A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for November 2017

[PHOTO] Looking out, Sheldon Lookout

This photo was taken looking directly away from the massive stretch of high-rise condos, part of the wave of development that is transforming North Mimico from a low-rise district southwest of High Park to a thriving district in its own right. City planners have done well to preserve this strip of the wild.

Looking out #toronto #sheldonlookout #lakeontario #fall #autumn #trees #northmimico #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

November 30, 2017 at 12:21 pm

[NEWS] Five links: Brexit, left-wing denialism, Menshevik Georgia, immigrants in cities, Voyager

  • Prospect Magazine shares Ivan Rogers’ inside perspective on how David Cameron’s misunderstanding of the political priorities in the wider EU was (mostly) responsible for the ill-judged decision to hold a referendum on Brexit.
  • Haaretz shares Oz Katerji’s devastating criticism of many left-wing intellectuals for turning a blind eye to genocides they find politically inconvenient. (Noam Chomsky, stand up please.)
  • Eric Lee suggests that the moderate Menshevik government that ruled Georgia for a few brief years offers insight into a more humanistic way that the Russian Revolution could have taken, over at Open Democracy.
  • Irena Guidikova suggests that initiatives taken at the level of the cities are most important for the integration of immigrants, that helping them build networks and acquire social capital must be central to any project, over at Open Democracy.
  • Matt Novak at Gizmodo’s Paleofuture notes that, after substantial work, copies of the Voyager Golden Record are finally available for purchase.

[NEWS] Four LGBTQ links: Canada’s apology, LGBT history, Call Me by Your Name

  • Global News is among the many sources noting that the Canadian federal government is settling a lawsuit lodged over homophobic purges of LGBTQ people from government with a formal apology (already delivered) and $C 100 million in compensation.
  • At Chatelaine, Rachel Giese writes–from the perspective of the wider LGBTQ community, and from her own perspective–about how the apology represents progress, but how it also comes after a long torturous history of struggle that must not be forgotten.
  • Michael Lyons writes at Daily Xtra about his experience as a writer examining queer history, noting how so much of it has to be recovered and reconstructed to be shared with new generations.
  • Naveen Kumar celebrates the new film “Call Me by Your Name”, for its celebration of young same-sex love as something positive and normal, without any necessary tragedy, over at VICE.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 29, 2017 at 9:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five links on GTA infrastructure: Rail Deck Park, King Street, bike lanes, mass transit

  • At Torontoist, Jake Tobin Garrett suggests how condo construction can be made to pay for a Rail Deck Park.
  • Christopher Hume notes how the King Street transit pilot represents a huge shift in thinking in Toronto, over at the Toronto Star.
  • At NOW Toronto, Hamish Wilson suggests that the bike lanes on Bloor are but a fragment of the network that could have been built city-wide.
  • Rob Ferguson notes plans at the level of the Ontario provincial government to do better planning for GTA transit, over at the Toronto Star.
  • Should, as the Toronto Region Board of Trade suggests, the province take over GTA transit? Certainly the province is capable of greater scope than any one city can provide, but is it responsive enough? The Toronto Star reports.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross examines the connections between bitcoin production and the alt-right. Could cryptocurrency have seriously bad political linkages?
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes GW170680, a recent gravitational wave detection that is both immense in its effect and surprising for its detection being normal.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on a new study suggesting hot Jupiters are so large because they are heated by their local star.
  • Crooked Timber counsels against an easy condemnation of baby boomers as uniquely politically malign.
  • Daily JSTOR notes one paper that takes a look at how the surprisingly late introduction of the bed, as a piece of household technology, changed the way we sleep.
  • Dangerous Minds shares a 1968 newspaper interview with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, talking about Charlie Manson and his family and their influence on him.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog takes a look at the opioid epidemic and the way that it is perceived.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Alex Harrowell suggests that the unsolvable complexities of Northern Ireland may be enough to avoid a hard Brexit after all.
  • The LRB Blog describes a visit to a seaside village in Costa Rica where locals and visitors try to save sea turtles.
  • Lingua Franca reflects on the beauty of the Icelandic language.
  • The Map Room Blog shares an awesome map depicting the locations of the stars around which we have detected exoplanets.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the ill health of North Korean defectors, infected with parasites now unseen in South Korea.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the revival of fonio, a West African grain that is now starting to see successful marketing in Senegal.
  • Spacing reviews a fascinating book examining the functioning of urban villages embedded in the metropoli of south China.
  • Strange Company reports on the mysterious 1920 murder of famous bridge player Joseph Bowne Elwell.
  • Towleroad reports on Larnelle Foster, a gay black man who was a close friend of Meghan Markle in their college years.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, although Ukraine suffered the largest number of premature dead in the Stalinist famines of the 1930s, Kazakhstan suffered the greatest proportion of dead.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell has a photo essay looking at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, still years away from completion and beset by many complex failures of its advanced systems. What does the failure of this complex system say about others we may wish to build?

