A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘poland

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO’s Chris Bateman writes about the life of William Cawthra, a 19th century millionaire in Toronto who gave his name to–among other places–Church and Wellesley’s Cawthra Park.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of engines that can move stars and planets, drawn from science fiction.
  • Crooked Timber visits the topic of the First World War.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper suggesting TW Hydrae has a borderline brown dwarf in orbit, and to another paper suggesting that exoplanet 55 Cancri e is in a polar orbit of its star.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Greenland’s icecap is darkening, potentially accelerating the rate of its melt.
  • Eastern Approaches engages with Polish politics.
  • Far Outliers is exploring Soviet history, noting Communist enthusiasm for the Russian civil war and origins of totalitarianism in the war.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh notes that Japanese inflation is at a 32 year high, and that this isn’t good.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the suicide of a Tea Party leader in Mississippi who filmed the mentally ill wife of his Republican opponent.
  • Language Log approves of a shift to actual language use in the US Supreme Court.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money also discusses the First World War, noting that Serbian opinion isn’t very anti-war.
  • Marginal Revolution notes economic stagnation among African Americans.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are starting to join the same Russian mental category reserved for the Baltic States, for good and for ill.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Crooked Timber comments on Amanda Lepore’s essay in The New Yorker criticizing the idea of “disruption”.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of Gliese 832c, a super-terrestrial planet orbiting a red dwarf 16 light years away that is either a super-Earth or a super-Venus.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that one consequence of Scottish independence could be the United Kingdom’s nuclear disarmament.
  • The Financial Times‘s The World blog notes speculation that Russia could be behind the bugging of the Polish foreign minister.
  • Joe. My. God. observes that some American reactionaries see Russia as a refuge from liberalism.
  • Language Hat notes the ongoing controversy over the origins of the Yiddish language.
  • The Planetary Science Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla provides updates on Mercury’s Messenger probe and the Venus Express as well.
  • Savage Minds makes the argument that it’s better to engage with people not abstractions.
  • Steve Munro notes extensive construction around Spadina and Dundas this summer.
  • Towleroad links to an article about once-prominent ex-gay John Paulk.
  • Window on Eurasia notes high mortality in Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell wonders how Andy Coulson got his security clearance.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Centauri Dreams hosts a speculative essay by one Adam Crowl imagining how life could endure for eons beyond the death of stars in an aging universe.
  • The Cranky Sociologists’s SocProf studies the interaction between national identity and team sports in an era of globalization and migration.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper analyzing the connection between a star’s metallicity and the likelihood of it hosting giant planets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by itself lengthens the growing season, irrespective of warming.
  • Eastern Approaches looks at the scandal in Poland following the sharing of Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski’s impolitic words about NATO and the American alliance.
  • The Financial Times‘s The World blog wonders what the jeering of a female politician by her male peers means about gender equity in Japan.
  • Language Hat looks at the languages used in soccer.
  • Personal Approaches’ Jim Belshaw deplores the imprisonment of Australian journalist Peter Greste in Egypt.
  • At the Planetary Science Blog, Bill Dunford celebrates the many achievements of the Cassini probe at Saturn.
  • Van Waffle of the Speed River Journal writes about the return of bullfrogs to his local lake this year, in the context of issues for amphibians generally.
  • Torontoist features trans male Alex Abramovich’s writings about the personal and broader importance of pride.

[LINK] “Will the Visegrad Four Survive Ukraine?”

Transition Online‘s Martin Ehl writes about the possibility that the Visegrád Group–a post-Communist association of the four central European countries of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary–might not survive differences over Ukraine.

On the one side, there is Poland, which has asked the United States to station thousands of troops on its soil. On the other, there is Hungary, which has signed a very suspicious deal with Russia for a loan to build two new nuclear reactors that will tie Budapest to Moscow for the next three decades. The Czech Republic and Slovakia are somewhere in between, but both strongly reject an additional NATO (read U.S.) military presence in their countries.

Polish diplomats present at recent conferences such as Globsec, where the prime ministers of the four countries openly disagreed, or at the Wroclaw Global Forum, have started to ask whether the country should invest so much energy into regional cooperation that does not reflect their basic national interests.

Milan Nic, director of the Central European Policy Institute in Bratislava, said that considering the Czech and Slovak prime ministers’ rejection of an American military presence, Poles “have to wonder about our attitudes and if Poland would be better off giving more attention to cooperation with Romania, the Baltic countries, and some Scandinavian ones, which see the threat from the east likewise.”

The Polish propensity to push their partners into a corner and entertain even the worst-case scenarios is viewed in Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest as hysteria, according to Nic. “The level of our strategic dialogue and understanding was not prepared for such a grave crisis as the Ukrainian one,” Nic said.

[. . .]

Mateusz Gniazdowski, director of the Central European department at the Polish governmental think tank, the Center for Eastern Studies has noted, “Above all, in Poland the opinion prevails quite often that countries with a common heritage and who are neighbors on a map have common interests.” While EU members obviously have varied histories, one would have thought their current priorities in regard to Russia would align more frequently than they do.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Crooked Timber continues its immigration and open borders symposium, wondering about the European Union.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that brown dwarfs will also form planets out of their discs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales tracks the Ukrainian conflict.
  • Eastern Approaches notes that, despite continued warm feelings for the United States, Poland is now becoming concerned with its affairs as a European power.
  • Language Hat notes how for many Russians in the 19th century, Francophilia was seen as a shame, a betrayal.
  • At Language of the World, Asya Perelstvaig notes efforts among some local Christian Arabs to revive the Aramaic language.
  • James Nicoll of More Words, Deeper Hole reviews fondly the Joan Vinge classic novel Psion.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Bill Dunford shares photos of the tracks of Mars rovers taken by the rovers themselves.
  • Steve Munro links to John Lorinc’s series of articles at Spacing on the neglect of transit to the benefit of talking in Scarborough.
  • Towleroad notes a recent meeting held in Vienna, funded by a Russian oligarch, aimed at fighting gays.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the role played by Facebook in coordinating recent anti-government protests in Abkhazia and observes fears for the Crimean Tatars among scholars.

[LINK] “Playing with Fire”

Transition Online’s Martin Ehl reports on the ill-timing of Hungary’s push for self-government for the Magyar minority in Ukraine.

Last week, leaders of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland competed at a security conference in Bratislava in the political categories of cynicism and hypocrisy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban proved himself the master. He defended his call, several days old, for the 200,000-strong Hungarian minority in Ukraine to be granted autonomy. At a time when some of that country’s eastern regions are attempting to secede, such comments were considered, to say the least, inappropriate and playing to Russian efforts to make Ukraine as chaotic as possible before the presidential elections there on 25 May.

[. . .]

On 16 May, Orban added a few more things during a television interview. He said in the European Union there are many types of autonomy, from which Hungarians living in Ukraine can simply choose. And any government in Ukraine must be aware that the Hungarian state will support the request of the Hungarian minority. Now is a good time for such a request, he said, when a new Ukraine is being built. Only at the end did Orban say, in so far as Russian actions are considered, that of course Hungary supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In Bratislava Orban called on his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk, to be equally hard on Ukraine. Tusk nearly blew up right then and there, in public. The Polish approach to its troubled neighbor has been the exact opposite, because the Poles are not playing with fire like the Hungarians. Even if they could, the Polish government is well aware of the direct threat flowing from an unstable Ukraine. Warsaw is thus trying to help the Ukrainians on the European scene – without opening up old wounds. Officially 150,000 members of the Polish minority live in Ukraine and historians are still analyzing the details of their mutual massacres, which are only 70 years old.

