At Language Log, Victor Mair comments on claims that Mandarin is “weirder” than Cantonese, and suggests that Indian-Americans have advantages over Chinese-Americans in spelling bees owing to the complexity of memorization with Chinese characters.
I’ve accumulated more than a few links in the past couple of weeks. I wanted to share them, in two posts, before I left Toronto on a week-long vacation in Prince Edward Island.
Acts of Minor Treason’s Andrew Barton shares a vintage photo of Toronto’s Union Station from 2010, before the massive construction on Front Street that transformed the scene.
Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait notes that the very large majority of stars in the night sky are quite likely to still be alive, not having died in the mere tens of thousands of years (at most) it has taken for their light to reach us.
The Burgh Diaspora’s Jim Russell notes that German attitudes which force women to choose between motherhood and employment aren’t going to work in the long run.
Centauri Dreams suggests that landing sites on icy Europa’s chaos regions are likely to give probes access to its biologically interesting water oceans, and notes the serious problems associated with focusing lasers for interstellar solar sails across light years of space.
Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram notes the hardening of British attitudes towards migrants, while John Quiggin notes the role of nepotism in the centres of globalization.
The Dragon’s Tales has plenty of interesting links: one suggesting that known exoplanet systems seem to follow Kepler’s law, another suggesting that habitable exomoons are likely to orbit at least part of the time outside of the local stellar habitable zone if they’re to avoid overheating, and a third one mapping the genetic legacies of different ancient migrations to the Western Hemisphere.
Eastern Approaches notes the new cosmopolitanism and experimenting of Polish cuisine and chronicles the destructiveness of the continued alienation and even oppression of the Roma of Hungary.
Far Outlier’s Joel notes the growing popularity of baseball in the late 19th century Kingdom of Hawai’i and chronicles the origins of smallpox inoculation among the beauty practices of Circassian female slaves.
A Fistful of Euros’ Alex Harrowell makes an argument that independent satellite surveillance played a role in the decisions of France and Germany not to involve themselves in Iraq. Commenters dissent, suggesting that an Italy equally plugged into Franco-German networks didn’t care about the intelligence.
Joe. My. God. notes that a bare majority of Taiwanese now support same-sex marriage, and comments approvingly about American gay conservative Jamie Kirchick’s calling out of Russian homophobia on Russia Today at the expense of his career with that station.
Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram writes about the racist raids against immigrants in the United Kingdom.
Charlie Stross fears revolution against increasingly xenophobic and increasingly police states in the West.
Eastern Approaches touches upon the still-vexing question of how to deal with Romania’s Communist past and its perpetrators.
A Fistful of Euros’ Alex Harrowell notes that the United States really has largely recovered from the 2008-2009 recession.
Geocurrents describes the awkward position and questionable future of Burmese migrants in Thailand.
GNXP’s Razib Khan notes that a crowd-sourced South Asian DNA project suggests interesting things about South Asian history, apparently confirming–among other things, to my eyes–Indo-European migrations.
Language Hat notes a Mexican telenovela broacast in Yucatec Maya.
New APPS Blog notes that Detroit’s bankruptcy is a consequence of too-limited frames–for instance, the self-exclusion of prosperous suburbs from the city they are part of.
Registan’s Kendrick Kuo argues that Russia and China need to be engaged by the United States as stakeholders in Central Asia.
Strange Maps maps lactose tolerance in Old World populations. Conquering groups are quite ready to take to milk.
Understanding Society links to description of a fascinating-sounding project analysing populations in Eurasia for differences and similarities in their evolution over time.
Centauri Dreams notes the thinking of Martin Rees and Freeman Dyson on the diaspora of life beyond Earth, noting that it’s going to require as much adaptation to new environments as it will (would?) the adaptation of existing environments.
D-Brief notes theory about planetary system formation suggesting that suggestive gaps in protoplanetary discs of gas and dust don’t necessarily reveal planets.
The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird links to the recent paper suggesting that tide-locked red dwarf planets are much more likely to be habitable than previously thought.
Geocurrents analyses the possibility that Iran might be divided between a conservative Persian-speaking core and reformist peripheries.
GNXP’s Razib Khan notes evidence from Ethiopia suggesting that there has been immigration into Africa as well out of the continent.
Registan describes a Chinese copper mining project in Afghanistan that never quire took off.
Savage Minds’ Rex reviews William McNeill’s biography of historian Arnold J. Toynbee.
Strange Maps maps the leading causes of death by continent.
Supernova Condensate describes the possibility of life-supporting environments on Europa, not only in the subsurface ocean but in lakes located in the ice crust.
Window on Eurasia quotes a Tatar nationalist who argues that Tatarstan can be to Russia what Lithuania was to the former Soviet Union, i.e. the unit which breaks the country apart.
Budding Sociologist Dan Hirschman notes that competing estimates over the size of the Chinese economy means that no one knows whether China’s economy, or the United States’, is the largest in the world.
