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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

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[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • 3 Quarks Daily asks whether parenthood is morally respectable.
  • blogTO has vintage photos of Toronto’s neighbourhood of Corktown.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that a small moon may be condensing out of Saturn’s Ring A.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes evidence that close-orbiting “hot Jupiters” influence their stars.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes continuing progress in teasing out evidence of Neandertal ancestry from current populations.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that some Muslim cab drivers in Cleveland refuse to drive cabs with signs advertising the upc9oming Gay Games.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes on the minor scandal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s non-receipt of a symbolic degree from Brandeis University.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen seems unduly skeptical about Norway’s program of buying books by local authors for libraries, so as to subsidize literary production.
  • New APPS Blog contrasts the open citizenship of the Roman Republic with the closed citizenship of the Greek city-states, with Carthage being somewhere in between.
  • Towleroad explores continuing controversy around the use of Truvada as an alternative to condoms in HIV/AIDS prevention.
  • Transit Toronto notes the closing of several streets, notably Church Street, in downtown Toronto on the occasion of former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty’s funeral.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that contemporary Russians like their country’s open egress to the world and wouldn’t be pleased by transit restrictions, and observes that ethnic Russians in Estonia seem to be mobilizing against Russian annexation.

[PHOTO] Canada Life Building, April 2014

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I took this photo of the Canada Life Building, looking west from the other side of University Avenue, late on Monday. The quality of the light interacting with the stonework was such that I couldn’t resist.

Canada Life Building, April 2014

Written by Randy McDonald

April 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO shares a visual history of the Toronto Islands. (I really will have to get there this year.)
  • At Broadside Blog, Caitlin Kelly draws lessons from the experience of a journalist who literally overworked himself to death. When should people note their limits?
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that close-orbiting hot Neptune GJ 436b, even with its comet-like tail produced by heating from its sun, isn’t going to lose its atmosphere.
  • Eastern Approaches notes that Poland’s Donald Tusk is presiding over new military spending inspired by the Ukrainian crisis.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World blog and Eastern Approaches both deal with the international consequences of ongoing Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine, the former calling for broad sanctions.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if the Russian-majority city of Narva in northeastern Estonia will be the next target of Russia.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer discusses the implication of Russian gas price increases for Ukraine.
  • Torontoist notes the impact of CBC’s announced job cuts.
  • Towleroad links to a teaser for the new HBO movie version of The Lonely Heart and reports on Barbra Streisand’s explanation as to why she couldn’t get the movie made.
  • Une heure de peine’s Denis Colombi writes (in French) about the sociology of working hours in France and among the French.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that rising xenophobia in Russia is alienating many non-Russians and reports on one Russia who argues that there isn’t a necessary conflict between liberalism and imperialism.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO shares vintage pictures of Toronto’s Ossington Avenue.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the potential discovery of an exomoon of a rogue planet.
  • D-Brief notes that stars can apparently form in nebulae of much lower density than previous believed.
  • The Frailest Thing quotes Hannah Arendt on the race between success and catastrophe.
  • Geocurrents takes a look at the deeply divided island of Cyprus.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Utah is now trying to block gay adoption.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money’s Erik Loomis is critical of American outcry regarding French labour laws limiting work-related communications after 6 pm.
  • Torontoist notes that Rob Ford is now a protagonist in a custom faction of the venerable game Civilization.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy quotes Frederick Douglass’ sage words on Chinese immigration.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russians are willing to support Putin so long as nothing bad happens and notes that Russians are emigrating from the Siberian republic of Tuva.

[PHOTO] Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport (take 2)

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Back on the 8th of February, I posted a photo I took on the tarmac of Toronto Pearson International Airport of a nearby Air Transat jet.

Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport

At the time, I thought it was the only good picture I had. Silly me! I actually had two more buried deeper in my Flickr account.

Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport (1)

Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport (2)

I think I prefer the first one.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 11, 2014 at 2:23 am

[PHOTO] Looking east, Hayden Street east of Yonge

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Looking east, Hayden Street east of Yonge

Written by Randy McDonald

April 10, 2014 at 7:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “What will Toronto be like in 2067? Probably not like this”

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blogTO’s Chris Bateman reports on a 1967 set of predictions by The Globe and Mail about Toronto in 2067, two centuries after Canada’s formation. Frankly, this future sounds terribly dystopian.

“North American cities may face nuclear demolition or cultural collapse,” John Burchard, dean of the school of humanities and social studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ominously warned at the start of the story. “If, however, they escape both, they might become beautiful.”


“Toronto will be totally urbanized by 2067,” reporter Betty Lee wrote. “The majority of urban-orientated Torontonians will prefer the inbuilt efficiency of the mile-high apartment building or the 20-mile long, continuous metro building of fused apartments, factories, roads, universities, hospitals, and shopping facilities.”

(Lee seems to have been talking about Metro Centre, the later aborted plan to redevelop a large swath of abandoned downtown railway lands that gave rise to the CN Tower.)

“About a million persons will choose to live in pre-packaged, one-family dwelling units,” many of them located in 100-floor towers near the water front.

In 2067, buildings, all built on stilts for reasons for some reason, sit among landscaped lawns and parks, she writes. Downtown is home to a “three-harbor hydrofoil” port and air terminal, but most people get around via “electrically powered hovercraft,” which are stored in skyscraper garages. (That classic sci-fi invention the people tube makes an appearance, but only for inter-city travel.)

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2014 at 11:03 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Rob Ford adds Ben Johnson, Trailer Park Boys actor to campaign team”

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I thought this news was a joke when I heard it, but no, it’s got multiple citations. The Toronto Star‘s Daniel Dale reported that disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and a minor actor from the television show Trailer Park Boys are

Rob Ford, known internationally for his illegal drug use, emerged from his office on Tuesday afternoon to announce a new member of his campaign team: disgraced former sprinter Ben Johnson, known internationally for his illicit steroid use.

Johnson was stripped of the gold medal he had won for Canada at the 1988 Olympics with the help of a banned substance. He received a lifetime ban from competition after a second failed test in 1993.

Ford is seeking the redemption never granted to Johnson. Asked about Johnson’s past, he returned to his familiar refrain about forgiving errors.

“You know what? I support Ben 100 per cent,” Ford said. “We’ve all made mistakes in life. I’ve supported him from day one. And that’s the bottom line.”

[. . .]

Joining them was Sam Tarasco, an actor from Trailer Park Boys, a Canadian television comedy about petty criminals.

Ford referred to him as “Cave,” short for “caveman,” an insult used on the show to describe his character, Sam Losco, who lost a trailer park election after he was drugged before a campaign speech.

Johnson and Tarasco are the first prominent people to sign on to Ford’s team, other than brother and campaign manager Doug Ford. Rob Ford said they would be joining him at events.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2014 at 3:56 am

[PHOTO] A rainy afternoon on Bathurst at St. Clair, looking east

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A rainy afternoon on Bathurst at St. Clair, looking east

There was something very lovely about the precipitation that hit Toronto on the afternoon of Friday, April the 4th. It was liquid! Warmth, and spring, are lovely.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 5, 2014 at 3:58 am

[PHOTO] Looking northeast, Church and Maitland

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Looking northeast, Church and Maitland

I took this photograph of the intersection of Church and Maitland late on the 21st of March, arguably the first warm day this year. Located in the Church and Wellesley just one block south of the intersection that gives the gaybourhood its name, the Church and Maitland intersection arguably has. Most of the gay bars in the Village is concentrated in its immediate area, for instance.

The business at the center of this picture is the Church St. Garage, which opened last year in the place of the departed Village Rainbow.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 4, 2014 at 10:25 am


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