A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘spain

[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 Friday links

  • Centauri Dreams reacts to yesterday’s announcement that Kepler had found another 715 planets. What an embarrassment of riches!
  • Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram mourns the freer blogging culture of old, before things because set and professionalized.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh argues that, with a shrinking population and stagnant incomes, Japan-style deflation is inevitable in Spain.
  • At Geocurrents, Claire Negiar summarizes the simmering separatism of the southern Senegalese region of Casamance.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen starts a discussion about the impact of bringing extinct species like the passenger pigeon back to life.
  • The New APPS Blog’s Mohan Matthen argues that an independent Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom should maintain a currency union. (I’ve made arguments against.)
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer maps the declining power of Chavista politics at the polls in Venezuela.
  • Savage Minds has a neat interview with an ethnographer who is also a designer.
  • The Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle celebrates the avocado, with photos and recipes.
  • Torontoist links to a cool video showing the exploration of some hidden nooks of the Toronto transit system.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, at least in terms of declared ethnic identity, Ukraine is as Ukrainian as Russia is Russians.
  • Wonkman points out that mores in cities take a while to get used to, just like the mores of non-urban areas.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • BlogTO’s Derek Flack shares pictures of Toronto in the 1970s.
  • James Bow thinks, in response to discussion at Toronto city council, that the position of head of the TTC should be put up to a general election.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the ESA’s new PLATO planet-hunter telescope, positioned at the Earth-Sun L2 point, and features a guest post from J. N. Nielsen talking of the means by which life will be dispersed.
  • City of Brass’ Aziz Poonawalla is unsurprised by the recent finding that the NYPD’s spying on Muslims was legal.
  • Discover‘s D-Brief notes a very odd pulsar.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper wondering if the products of Europa’s geysers–including signs of life?–could be sampled by spacecraft.
  • Eastern Approaches notes Ukraine’s agony.
  • Geocurrents notes, in light of Spain’s recent law granting Sephardic Jews the right to gain Spanish citizenship, the vexed question of what Sephardim are.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes a study chroniclingly state-by-state startling post-1979 increases in inequality in the US. (I fear a similar study from Canada.)
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Ukraine will see the next big financial crisis.
  • The Signal notes the exceptional fragility of the ageing rewritable CDs used to store WNYC’s radio programs.
  • Torontoist noted that Doug Ford won’t be running in the next provincial election as a candidate.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little argues that narrative history should seek to explain underlying patterns to be useful.
  • Window on Eurasia speculates that Kazakhstan could lead the integration of the Turkic world.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that, to cut costs for its Ariane 6 rocket, the European Space Agency is no longer going to try to source parts for the Ariane 6 across its member-states, insteading aiming for more efficient distribution of suppliers.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig wonders about the consequences Spain’s offer of citizenship to the descendants of Jews deported in 1492 might have. How many will take up Spain on the offer?
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen is not a locavore at all.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla wonders, with others, just what Mercury’s unique hollows are.
  • Strange Maps chronicles the “hippie trail”, a route popular with backpackers in the 1960s and 1970s that stretched from Europe through Turkey and Afghanistan towards Southeast Asia.
  • Towleroad notes the vicious homophobia of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little chronicles the not-entirely unreciprocated sympathy of Karl Marx for the liberator Abraham Lincoln.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that immigration is unlikely to increase the size of the American welfare state. (If anything, as European rhetoric suggests, it might decrease it.)

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a private proposal for the ESA to launch
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog’s Peter Kaufman finds sociology and mindfulness meditation quite compatible.
  • Far Outliers takes a look at the instability of the post-Ottoman Arab kingdoms of the Middle East.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that AIDS denialists are trying to shut down YouTube commentary on their ideas by claiming copyright on videos referenced in these commentaries.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Spain is now partaking in the European Union-wide market for health care services.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw observes that, perhaps contrary stereotypes, his Australian region of New England had a very large Chinese population.
  • J. Otto Pohl notes how the social geography of Accra, Ghana’s capital, has changed and not changed over time.
  • The Planetary Society Blog features a guest post from Bill Dunford talking of various missions sent to our sun.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy announces a week of posts on the position of sharia law in the United States.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Ukrainian Orthodox (Kyiv Patriarchate) as well as Ukrainian Catholics are opposed to Russia, and quotes statistics (the high number of .ru-registered websites outside of Russia, the high Kazakh birth rate, conspiracy theories about Ukraine) which suggest things might be problematic for Russia.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly points writers to evidence that editing can be a harsh and thorough process: a photograph of one of her own drafts.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that a recent study of the distribution of different sorts of asteroids in the asteroid belt suggests that the planets in the early solar system were exceptionally mobile, with Jupiter’s inward migrations perhaps tossing enough icy bodies our way to give Earth oceans.
  • Discover‘s The Crux points out alleged photographic evidence of an alien base on the Moon is no such thing.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to Stephen Hawking’s paper on black holes, which apparently argues they don’t destroy information so much as garble it.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a recent study suggesting that the Alpha Centauri system is quite full of dust.
  • The Financial Times‘ World blog notes that the dustup over Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson’s involvement as spokesperson for an Israeli company making use of West Bank resources highlights Israel’s growing issues.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a recent Washington Post-ABC poll suggesting that Hillary Clinton is far and away the Democratic Party’s favourite for the 2016 presidential election.
  • Dave Brockington of Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Niall Ferguson’s argument that Britain should have stayed out of the First World War.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a recent paper suggesting how Catalonia might progress to independence from Spain, in the context of shared debt.
  • Thought Catalog’s Shawn Binder writes about how homophobia can intrude even within same-sex relationships.
  • Torontoist notes a major billion-dollar development at Spadina and Front that would literally create a new neighbourhood.
  • Towleroad observes that billionaire Cecil Chao has withdrawn the dowry he offered to potential suitors of his lesbian and coupled daughter Gigi, without acknowledging her actual relationship.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • James Bow really likes the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. One thing he thinks it does very well is show people caught up in an oppressive system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the European Space Agency is facing huge cost overruns with its Ariane 6 rocket.
  • io9 shares a chart showing the top 20 metropolitan areas of the United States over time.
  • Joe. My. God. observes that seniors who have been staking out tables at a McDonald’s in New York City as a place to socialize have agreed to be more considerate.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair comments upon a picture of a Taiwanese subway advertisement that makes use of three different scripts.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen likes Will Wilkinson’s argument about how liberalism is ultimately incompatible with the security state.
  • Registan guest blogger Dillorom Abdulloeva writes about domestic violence in Uzbekistan.
  • Steve Munro has an open thread about the different ways to travel between Toronto and New York City. What’s quickest?
  • Supernova Condensate examines the concept of superhabitable planets.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin argues (after others) that immigration can be a way for people to exercise political freedom, by leaving unjust states.
  • Torontoist examines a report on youth violence.
  • Towleroad shares the news of the new Spanish cardinal, who thinks that homosexuality is a medically correctible defect.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links (1)

