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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘sports

[NEWS] Some Friday links

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  • Al Ahram notes that, as Ukraine is starting to turn towards the European Union, Russia is doubling down on its Eurasian Union project.
  • Al Jazeera notes that the Russian Orthodox Church is more skeptical of the costs of Crimea’s annexation than the Russian state, for fear of losing followers in Ukraine.
  • The Atlantic Cities commemorated the brief return of Major League Baseball to Montréal a decade after the Expos’ death with a Toronto Blue Jays away game, shares pictures of London’s first cat cafe, and maps imbalances in supply and demand in New York City’s popular but troubled bike share program.
  • Bloomberg notes how IKEA’s dreams for expansion in Ukraine were undermined by corruption.
  • Bloomberg BusinessWeek chronicles falling Japanese stock prices, warns that Russia is becoming a junior partner of China, and notes the threats facing Ukrainian agriculture.
  • CNET examines the story behind the iconic Windows XP photo “Bliss”.
  • Global Voices Online hints, by way of a recent quitting, that Ukrainians might be disenchanted with Russian-owned Livejournal.
  • The Guardian notes that the Australian city of Darwin is a military garrison par excellence, and observes that Bulgaria has derived some benefit from the Greek economic collapse as businesses have migrated north.
  • MacLean’s suggests that Ukraine can be anchored ittno the West if it can experience Polish-style prosperity.
  • National Geographic News takes another look at the proposed Nicaragua Canal project.
  • Radio Free Europe notes that a Russian plan to institute fast-tract citizenship procedures for professionals has sparked fears of brain drain in Central Asia, observes the effects that currency devaluation has had on immigrants in Kazakhstan, and comments that Afghanistan’s support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea has much to do with Afghanistan’s long-standing irredentism aimed at Pakistan.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • At The Dragon’s Tales, Will Baird reports that Sweden and Finland, spooked by Crimea, are now contemplating NATO membership.
  • On a very different note, The Dragon’s Tales also notes that Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, with a Europa-like ocean underneath, is perfectly suited for a space mission.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that workers are dying on World Cup construction sites in Brazil as well as in Qatar.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla notes the very recent discovery of Kuiper belt object 2013 FY27, big enough to be a dwarf planet.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy links to a profile of the blog and its blogger in Tablet magazine.
  • Window on Eurasia has a series of links. One argues that Russia’s weakness not its strength motivated the move into Crimea, another argues that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a catastrophe and that the Russian government knows it, another observes Belarus’ alienation from federation with Russia.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes that Somali asylum-seekers in the United Kingdom are being deported to Somalia, at great potential risk to themselves, and observes the continuing and self-serving chaos in that country.
  • The Atlantic debunks the myth that GLBT people are well-off relative to heterosexuals in the United States, at least, and uses a San Francisco building’s history to take a look on the history of that city throughout the 20th century.
  • The Atlantic Cities shares a photo essay about Rochester’s subway, abandoned after more than a half-century.
  • The Australian Broadcasting Corporation shares the news that some ecologists in Australia think that triage should be applied to the continent’s threatened species.
  • BusinessWeek notes that China’s first lady Peng Liyuan may be taking Michelle Obama as a model for her position, and notes that Exxon’s partnership with Rosneft (and other Western-Russian business partnerships) are looking problematic) after the Crimean annexation.
  • CBC observes that the Turkish state has lost in its attack on social networking platform Twitter.
  • Taking on issues of Québec City, MacLean’s observes that getting back the Quebec Nordiques isn’t helped by the resurgence in nationalism, adding also that despite being a potential national capital Québec City doesn’t vote for the Parti Québécois.
  • Open Democracy makes the argument that Scottish separatism is driven by a desire to be a normal European country, in contrast to an increasingly inegalitarian England.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • io9 links to a map showing the Milky Way Galaxy’s location in nearer intergalactic space.
  • The Big Picture has pictures from the Sochi Paralympics.
  • blogTO shares an array of pictures from Toronto in the 1980s.
  • D-Brief notes the recent finding that star HR 5171A is one of the largest stars discovered, a massive yellow hypergiant visible to the naked eye despite being twenty thousand light-years away.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes recent studies suggesting that M-class red dwarfs are almost guaranteed to have planets.
  • Eastern Approaches argues that the lawsuits of Serbia and Croatia posed against each other on charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice will do little but cause harm.
  • Far Outliers explores how Australian colonists in the late 19th century feared German ambitions in New Guinea.
  • The Financial Times World blog suggests that, in its mendacity, Russia is behaving in Crimea much as the Soviet Union did in Lithuania in 1990.
  • Geocurrents notes that the Belarusian language seems to be nearing extinction, displaced by Russian in Belarus (and Polish to some extent, too).
  • Joe. My. God. notes the protests of tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews in New York City against mandatory conscription laws in Israel that would see their co-sectarians do service.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that, in pre-Israeli Palestine, local Arabs wanted to be part of a greater Syria.</li?
  • Otto Pohl notes the connections of Crimean Tatars to a wider Turkic world and their fear that a Russian Crimea might see their persecution.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Venezuela has attacked Panama in retaliation for a vote against it by confiscating the assets of its companies there. In turn, Panama has promised to reveal the banking accounts of Venezuelan officials in Panama.
  • John Scalzi of Whatever is unimpressed with the cultic adoration of Robert Heinlein’s novels by some science fiction fans.

