Beyond the Numbers suggests that talk of an African demographic dividend may be overstated, in that the young cohorts need–among other things–education.
Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram talks about the ethics of open versus closed borders, suggesting that the latter is only acceptable if there actually are other ways to help.
The Dragon’s Gaze notes exoplanet WTS-2 b, a hot Jupiter set to spiral into its orange dwarf sun in 40 milion years.
The Dragon’s Tales notes that the ancestors of the Americas’ indigenous populations apparently hung out in Beringia for ten thousand years before moving south, observes that Moldovans now have visa-less travel rights to the European Union, and comments on the still unknown composition of Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos.
At A Fistful of Euros, Edward Hugh argues that Abenomics in Japan is turning out to be a huge, expensive, mess.
Language Hat observes that many Soviets learned Polish in order to partake in the freer and more cosmopolitan literature of Poland.
I was pleased to come across, at Savage Minds, Ståle Wig’s two-part interview (1, 2) with anthropologist and doctor Paul Farmer. Known for his commitment to public health in Haiti, Farmer is someone I’ve liked for a while, as my 2006 review of his book AIDS and Accusation suggests. Unsurprisingly, Farmer’s anthropology is very socially engaged.
SW: I get a sense from what you are saying here that social science has been too concerned these last few decades with deconstruction, or destructive critique.
PF: Well, I feel that academia can contribute very constructively through critique and understanding, and partly does so already. For example, a lot of people in NGOs, aid and development work are unable to do social analysis. And that is hurtful to them; because they are not aware of what they are doing can hurt beneficiaries, or doesn’t help them. So I think there is a big role for the weaving together practical policy and social analysis. It has to be an accurate analysis though. Let’s say you write a book about an institution and you don’t do ethnographic work – you wouldn’t do that as an anthropologist.
But I think it comes down to a division of labor. And if there is enough division of labor, people who do critical academic work can perform a valuable service to people living in poverty. But the answer to the question of “what is to be done” is not always to write a new book.
The people living in poverty are my core constituency. And I have never, in 30 years of engagement, had a patient ask me to write another book. But I write them anyway, so that I can think more clearly. I can’t think clearly without reading a lot of other people’s work and writing. Some people I am told can do that, and I believe it, but not me. But no-one’s ever said to me, “Dr. Paul, we really wish you would stop seeing us as patients and building hospitals, and work more on a book about social theory.” That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it, if I had more time. I think I would actually enjoy writing a whole book about a concept like structural violence. But I can’t do that, because I don’t have enough time. But if other people do that, and enjoy it, and I’m cheering them on.
Eastern Approaches notes the ongoing protests in Bosnia and the Hungarian purchase of a Russian nuclear reactor for its energy needs.
Far Outliers first notes the fragile stability of the Mexican republic at the beginning of the 20th century under Profirio Diaz then remarks on the failed Wilsonian reset of Mexican-American relations.
Hogtown Commons, newly added to the blogroll, comments on the exceptional diversity of Toronto.
Language Log’s Victor Mair notes confusion with Chinese-language script on Singaporean food products.
Marginal Revolution observes that the United Arab Emirates plans to deliver some governmental services via drones. Shades of Amazon.
Peter Rukavina celebrates the fact that the Charlottetown Guardian‘s archives to 1960 are now online.
Guest posting at Savage Minds, Sienna R. Craig writes about unreliable narrators in anthropology. How can we count on things in a complex world?
Supernova Condensates comments on the discovery of SMSS J031300.36-670839.3, so far the oldest star known to exist (and only 6000 light years away!).
Towleroad notes a Fox News contributor’s complaints that gays have ruined sports for him.
The Volokh Conspiracy notes that people can now adopt the children of their same-sex partners.
BlogTO links to an interesting app-enabled map showing where people run in Toronto (or, at least, where people run in Toronto using apps to chronicle their routes).
The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper examining the role of dust in protoplanetary disks.
Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis wonders why the Circassians, displaced a century and a half ago from the Caucasian territory where Russia is no holding the Olympics, haven’t gotten any media coverage of their cause.
Language Hat comments upon a video recording of a student’s recital of Cantonese poetry that has gone viral.
Language Log’s Victor Mair wonders what official status Cantonese has in Hong Kong, facing challenges from Putonghua as well as from a writing system that doesn’t record the city’s main spoken language.
The casual racism faced by players of college sports in the United States is discussed at Lawyers, Guns and Money.
Marginal Revolution argues that emerging markets facing economic issues should look at their own domestic scenes and not blame global turbulence.
At Personal Reflections, Jim Belshaw writing about his Australian region of New England makes the point that local histories should also include their global origins.
The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer argues that the New York accent is mostly dead.
At Savage Minds, Jane Eva Baxter talks about the ways in which prehistoric artifacts–like the ancient footprints recently discovered in Britain–are used, and misused, in ways that reflect our biases. (Seeing groups of footprints as product of family migrations, for instance.)
Supernova Condensate marvels at the superb imaging of Luhman 16B.
Window on Eurasia notes one man’s arguments that authentic federalism would suit Ukraine well.
Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes in passing how Siberia changed from being exciting frontier to grim prison-camp in the popular imagination.
Cody Delistraty’s blog is concerned with matters of writing and culture. One post argues that, as a result of preservationism and conservatism in France, Paris has become something of a cultural backwater.
Will Baird has a new blog devoted to exoplanets, The Dragon’s Gaze. A recent post highlights a paper suggesting that it is possible to explain the formation of low-mass planets like Mars if the solar nebula was depleted at the time of formation while the big gas giants were in place.
Michael Sacasas’ The Frailest Thing examines the intersections of technology and culture. One recent post wonders how useful it is to talk about introversion versus extroversion in relation to online presences.
BlogTO and Steve Munro both comment on the proposal to introduce time-based transfers to the TTC.
Crooked Timber links to an Alan Moore interview that touches upon the rivalry with Grant Morrison.
The Dragon’s Tales notes a paper suggesting that the Mars Express probe underestimated the rate of Mars’ atmospheric loss.
Language Log takes another look at the paper claiming Facebook would go away and notes the potential for ambiguity in Chinese sentences.
Lawyers, Guns and Money observes the success of China in adopting solar power.
Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen argues that, between good weather and plenty of attractions, Los Angeles is a great city for walkers.
The News APPS Blog is one blog of many to note on the Ukrainian government’s Orwellian dispatching of text messages to protesters.
The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla notes the sad issues of China’s Yutu moon rover, perhaps doomed to an early failure.
Savage Minds reports on two anthropologists who have written interesting things about the writing process.
Supernova Condensate observes, in relation to blogging, the important difference between a pseudonym (an alternate identity) and anonymity (no identity).
Towleroad notes a Nigerian woman who has disowned her allegedly gay cat.
Window on Eurasia reports the arguments of a Russian clergyman that the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has been promoting gay clerics on the grounds that they can be easily manipulated by threats of blackmail.
Centauri Dreams examines the study of the circumstellar disk of HD 142527, a distant star that apparently has a protoplanetary belt out 160 AU, far further than the Kuiper belt or any theory of planetary formation.
The Language Log takes a look at the use of the word “iguana” to denote a shady character, tracing it to Florida and Charlie Crist.
Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the migration forced by free-trade agreements.
Marginal Revolution reports that, to stave off a financial crisis, Argentina has begun limiting online shopping.
The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla has more on the M82 supernova.
Supernova Condensate examines the ocean planet and the trope’s use in science fiction. If anything, it may be underused!
At Torontoist, John Barber despairs of a debate on transit in the upcoming Toronto mayoral election.
Window on Eurasia suggests Russian neo-Nazi violence is becoming focused more against Central Asians than Caucasians.