A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[NEWS] Five science links: Homo sapiens and Neanderthal art, squirrel smarts, tree talk, SN 2016gkg

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  • The suggestion that there is a relationship between the acoustics of particular caves and the art that early humans painted on those cave walls is fascinating. National Geographic reports.
  • The Neanderthals, archeologists working in Spain have determined, created art. The idea of a significant gap between their cognition and ours seems less and less likely. CBC reports.
  • It turns out that the grey squirrels of North America may be smarter than the red squirrels of Great Britain. This may explain much about the greys’ success in the reds’ homeland. National Geographic reports.
  • The idea of there being secret, easily overlooked, yet powerful communications networks connecting trees fascinates me. Vaster than empires and more slow, indeed. Quartz reports.
  • Back in 2016, through sheer luck and an excellent amateur model, Argentine amateur astronomer Victor Buso happened to catch supernova SN 2016gkg in NGC 613 from the very start of the visible explosion. Popular Science reports.
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[ISL] Five notes about islands: Greenland, South China Sea, Bangladesh, Caribbean, Puerto Rico

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  • The slow melt of the Greenland icecap will eventually release a Cold War American military base into the open air. VICE reports.
  • Robert Farley suggests at The National Interest that China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea would not be of much use in an actual conflict.
  • Reuters notes that a mud island in the Bay of Bengal lucky not to be overwhelmed by high tides is being expanded into a compound to hold Rohingya refugees.
  • A new study suggests that there was some genetic continuing between pre- and post-Columbian populations in the Caribbean, that as family and local histories suggest at least some Taino did survive the catastrophes of colonialism. National Geographic reports.
  • This account from NACLA of Puerto Rico’s perennial problems with the American mainland and the history of migration, culminating in an ongoing disastrous mass emigration after Maria, is pro-independence. Might this viewpoint become more common among Puerto Ricans?

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Don River park, safety, Soroush Mahmudi, TTC and King Street

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  • blogTO notes impressive plans for a grand new park at the mouth of the Don River, by Lake Ontario.
  • Toronto, happily for its residents, happens to be the fourth-safest major city in the world by one ranking. CTV reports
  • This account of the life Soroush Mahmudi, one of the victims of the Church-Wellesley serial killer, as told by his wife is heartbreaking. The Toronto Star has it.
  • This Katie Daubs account at the Toronto Star of Al Falcone, the King Street restaurateur who is leading protest against the transit project on that corridor, is entertaining reading, at least.
  • Edward Keenan makes the suggestion that the street hockey players protesting King Street’s transit are missing the point. With the street freed up, what other non-traffic uses could it serve? The Toronto Star has it.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net notes new findings suggesting that the creation of cave art by early humans is product of the same skills that let early humans use language.
  • Davide Marchetti at Architectuul looks at some overlooked and neglected buildings in and around Rome.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait explains how Sirius was able to hide the brilliant Gaia 1 star cluster behind it.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at new procedures for streamlining the verification of new exoplanet detections.
  • Crooked Timber notes the remarkably successful and once-controversial eroticization of plant reproduction in the poems of Erasmus Darwin.
  • Dangerous Minds notes how an errant Confederate flag on a single nearly derailed the career of Otis Redding.
  • Detecting biosignatures from exoplanets, Bruce Dorminey notes, may require “fleets” of sensitive space-based telescopes.
  • Far Outliers looks at persecution of non-Shi’ite Muslims in Safavid Iran.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the history of the enslavement of Native Americans in early colonial America, something often overlooked by later generations.
  • This video shared by Language Log, featuring two Amazon Echos repeating texts to each other and showing how these iterations change over time, is oddly fascinating.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis is quite clear about the good sense of Will Wilkinson’s point that controversy over “illegal” immigration is actually deeply connected to an exclusivist racism that imagines Hispanics to not be Americans.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, looks at the uses of the word “redemption”, particularly in the context of the Olympics.
  • The LRB Blog suggests Russiagate is becoming a matter of hysteria. I’m unconvinced, frankly.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing global sea level rise over the past decades.
  • Marginal Revolution makes a case for Americans to learn foreign languages on principle. As a Canadian who recently visited a decidedly Hispanic New York, I would add that Spanish, at least, is one language quite potentially useful to Americans in their own country.
  • Drew Rowsome writes about the striking photographs of Olivier Valsecchi.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in the 2030s, gravitational wave observatories will be so sensitive that they will be able to detect black holes about to collide years in advance.
  • Towleroad lists festival highlights for New Orleans all over the year.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how recent changes to the Russian education system harming minority languages have inspired some Muslim populations to link their language to their religion.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell makes the case that Jeremy Corbyn, through his strength in the British House of Commons, is really the only potential Remainder who is in a position of power.

[PHOTO] Four photos of Belvedere Castle, NYC, one old and three new

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In my 2012 visit to New York City, I did pass by the Victorian folly of Belvedere Castle in the middle of Central Park. I did not go inside.

Central Park in the evening (11)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

This time, with Jonathan and Alexander, I did.

Belvedere Castle (1) #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #centralpark #belvederecastle #winter #latergram

Belvedere Castle (2) #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #centralpark #belvederecastle #winter #latergram

Belvedere Castle (3) #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #centralpark #belvederecastle #winter #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

February 24, 2018 at 12:30 pm

[PHOTO] The Old Swimming Hole, John Kuna, 2009

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Artist John Kuna‘s 2009 mural “The Old Swimming Hole”, located at 5126 Dundas Street West remembers an old mill pond on Mimico Creek once used by locals as a swimming hole. Back in the early 20th century, so much of Etobicoke was fundamentally rural. Toronto Plaques reproduces an image of the plaque in better days.

The Old Swimming Hole, John Kuna (1) #toronto #etobicoke #islingtoncitycentrewest #mural #dundasstreetwest #johnkuna #latergram

The Old Swimming Hole, John Kuna (2) #toronto #etobicoke #islingtoncitycentrewest #mural #dundasstreetwest #johnkuna #latergram

The Old Swimming Hole, John Kuna (3) #toronto #etobicoke #islingtoncitycentrewest #mural #dundasstreetwest #johnkuna #plaque #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

February 24, 2018 at 11:00 am

[CAT] Shakespeare, caught in a moment

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Shakespeare, caught in a moment #toronto #dovercourtvillage #shakespeare #cats #caturday #catsofinstagram #catstagram

Written by Randy McDonald

February 24, 2018 at 9:45 am

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , ,