A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for February 2018

[NEWS] Five links about space travel: cheap rockets, robots, and war

  • Small, inexpensive rockets like the sort we are now starting to see could have a transformative effect on space travel and the global economy. Bloomberg View reports.
  • The roboticization of space would leave less to do for astronauts, but potentially more fun stuff. Bloomberg View reports.
  • Gizmodo notes that the American military wants more money for a potential armed conflict in space, as does VICE.
  • Universe Today notes that, likewise, Russia and China are developing space-based military capabilities.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 28, 2018 at 9:30 pm

[ISL] Five notes on islands: Iceland, Puerto Rico, Prince Edward Island, Amherst Island, Ireland

  • Artsy notes a study looking at the different factors explaining why Iceland’s population is so creative. Among other things, an educational system that encourages hands-on learning and experimentation and a relative lack of material insecurity help.
  • Reddit’s mapporn forum shares a map showing where displaced Puerto Ricans are resettling. Florida is emerging as a particularly important destination.
  • Charlottetown’s The Guardian reports on a recent presentation suggesting that, with sea level rise, Prince Edward Island could be divided into three islands. I wonder where the dividing points will be.
  • Wind turbine construction on Amherst Island, near Kingston, has been delayed by weather and problems with roads. Global News reports.
  • Ireland is now making a push to attract television stations from the United Kingdom post-Brexit, with the legal position of television networks with EU-wide audiences being uncertain after Brexit. The Guardian reports.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: architecture, cryptocurrency condos, crime, police

  • Toronto Storeys shares the opinions of six architects as to their favourite buildings in the city.
  • Why is one condo owner in Toronto only accepting bitcoin payments from potential purchasers? Among other things, it makes things relatively easier for foreign buyers. CBC reports.
  • Marcel Theriault, one of the policeman accused of brutally beating Dafonte Miller, is also accused of misleading Durham Region police investigators. The Toronto Star reports.
  • University of Toronto doctoral student Sasha Reid identified the pattern of a serial killer at work in Toronto’s LGBTQ community, and told police. Their response? They thanked her and moved on. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Edward Keenan wonders why Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders possibly thought he could say what he said about the community not helping, especially when the community has been warning about a serial killer while police denied anything. The Toronto Star has the article.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes that a recent massive flare at Proxima Centauri, one that made the star become a thousand times brighter, not only makes Proxima b unlikely to be habitable but makes it unlikely Proxima has (as some suggested) a big planetary system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that South Korea, contrary to earlier reports, is not going to ban cryptocurrency.
  • Hornet Stories notes that six American states–Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, and Oklahoma–have seen the introduction of legislation replacing marriage with a marriage contract, on account of marriage equality.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on the deep similarities and differences between serfdom in Russia and slavery in the United States, both formally abolished in the 1860s.
  • Language Hat links to a Telegraph article reporting on the efforts of different people to translate different ancient languages.
  • The New APPS Blog notes that, after Delta dropped its discount for NRA members, the pro-NRA governor of Georgia dropped tax breaks for the airline.
  • This call for the world to respond to the horrors in Syria, shared at the NYR Daily, is likely to fall on deaf ears.
  • At Strange Maps, Frank Jacobs shares some maps showing areas where the United States is truly exceptional.
  • Supernova Condensate notes how nested planetary orbits can be used to trace beautiful spirograph patterns.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how no one in the Soviet Union in 1991 was prepared to do anything to save the Soviet Union.

[PHOTO] Looking west across Turtle Pond, Central Park

Looking west across Turtle Pond #newyorkcity #newyork #manhattan #centralpark #turtlepond #skyline #theberesford #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

February 28, 2018 at 11:30 am

[PHOTO] Five photos from the GW General Store, Distillery District (#gwgeneral)

The GW General Store, on Tankhouse Lane in the east of the Distillery District, is a fun antique store with a broad collection of eye-catching items, from old books and dolls to vintage typewriters and violins. The store’s Instagram account is here.

Plate of blue prisms @ $C 10 #toronto #distillerydistrict #gwgeneral #blue #prism #latergram

Assorted dolls #toronto #distillerydistrict #gwgeneral #dolls #latergram

Cute little chickadee @ $C 15 #toronto #distillerydistrict #gwgeneral #birds #chickadee #statue #latergram

Heads #toronto #distillerydistrict #gwgeneral #heads #mannequin #latergram

Violin and typewriter #toronto #distillerydistrict #gwgeneral #violin #typewriter #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

February 28, 2018 at 10:15 am

[NEWS] Five language links: Inuktitut, Icelandic, Ladino, Spanish, isiXhosa

  • I entirely agree with the argument of Aluki Kotierk, writing at MacLean’s, who thinks the Inuit of Nunavut have been entirely too passive, too nice, in letting Inuktitut get marginalized. Making it a central feature in education is the least that can be done. (Qu├ębec-style language policies work.)
  • Although ostensibly a thriving language in many domains of life, the marginalization of the Icelandic language in the online world could be an existential threat. The Guardian reports.
  • As part of a bid to keep alive Ladino, traditional language of the Sephardic Jews, Spain has extended to the language official status including support and funding. Ha’aretz reports.
  • A new set of policies of Spain aiming at promoting the Spanish language have been criticized by some in Hispanic American states, who call the Spanish moves excessively unilateral. El Pais reports.
  • isiXhosa, the language of the Xhosa people of South Africa, is getting huge international attention thanks to its inclusion in Black Panther. The Toronto Star reports.