A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘holidays

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at how the inability to make contact with the long-departed ISEE-3 probe offers hints as to the problems with long-duration spaceflight.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers Beta Pictoris’ planets, one paper considering the orbit of Beta Pictoris b and another wondering if the identified planet might in fact be massive dust clouds from planetesimal collisions.
  • The Dragon’s Tales explores the latest in Ukraine.
  • Far Outliers notes the collapse of Japanese forces in Papua New Guinea, from Phillip Bradley’s Hell’s Battlefield (1, 2, 3).
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Alex Harrowell considers the extent to which electronic communications are compromisable.
  • The Planetary Society Blog celebrates Yuri’s Night, an upcoming celebration of spaceflight on the 12th of this month.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer wonders how many Salvadorans were displaced from Honduras after the Soccer War of 1968 and considers certain parallels in ethnic minority politics between French Algeria and Russian Crimea.
  • Strange Maps notes that Portugal’s territory is almost entirely water, a combination of its extensive coastline, associated seas, and dispersed archipelagos.
  • Transit Toronto notes that the stretch of Yonge subway by Eglinton will be closed down this Saturday owing to emergency repairs.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi describes the many ways in which he has sold his books.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Kazakhstan is taking greater care regarding the Russian language after Crimea, and notes pressures in Kyrgyzstan.

    [BLOG] Some Monday links

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    • blogTO provides a history of Queen Street West’s fabled Horseshore Tavern.
    • Centauri Dreams features an essay by J. N. Nielsen arguing that the Kardashev scale of development of extrasterrestrial civilizations is misused. (Kardashev was talking about energy usage, we tend to talk about the size of a civilization.)
    • The Everyday Sociology Blog features a post by Sally Raskoff talking about how technology influences our understanding of world events.
    • Far Outliers describes the grisly massacre of Australian prisoners by Japanese armed with bayonets in the Second World War.
    • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad both note how the organizers of New York City’s pride march called the bluff of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue by accepting his request to march. (He has since retracted his bid.)
    • Language Log describes some interesting wordplay in the Taiwanese protests.
    • North’s Justin Petrone talks about Estonia’s continued concern with Russia, especially after Crimea.
    • Savage Minds’ P. Kerim Friedman describes how the mass protests in Taiwan of students are driven by a fear that further economic integration with China will worsen islanders’ standard of living.
    • Window on Eurasia suggests that the Moldovan enclave of Transnistria may become the next scene of confrontation.
    • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines the meaning of a 1984 installation by British artist Richard Hamilton, Treatment Room, as it has changed over time with technology and politics.

    [BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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    • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling shares a United Nations reaction to a United States human rights report.
    • The Dragon’s Tales observes one model for the climate of the ancient Earth and notes that, on the basis of ancient DNA, ancient Europeans were not uniformly white.
    • The Dragon’s Gaze notes studies of the galactic habitable zones of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies.
    • Eastern Approaches reacts to the recent Crimean vote.
    • Geocurrents’ Asya Perelstvaig shares a post about Irish cuisine over time.
    • Joe. My. God. notes the recent visit paid by American evangelist Michael Brown to Peru to try to spread anti-gay ideology.
    • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, the argument is made that the Democratic Party really has shifted left.
    • James Nicoll, at More Words, Deeper Hole, notes the racism of environmentalist Garret Hardin.
    • The New APPS Blog tackles the question of the extent to which the anti-Semitism and Naziism of Heidegger informed his philosophy.
    • The Volokh Conspiracy is unimpressed by the Crimean referendum.
    • Window on Eurasia shares the warning of Andrei Ilarionov that Russia plans on annexing and dominating far more of Ukraine than Crimea.

    [LINK] “The naked truth about Pride”

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    Emma Teitel’s MacLean’s article says pretty much what I think about nudity at Toronto Pride marches.

