A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for August 2017

[URBAN NOTE] Four blog links about Toronto: Metrolinx, Christie Pits riots, Scarborough, parkettes

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  • Steve Munro evaluates the next plans for Metrolinx for regional transit.
  • Evan Balgord at Torontoist looks back at the anti-Nazi Christie Pits riots of 1933.
  • Cheryl Thompson at Spacing looks at the extent to which gun violence in Scarborough is a symptom of deepening poverty.
  • Nikhil Sharma at Torontoist notes that private parkettes are an imperfect substitute for public parks.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Antipope Charlie Stross takes a look at the parlous state of the world, and imagines what if the US and UK went differently.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at Sirius, including white dwarf Sirius B.
  • Centauri Dreams considers Cassini’s final function, as a probe of Saturn’s atmosphere.
  • D-Brief notes the discovery that diamonds rain deep in Neptune (and Uranus).
  • Bruce Dorminey reports on a NASA scientist’s argument that we need new interstellar probes, not unlike Voyager 1.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the way a course syllabus is like a Van Halen contract rider.
  • Language Hat takes a look at the palimpsests of St. Catherine’s Monastery, deep in the Sinai.
  • Language Log looks at the etymology, and the history, of chow mein.
  • The LRB Blog recounts a visit to Mount Rushmore in the era of Trump.
  • Marginal Revolution takes a look at the question of why Mexico isn’t enjoying higher rates of economic growth.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw considers the extent to which politics these days is just sound and fury, meaning nothing.
  • Mark Simpson links to an essay of his explaining why we should be glad the Smiths broke up in 1987.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle considers the import, to him and the environment, of a spring near his cottage.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel looks at the abundance of black holes in our galaxy, more than one hundred million.
  • Unicorn Booty notes that smoking marijuana might–might–have sexual benefits.
  • Window on Eurasia shares an argument that ethnic Russians in Russia share issue in common with whites in America, and reports on an argument made by one man that ethnic Russians in republics need not learn local languages.

[PHOTO] Main room, Confederation Centre Public Library, Charlottetown

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Main room, Confederation Centre Public Library #pei #princeedwardisland #charlottetown #library #ccpl #confederationcentreofthearts #confederationcentrepubliclibrary

The Confederation Centre Public Library, centrepiece of the Prince Edward Island public library system, is housed in one of the Confederation Centre of the Arts’ brutalist buildings. The library is shaped by this vast central chamber.

[PHOTO] Three photos from the Lillian H. Smith Library, Toronto

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Toronto’s Lillian H. Smith Library, located on 239 College Street just east of Spadina Avenue is one of my favourite libraries. Housed in a handsome building faced with yellow brick, the Lillian H. Smith branch–named after a pioneering early 20th century children’s librarian–stands out as the home to two special collections, the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy on the third floor and the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books on the fourth.

Today, when I was looking down from the fourth floor, it struck me that the interior of the Lillian H. Smith Library is quite similar to that of the Toronto Reference Library, the different floors wrapped around an atrium stretching almost to the ceiling. Both are all heights, but the Lillian H. Smith features a classy pairing of polished concrete with wood and warm carpets. My compliments to the architect, clearly!

Four floors down

Three by three

Downwards curve

Written by Randy McDonald

August 23, 2017 at 7:00 am

[PHOTO] Fourteen photos of the interior of Beaconsfield Historic House, Charlottetown

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One important thing to remember about Beaconsfield Historic House, since 1979 on the official register of Canada’s Historic Places, is that when it was built in the 1870s it was a stellar achievement. The Peakes, a dynasty of shipuilders, had grown wealthy on a Prince Edward Island that had reached the apex of its 19th century prosperity. When the Island came to share in the post-Confederation slump of young Canada, part of the long depression, the Peakes lost everything. In a real sense, the expensively fitted-out Beaconsfield can be compared to the expensive mansions of those pre-Crash businesspeople who lost everything after 2008.

Wallpaper

Tiles

Parlour

Stairs

Chandelier

Kitchen

Kitchen (2)

Bedroom (1)

Bedroom (2)

Nursery

For the children

Bedroom (3)

Stained glass

View from the porch

Written by Randy McDonald

August 22, 2017 at 7:45 pm

[PHOTO] Field of dreams, Christie Pit

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Field of dreams #toronto #christiepit #seatonvillage #night #lights #baseball

I love the glow of the powerful lights illuminating Christie Pit’s baseball field for night games.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 22, 2017 at 7:30 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Anthrodendum’s Alex Golub talks about anthropologists of the 20th century who resisted fascism.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes a study suggesting the TRAPPIST-1 system might be substantially older than our own solar system.
  • Centauri Dreams considers tidal locking as a factor relevant to Earth-like planetary environments.
  • The Crux shows efforts to help the piping plover in its home on the dunes of the Great Lakes coast of Pennsylvania.
  • Dead Things considers the evidence for the presence of modern humans in Sumatra 73 thousand years ago.
  • Bruce Dorminey makes the case for placing a lunar base not on the poles, but rather in the material-rich nearside highlands.
  • Far Outliers shares some evocative placenames from Japan, like Togakushi (‘door-hiding’) from ninja training spaces.
  • Language Hat notes the exceptionally stylistically uneven Spanish translation of the Harry Potter series.
  • Language Log thinks, among other things, modern technologies make language learning easier than ever before.
  • The LRB Blog notes how claims to trace modern Greece directly to the Mycenaean era are used to justify ultranationalism.
  • Marginal Revolution considers which countries are surrounded by enemies. (India rates poorly by this metric.)
  • The Numerati’s Stephen Baker considers how Confederate statues are products of recycling, like so much in our lives.
  • The NYR Daily considers the unique importance of Thomas Jefferson, a man at once statesman and slaver.
  • The Planetary Society Blog celebrated the 40th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 2 Sunday.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that, for a country fighting a drug war, Mexico spends astonishingly little on its police force.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at classic John Wayne Western, The Train Robbers.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers the critical role of NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer.
  • Strange Company notes the many legends surrounding the early 19th century US’ Theodosia Burr.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy hosts Ilya Somin’ argument against world government, as something limiting of freedom. Thoughts?
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Ukrainians are turning from Russia, becoming more foreign to their one-time partner.