[PHOTO] Kabechenong, at Sheldon Lookout by the Humber

Kabechenong #toronto #humberriver #kabechenong #mississauga #plaque #english #french #fran├žais #anishinaabe #latergram

This trilingual plaque, bearing the same text first in the Anishinaabe language of the Mississaugas who once lived here, then in English, and finally in French, is located at Sheldon Lookout on the southernmost tip of the western shore of the Humber River. (Kabechenong, the Anishinaabe name for the river, still has its old name.) Just metres away from this plaque, the Humber flows ceaselessly into Lake Ontario. On account of the river’s historical importance as a trade route for portagers, the Humber was inducted into the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in 1999, hence the plaque.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm

[NEWS] Five notes about migration: United Kingdom, Vietnam, Canada, North Korea, Atlantic Canada

  • This examination by Bendetta Rossi of the ways in which immigration, in the context of the United Kingdom, has to remain an option even in the Brexit era is compelling. Open Democracy has more here.
  • This Nicolas Lainez study suggesting that Vietnamese migrants in the United Kingdom rescued from exploitative conditions might be made the worse off by the rescue, plunging them and their backers into debt, is distressing. How should they be helped? More here at Open Democracy.
  • Nicholas Keung describes how Canadian meat packers want their foreign labour forces to enjoy permanent resident status, so that they can have access to stable and reliable populations of workers. The Toronto Star has it.
  • Mary Ormsby describes how North Korean migrants in Toronto are facing the risk of deportation, to South Korea. More here, at the Toronto Star.
  • The Canadian federal government and Atlantic Canadian provincial governments have introduced a new program to try to direct more immigrants to the east coast. The Toronto Star has the article.

[NEWS] Five links about technology and culture: Android, Firefox Quantum, dark web, music, brain

  • This Techcrunch report noting the collection of location data by Android, even if location services are disabled, is alarming. (I’m mostly joking when I say I want the drones to be able to find me.) More here.
  • This Wired report on Firefox Quantum makes this browser sound interesting, here.
  • News of a dark web version of Wikipedia is good for those who are concerned about Internet freedoms. More here.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation sounds very much like one of those experiences I would like to experience first-hand. More here.
  • The destructive impact of streaming not just on the income of musicians, but on their creative projects–often transcending single songs–is something raised in this Noisey article, here.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 26, 2017 at 8:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Crooked Timber takes a quick look at the role of the shadow in art, here.
  • Daily JSTOR notes that, in the 18th century, the punch favoured by partiers was often put up against the tea favoured by the more civilized.
  • Language Hat notes that the British Library has preserved the only surviving copy of Il Kaulata Maltia, the first Maltese-language journal.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a new study examining if easier divorce leads to assortative mating.
  • Justin Petrone at north! celebrates his life in November in Estonia.
  • Rocky Planet notes that Indonesia’s Mount Agung is experiencing volcanic eruptions of lava.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Putin’s Russia is trying to get Ukraine to take over Donbas on disadvantageous terms.

[NEWS] Four miscellanea: Amazon Cyber Monday, American education, Texan bridges, climate reporting

  • Amazon shipping centres in the Greater Toronto Area are preparing themselves for Cyber Monday tomorrow. The Toronto Star reports.
  • The disdain for higher education reported by the National Post in many parts of the United States is positively alarming. Where will American human capital come from without this? More here.
  • Two private owners of bridges on the US-Mexican border fear the consequence of NAFTA failing on their business. The Toronto Star reports here.
  • Mike De Souza reports on the fact that he, writing for the National Observer, was the only Canadian journalist covering the recent Bonn climate change summit. His article is here.