    Our elders don’t cling to convention; they run from it. And for good reason. In 1981, on a taxpayer-funded mission estimated to have cost a quarter of a million dollars, police carrying crowbars and sledgehammers raided bath houses in Toronto’s gay village, forcing nude and nearly naked men onto the streets, where more than 300 LGBT people were arrested. Bik describes the night as “terrible.” Anyone wondering why some gay people at Pride are so “in your face” should look to events like these for an answer. There was a time when we weren’t in anyone’s face, but everyone was in ours. Hence the naked marching: When you can’t express yourself safely in private, there is no act of civil disobedience more powerful, I’d imagine, than doing so in public.

    Sotiropoulos has, besides nudity, “no other issue whatsoever with the Pride parade.” But, as he wrote to me in an email, “I don’t think we ought to allow the wilful actions of a few people to hijack and tarnish the image of the event as a whole.” The problem with this line of apparently popular thinking is its sheer shortsightedness. Without the “wilful actions” of those “few people,” the event in question would not exist. In this country, public opinion is on the side of gay rights. In my short life, public opinion has always been on my side. I am insanely lucky. There is no greater proof of how lucky I am than the ease with which I once winced at the unlucky: buck-naked old men who wear nothing with as much defiant pride as our veterans wear the poppy on Remembrance Day—buck-naked men, to whom I owe almost everything. This year, I won’t wince. I’ll salute.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    March 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    [LINK] “Irish ask: What’s the big deal about letting gays in St. Pat’s parades?”

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    Jason Walsh’s Christian Science Monitor article examining why Irish-Americans’ St. Patrick’s Day parades tend to be structurally homophobic while St. Patrick’s Day parades in Ireland have gotten over homophobia is worth noting. (The mayors in question didn’t march in the parade in the end.)

    Irish-American communities, particularly in Boston and New York, are known for being cohesive, having a strong community spirit, and, despite tilting Democratic come election, for being socially conservative.

    Back in the aul’ sod, however, they stand accused of being bigots.

    Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny has come under fire for agreeing to participate New York’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, because it bans marchers carrying posters promoting LGBT rights.

    [. . .]

    Larry Donnelly, a law lecturer at the National University of Ireland, says Irish-American communities often are different from the Irish in Ireland, but that times are changing in the US, too.

    “If you look at the parades, I wouldn’t take the organizers as a barometer of where Irish America is. There are different shades of opinion, but there is certainly a Catholic conservative streak. Catholicism and Irishness would be closely tied together in their identity,” he says.

    Mr. Donnelly, a Boston native who formerly worked as an attorney in Massachusetts, says Irish need to understand where Irish Americans are coming from, which is in part from a much more actively Catholic identity.

    “Rates of participation in [Catholic] mass and sacraments are far higher in Irish America than they are in Ireland, even if they don’t toe the [church’s] line on issues like abortion and gay marriage,” he says.

    “The ethnic identification in Boston particularly was defined by standing up against the WASPs [white Anglo-Saxon Protestants], or against the Italian Americans. It wasn’t only the Irish who were exclusionary. I don’t think its a simply prejudicial issue. You have to understand it historically.”

    Written by Randy McDonald

    March 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    [BLOG] Some Thursday links

    • Andart’s Anders Sandberg links to an essay he co-wrote about human longevity. The lessons of centenarians are important, but they also indicate the problems with extended: the damage of ageing has to be slowed down or even repaired, somehow.
    • BlogTO has two photoposts about alternate subways in Toronto, one showing a 1913 proposal for a downtown route, the other examining the Lower Queen Station that could have anchored a Queen Street subway.
    • Crooked Timber and Lawyers, Guns and Money both go after Conor Friedersdorf’s article that doesn’t identify bigoted behaviour as bigoted.
    • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that the results of a search for exomoons, while not turning any up, has produced interesting data on planetary densities.
    • Eastern Approaches, looking to the examples of Arab Spring states, argues that Ukraine will have trouble getting back state assets appropriated by the Yanukovich elite.
    • Geocurrents wonders whether mealtimes in Spain are product of geography and climate.
    • Language Hat notes the disappearance of Yiddish as a major American language.
    • Marginal Revolution links to a paper asking whether too many cultural similarities can lead to interstate war and notes Ukraine’s weak post-Soviet economic growth.
    • The Planetary Society Blog features a Marc Rayman post talking about the Dawn probe’s maneuvering towards dwarf planet Ceres.
    • Steve Munro breaks down Toronto’s transit history into three different phases.
    • Torontoist goes into more detail about the school trustees who would like a crackdown on nudity at Pride.
    • Towleroad examines Liz Dahl, the second Russia Today anchor to quit on a live broadcast over Crimea.