Crooked Timber’s John Quiggin notes the predicament case of James Cartwright, a retired American general under investigation for leaking information about Stuxnet to the press. Quiggin argues that Cartwright stands out from others in that he has many enemies.
Far Outliers’ Joel observes that tension between African-American settlers in Liberia and Africans living in the future republic was rife from the beginning.
Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig writes about how the Serbo-Croatian language community has been subdivided into national language communities largely, but not only, because of the collapse of Yugoslavia.
GNXP’s Razib Khan blogs about a DNA study suggesting to him that, in the 6th century, Bengal assimilated a substantial agricultural population with links and ancestry in Southeast Asia.
Language Hat notes that at one point, the Persian language was a lingua franca as far away as South Asia.
Underlining that the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 could have succeeded only if the Soviets–and Stalin–went along with its, Lawyers, Guns and Money’s Robert Farley observes that it just wasn’t possible to supply the Polish partisans by air.
Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen quotes from Tarek Osman who argues that the Islamization of the new regimes in the Middle East isn’t inevitable.
The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer celebrates the 4th of July and also shares pictures of his young son Seretse.
Window on Eurasia notes that two million Buddhists living in Russia–Buryats, Tuvans, Kalmyks, and others–pay allegiance to the Dalai Lama, who hasn’t visited Russia perhaps because of Chinese pressure.
I accumulated quite a few links over the long weekend just past in Canada, Monday having been Canada Day. That volume will make for two [BLOG] posts today.
(Feedly, thankfully, seems to be working well.)
Bag News Notes compares coverage of the protests in Brazil and Turkey, arguing that although the photos from the two countries convey similar images of violence, in actual fact the Brazilian protests are encountering less violence and are getting substantially more response from the national government than their Turkish counterparts.
The Dragon’s Tales notes a recent study suggesting that gas giants–heavy planets like Jupiter and Saturn, not their smaller ice giant kin like Uranus and Neptune–seem to form, on the relatively rare occasions they do form, close to their sun.
Daniel Drezner considers the ethics of institutions of higher education receiving very large grants from foreign governments. Does it compromise them and/or can it engage them with the wider world?
Eastern Approaches notes the likely dire consequences on press freedom in Ukraine of a gas magnate’s purchase of Forbes‘ Ukrainian edition.
The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at what, if anything, the inability of Trayvon Martin witness Rachel Jeantel to read a handwritten note says about social capital.
Far Outliers’ Joel describes the medieval Venetian empire, the stato da mar, at its peak.
At A Fistful of Euros, Edward Hugh makes the case that the Czech economy is bound for stagnation.
Geocurrents maps the regional and ethnic dimensions of the recent Iranian presidential election.
Joe. My. God. links to Nate Silver’s chart showing the progression of same-sex marriage rights across the world, by population and by continent.
Language Hat examines the question of what exactly is Aranese (the Gascon Occitan dialect spoken in northwestern Catalonia, for starters).
New APPS Blog analyses a secular French feminism that is nonetheless anti-gay.
Progressive Download’s John Farrell argues that Slovenia is caught in an unusually intense form of stagnation stemming from its managed transition from Communism.
The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird speculates that life on Mars, which plausibly got started earlier thanks to quicker cooling, was devastated by multiple devastating impacts.
Far Outliers’ Joel examines the 11th century of Constantinople and Venice, a relationship that was shifting as Venice gained strength.
Geocurrents takes a look at religious diversity in Ethiopia, making the interesting point that in addition to Christian-Muslim conflict there is also conflict between Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and Protestants.
The Inuit Bikini Monster notes that a cat in Mexico is running for a mayoral position.
John Moyer makes the point that fantasy literature isn’t necessarily escapist, not least because terrible things happen.
Language Hat notes that, for plausible and understandable reasons, the phrase “a sight for sore eyes” is starting to refer to something bad.
Marginal Revolution wonders whether traditional dress in the Gulf States is a marker of identity, and to what extent.
The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer thinks that Edward Snowden made a good choice by seeking refuge in Ecuador, a sufficiently democratic and low-crime Latin American polity.
Torontoist notes that Toronto city police is trying to work on improving the relationship with Somali-Canadians after the recent raid.
Towleroad notes that late gay writer John Preston has given the Maine city of Portland a new slogan.
The Volokh Conspiracy talks about rising nationalism among Burmese Buddhists. Sadly, many commenters talk about how Muslims must be controlled.
Window on Eurasia notes the ongoing demographic issues of Russia and Belarus.
Also at the Speed River Journal, guest blogger Mike Lepage writes about how construction and development in west-end Guelph is threatening bird habitat.
The Volokh Conspiracy deals with the recent American court ruling determining that the federal government cannot necessarily require donor groups to endorse certain views to get funding (originally, started by anti-HIV groups which were also required to oppose prostitution).
Window on Eurasia notes that Buddhists and Orthodox Christians in the Russian autonomous republic of Tuva have set up an interfaith council to try to manage ethnic conflict.