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.

[DM] “The Suitcase Mood – Does Ukraine Face Population Meltdown?”

Co-blogger Edward Hugh has reposted his latest essay at A Fistful of Euros on the connection between demographics and economics. Starting with the specific case of Ukraine, where low fertility and high rates of emigration combine to produce a rapidly aging, and shrinking, population, which in turn seems to be associated with economic stagnation, Hugh goes on to wonder what happens when this goes on globally. What of Japan, or Spain? What of the rest of the planet?

So where does all this lead. Well it leads me personally to ask the question whether it is not possible that some countries will actually die, in the sense of becoming totally unsustainable, and whether or not the international community doesn’t need to start thinking about a country resolution mechanism somewhat along the lines of the one which has been so recently debated in Europe for dealing with failed banks.

That something like this is going to be needed I regard as being what John Locke would have termed a “self evident truth”. As we know, in country after country each generation is getting smaller. While we can argue about exact timing, what this falling population means means is that GDP will eventually start to contract. This should make those ecologists who have long been arguing that the planet was over populated and that zero of even negative economic growth was desirable extremely happy. But what about the debt left behind by earlier generations, will that also contract? The Japan experience so far tends to suggest it won’t, and herein lies the rub.

But this is only part of the problem, since the process of country decline, like most processes in the macro economic world, is non linear. That is to say critical moments or turning points will exist when suddenly things move a lot faster than expected. Hemmingway grasped the essence of this in his much quoted “bankruptcy comes slowly at first but then all of a sudden”. As the economy falls back, and the burden of debt grows on the ever smaller numbers of young people expected to pay, the pressure on those young people to pack their bags and leave simply mounts and mounts, accelerating the process even further.

In fact populations dying out is nothing new in human history if we move beyond the most recent world delineated by nation states. In hunter gatherer times populations occupied increased or reduced proportions of the earth’s surface as climate dictated. In more modern times, islands have been populated or become depopulated according to economic dynamics (think the Scottish coastline). More recently, it is clear the old East Germany would have become a country in need of “resolution” had it not sneaked in under the umbrella of the Federal Republic. Why people should find the idea of country failure so contentious I am not sure, perhaps we have just become accustomed not to have “hard” thoughts.

Applying the argument many apply to banks, unsustainable countries “deserve” to fail, don’t they? Why should the US or German taxpayer have pay to keep them afloat? Naturally, including Spain in this group of countries that can only now salute Cesar as they prepare to die my seem extreme, but just give it time.

[. . .]

But not all countries will experience the shortage (which is already being talked about in China in labour force terms) in the same way. Some countries, with competitive economies, healthier banking systems, younger populations, and better-quality institutions will gain the population which is being lost by the others. That is another of the reasons I say the process will not be linear. This is naked capitalism in the raw, sovereign against sovereign, with a winner take all structure.

The competition is ongoing.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 9, 2013 at 1:23 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling is skeptical that plans to archive vast quantities of archived data accumulated over decades, even centuries, are going to be viable.
  • The Burgh Diaspora notes that for southern Europeans, Latin America is once again emerging as a destination–this time, the migration is of professionals seeking opportunities they can’t find at home.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird links to a proposal by biologists that life initially evolved in highly saline environments.
  • Democracy is still fragile in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Eastern Approaches notes.
  • Odd placenames in Minnesota are analyzed at Far Outliers.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Alex Harrowell notes the translation problems surrounding the Nazi term volkisch, liking one recent translator’s suggestion that “racist” works best.
  • Razib Khan at GNXP introduces readers to the historical background behind the recent ethnic conflict in Burma.
  • Itching for Eestimaa’s Guistino takes a look at same-sex marriage in Estonia.
  • Savage Minds reviews Nicholas Shaxson’s book Treasure Islands, which took a look at offshore banking centres like Cyprus.
  • Torontoist’s Kevin Plummer describes the background behind Elvis’ 1957 performances in Toronto.
  • The negative effects of mass migration to Russia from Central Asia on sending countries, especially the republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are introduced at Window on Eurasia.

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