aids, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no airconditioning, a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the dmv, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and layed off and sexually harrassed and gay-bashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught.
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The Toronto Star's Jackie Hong reports.



Ontario is updating its unofficial anthem, A Place To Stand, A Place to Grow, for its 150th birthday celebrations in 2017.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was on hand in Ottawa this morning for a live performance of the updated version of the song — with its familiar “Ontairy-airy-airy-o” theme — by Toronto-based band Ginger Ale & The Monowhales.

The updated song mostly sticks to the original lyrics, save for the hook — “Ontairy-airy-airy-o” now sounds more like “Ontairy-oh-oh-oh” and is repeated a few more times — and half of the second verse is now in French. As well, gone are the jazzy drum beat, orchestra and choir — the band used only acoustic guitars, a cajon and two singers for the performance.

Wynne says she was 13 years old when she first heard A Place To Stand, which she calls a “joyous” song that conveys the clear message that anything is possible.

The song was originally written for a short film of the same name that was screened at the Ontario Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal for the country’s — and province’s — 100th birthday. Vancouver-born composer Dolores Claman and her then-husband, Richard Morris, were hired to write the music and lyrics for the film; the song sold 50,000 copies. The film, which later toured movie theatres in the United States and Europe, would be seen by 100 million people, be nominated for two Academy Awards, and win an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Subject.

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