[LINK] “Why Quebec athletes are leading the way for Canada at Sochi Games”

Paul Waldie, Sean Gordon and Les Perreaux’s article in The Globe and Mail reporting on the strong showing of Québec athletes at Sochi. It turns out that a culture of sports achievement and extensive government funding works.

When a reporter from Britain pointed out that were Quebec a country, it would be second in the medal count, [Alexandre] Bilodeau swerved around the sovereignty debate. “We’re both proud to be Quebeckers,” he said pointing to silver medalist and fellow Quebec native Mikaël Kingsbury. “But we’re very proud to be Canadians … yes, we do a lot of good things in Quebec
The medals won by Mr. Kingsbury and Mr. Bilodeau were the sixth and seventh Canada has captured at the Sochi Games. As of Tuesday morning, six of Canada’s nine medals have been captured by Quebec athletes, including three golds.

Short-track speed skater Charles Hamelin, who also won gold on Monday, was the only Canadian double-gold medalist at the 2010 Olympics; overall, Quebec-based competitors won eight of the 15 individual medals awarded to Canadians in Vancouver.

In Sochi, Quebec-based athletes have posted the top Canadian result in all but five of the 18 competitions held so far in which Canadian athletes are represented.

The obvious question is: Why? Poet and singer Gilles Vigneault surely provided part of the answer with his iconic Quebecois hymn Mon pays c’est l’hiver, but that’s not an especially comprehensive explanation. There are many facets to the answer, from Quebec’s geography, to bigger and better funding for Quebec athletes that has led to nearly 40 per cent of Canada’s Sochi delegation hailing from the province.

But there are more ephemeral elements, too – the small gesture of a sporting idol autographing a ski jacket, and years later, an athlete stepping onto an Olympic podium. That’s precisely what happened this week in Sochi when 41-year-old former Olympic champion moguls skier Jean-Luc Brassard (the signer) was on hand to watch 19-year-old Justine Dufour-Lapointe (the signee) win the women’s moguls event.

You can draw a straight line between what Brassard did in Lillehammer 20 years ago and an event involving an athlete who wasn’t even around to see it, the story of the success of Quebec athletes at this Games is at least partly one of athletes building dreams for subsequent generations.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 11, 2014 at 9:01 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “An Introduction to Toronto’s Olympians”

Torontoist’s David Hains has a nice post profiling high-profile Canadian Olympic athletes from Toronto at Sochi.

Russia’s legislative and cultural oppression of gays and lesbians has drawn worldwide condemnation and cast a shadow over the Sochi Olympics. There are difficult, and some say impossible, lines to be drawn: between supporting Russia and the Olympics, between supporting the Games and individual athletes—some of whom, of course, are lesbian or gay, and many of whom have been vocal queer allies.

There was no widespread move to boycott the Games, and so a number of athletes from our own backyard, who have trained for years for a chance to complete, are now in Sochi. Here are eight Toronto Olympians to follow and root for, even if you’re not rooting for the country that’s hosting them:

Patrick Chan: This is the Olympian that your grandmother loves, and that is because your grandma has excellent judgement. Chan is a strong medal contender in figure skating, having won the past three world championships. Chan was born in Ottawa but moved to Toronto at an early age. In case you need another reason why this 23-year-old is better than you: he also speaks French and Cantonese fluently. He graduated from North York’s École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé. You can follow him on Twitter @PChiddy.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 11, 2014 at 8:47 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • 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.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

  • io9′s link to the eye-catching pictures of spaceships pictured on British science fiction paperback novels remains appreciated.
  • The Globe and Mail notes the growing Iranian community in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill.
  • BusinessWeek observes that video chain Blockbuster, defunct in most of North America, is doing fine in Mexico and on the Mexican border.
  • Bloomberg notes that Japan outside of Tokyo is hoping to attract foreign investors to property outside the Japanese capital.
  • Der Spiegel points to a new study suggesting that Bavaria’s famed mad King Ludwig II wasn’t clinically insane at all, and notes evidence of truly massive campaigns of state-sponsored torture and massacre in Syria.
  • An older link from the New Zealand Herald: is the large emigration from New Zealand to Australia, driven by the search for a higher standard of living, about to run down?
  • The Village Voice critiques the urban myth that sex traficking peaks at the time of major sporting events like the Superbowl.
  • National Geographic tracks down the magazine photo that inspired Lorde’s hit song “Royals” and observes the ways in which Mexicans of indigenous background immigrate to the United States.
  • Jezebel takes a long, hard look at gay male sexism directed towards women.
  • Rolling Stone‘s extended article arguing that Miami is set to drown as sea levels rise is a gripping read.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling is not convinced by arguments about radical electronic music.
  • BlogTO maps the lost streets and streetnames of Toronto, disappeared in the course of street consolidation and building construction.
  • James Bow doesn’t like this winter.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas has a couple of interesting posts about here and here.
  • Joe. My. God. celebrates Michael Sam, a NFL draftee who has come out.
  • Marginal Revolution comments on the Swiss referendum victory that will be placing limits on labour migrants from the European Union, Gideon Rachman arguing at the Financial Times that the European Union shouldn’t overreact to the unilateral Swiss redefinition of the relationship.
  • Peter Rukavina notes a historic ad in the Prince Edward Island press for a New York City hotel, the Hotel Martinique–rooms for two dollars a night!
  • Towleroad notes that the star of a Disney TV show featuring a same-sex couple, a girl 5 years old, has received death threats.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the arguments of others, one arguing that the absorption of Ukraine into Russia would destabilize that country, another suggesting that Kazakhstan

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • 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.

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