On the sidelines of the conference, Hungarian government officials tried to defend the prime minister by saying that his words were meant primarily for a domestic audience. But it did not occur to them that this is exactly the danger threatening Europe as the European Parliament elections approach: the extent to which politicians concentrate more on the domestic audience and omit, intentionally or not, the broader context – the importance of the stability and prosperity of neighboring countries and, accordingly, of the entire continent.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO’s Derek Flack posts photos of beach scenes in Toronto dating back a century or more.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly offers ten tips for tourists visiting New York City.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that life on planets can influence the effective size of the circumstellar habitable zone, expanding it inwards or outwards.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to an Economist article arguing that the English language has become the common language of the European Union’s citizens.
  • Eastern Approaches comments on the life of Polish general Wojciech Jaruzelski.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ PO Neill notes that the European Monetary System predating the Euro was associated with booms and busts in Ireland, among other countries.
  • Kieran Healy notes a study suggesting that the success or not of crowdfunding and other online collaborations is strongly determined by whether or not people make initial large contributions.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money comments on the ethics of immigration and border control.
  • At the Planetary Science Blog, Joseph O’Rourke summarizes a paper suggesting it’s reasonably likely that Pluto has plate tectonics and subsurface oceans, derived from the impact that created its binary partner Charon.
  • pollotenchegg maps turnout in the recent Ukrainian election.
  • Strange Maps notes that the Belgian province of Liège looks in outline quite a lot like Belgium.
  • Torontoist notes that the policies of the Progressive Conservatives under Tim Hudak would bode ill for Toronto if they won the upcoming election.
  • Window on Eurasia links to an author who predicts only hard and soft authoritarianism for Russia.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • blogTO talks about the squirrels of Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze describes a recent study of the inner disc of debris surrounding Beta Pictoris.
  • Eastern Approaches touches upon problems facing Polish business.
  • Discover‘s ImaGeo shares more pictures of the nascent coma of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
  • At Languages of the World, Asya Perelstvaig digs into the New York Times‘ interactive map depicting patterns of immigration in the United States.
  • Marginal Revolution notes New Zealand’s strict regulation of foreign investment, while some commenters wonder if that matters or not.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla notes that the Venus Express probe is set to plunge into that planet’s atmosphere and provide more information.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that claims economic issues are encouraging Putin to draw down tensions in Ukraine are incorrect.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell notes that therapeutic cloning is making stem cells more usable than before as a medical treatment.
  • Torontoist reports on the appearance of Rob Ford in Bracebridge, in Toronto’s cottage country. (Apparently it was an escorted leave from rehab.)
  • Window on Eurasia notes one author comparing the cultural conservatism of Russia’s government to that of the Greek colonels, and reports on another’s argument that speakers of the Russian language do not form a single community by any means.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • At 3 Quarks Daily, Tamuira Reid writes about the minefields associated with Romani identity, starting with the name.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper suggesting terrestrial worlds may be able to form in systems with hot Jupiters.
  • The Dragon’s Tales suggests that Japan is starting to investigate the possibility of orbital solar power satellites.
  • Eastern Approaches notes the political controversies in Poland associated with the canonization of native son John Paul II.
  • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad both note that Japan’s first lady Akie Abe rode in a float in Tokyo’s gay pride parade.
  • Geocurrents notes that long-time contributor Asya Pereltsvaig will no longer be contributing.
  • The New APPS Blog continues to observe the issues surrounding the Fermi Paradox.
  • Torontoist notes, with photos, a Toronto church’s annual blessing of the bikes.
  • Towleroad observes that a Buffalo, New York, school refused to share news of a gay alumnus’ wedding.
  • Window on Eurasia warns that Putin wants to regain Soviet levels of power and domination, also touching upon the Russian belief that Ukrainians and Belarusians don’t have separate histories.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell recounts a book, Robert Bickers’ Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai, telling the story of an English expatriate fascist turned policeman in interwar Shanghai.

[NEWS] Some Saturday links


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