    [BLOG] Some Wednesday links

    • BlogTO reported on the latest push by some Torontonians to crack down on nudity at the annual Pride parade.
    • Cody Delistraty writes about one Parisian bloggers whose writings about overlooked corners of that city have gotten her fame.
    • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that the effects of giant impacts on terrestrial planets might be detectable at long range.
    • At the Financial Times World blog, Gideon Rachman argues that handing Crimea over to Russia (or local proxies) without the preconditions for an internationally-recognized referendum on independence would be very problematic.
    • Joe. My. God. notes celebration in Lebanon after a court rules that same-sex relations are quite normal, after all.
    • Language Hat notes that Russian Tsarina Catherine the Great was also interested in the Greeks, to the point of being interested in claiming the territory of Byzantium in an Orthodox imperium.
    • Language Log notes that Encyclopedia Britannica is now using the Putonghua names of Hong Kong and Tibet (Xianggang and Xizang).
    • Otto Pohl links to his work on the Crimean Tatars.
    • At the Speed River Journal, Van Waffle reminds us that gardening and caring for plants can be a good thing. I hope to take it up.
    • Strange Maps follows the biography and the plans of Pakistan’s inventory, Chaudhari Rahmat Ali.
    • Torontoist links to trans comedian Avery Edison’s story of her issues with imprisonment at Toronto, being placed in one gender-inappropriate jail after another.
    • Towleroad notes that Russia Today is sending an anchor who spoke out against the occupation of Crimea to the peninsula in question, in what surely is not sly payback.

    [BLOG] Some Friday links

    • City of Brass’ Aziz Poonawalla takes issue with Muslims who have issues with Valentine’s Day. What’s wrong with celebrating love?
    • Discover‘s D-Brief notes the new official survey of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede.
    • The Dragon’s Tales notes a study from China suggesting that while reforested areas are cooler in daytime, they are also warmer at night.
    • Eastern Approaches notes that coalition politics in the Czech Republic mean that country’s post-Communist lustration laws won’t be revised.
    • Language Log notes the utter failure of an app supposed to make its users write like Hemingway (it doesn’t like Hemingway’s writing) and observes just how recently passed comedian Sid Caesar was able to learn his famed double-talk.
    • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer observes turbulence in Argentina’s oil sector.
    • Supernova Condensate commemorates the Valentine’s Day gamma-ray burst of 1990.
    • Torontoist notes another Rob Ford conflict of interest, this time involving fundraising in 2011.
    • Towleroad traces the background behind Nigeria’s anti-gay law.
    • The Volokh Conspiracy maps the liberalization of gun laws across the United States.
    • Window on Eurasia notes that, of the three traditionally Buddhist minorities of Russia, the Buryats have gone furthest towards a revival–the more shamanistic Tuvans and the Stalin-deported Kalmyks have further to go.

    [PHOTO] Yonge and Dundas Square, 7 pm, 31 December 2013

    Yonge and Dundas Square, 7 pm, 31 December 2013

    Written by Randy McDonald

    January 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    [PHOTO] On a wintry night

    I took a few photos as I walked to Christmas dinner about 5:30. Snow was still falling, and was rather quite pleasant. It had been a while since I’d experienced a white Christmas, and I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it.

    Walking east on Dupont towards the intersection with Dovercourt Avenue early Christmas evening, all was calm and white. Even the traffic seemed cheery.

    On a wintry night (1)

    Looking south onto Dovercourt at the interection of Dupont and Dovercourt, the scene was quiet.

    On a wintry night (2)

    Walking south on Dovercourt towards Hallam was quietly pleasant.

    On a wintry night (3)

    A taxi parked while, in the far distance, the few cars about on Hallam approached Dovercourt.

    On a wintry night (4)

    Written by Randy McDonald

    December 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm


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