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Archive for the ‘Popular Culture’ Category

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • The Big Picture shares shocking photos of the Portuguese forest fires.
  • blogTO notes that, happily, Seaton Village’s Fiesta Farms is apparently not at risk of being turned into a condo development site.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a new starship discussion group in Delft. Shades of the British Interplanetary Society and the Daedalus?
  • D-Brief considers a new theory explaining why different birds’ eggs have different shapes.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas commits himself to a new regimen of blogging about technology and its imports. (There is a Patreon.)
  • Language Hat notes the current Turkish government’s interest in purging Turkish of Western loanwords.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair sums up the evidence for the diffusion of Indo-European languages, and their speakers, into India.
  • The LRB Blog notes the Theresa May government’s inability post-Grenfell to communicate with any sense of emotion.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen wonders if the alt-right more prominent in the Anglophone world because it is more prone to the appeal of the new.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw wonders if Brexit will result in a stronger European Union and a weaker United Kingdom.
  • Seriously Science reports a study suggesting that shiny new headphones are not better than less flashy brands.
  • Torontoist reports on the anti-Muslim hate groups set to march in Toronto Pride.
  • Understanding Society considers the subject of critical realism in sociological analyses.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia’s call to promote Cyrillic across the former Soviet Union has gone badly in Armenia, with its own script.

[MUSIC] Pet Shop Boys, “Single-Bilingual”

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The Pet Shop Boys’ 1996 song “Single-Bilingual” was not as big a hit as their iconic global singles of the 1980s. Perhaps it was because this song, like the rest of their album Bilingual, was a shift from their previous European-styled electronica, incorporating Latin rhythms. This is a shame, because this song and others are among the group’s slyest.

The songs of the Pet Shop Boys, like those of all great songwriters, can say many things. See “Single-Bilingual”. Listening to the peppy song, Neil Tennant singing in the voice of a self-styled cosmopolitan businessman who claims to be the master of his world, there is humour. As Wayne Studer points out, this man is not all he thinks he is. He’s just a cog in the machine.

They call this a community
I like to think of it as home
Arriving at the airport
I am going it alone
Ordering a boarding pass
Travelling in business class
This is the name of the game
I’m single, bilingual
Single, bilingual

I find myself wondering, too, if this song fits on the soundtrack for Brexit. From a pretended cosmopolitanism down to an actual solitude?

Written by Randy McDonald

June 22, 2017 at 11:59 pm

[NEWS] Five links about science, from libraries to smartphone sociology to spaceflight

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[URBAN NOTE] Three notes about Muslims, their haters and my neighbourhood and cats, in Toronto

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  • Daily Xtra‘s Arshy Mann and Evan Balgord report on how the Jewish Defense League plans on marching in Toronto Pride. Grand.
  • Spacing’s Shazlin Rahman reports on the Jane’s Walk she organized around sites of significance to Muslims around Bloor and Dufferin.
  • The Toronto Star‘s Nicholas Keung and Raju Mudhar reported earlier this month on the happy reunification of a Syrian couple with their cat.

[LINK] Three notes on refugees, from Toronto to Vietnam to Ethiopia

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  • Craig S. Smith notes the profound cynicism of Kellie Leitch in using one Syrian refugee’s abuse of his wife to criticize the entire program.
  • CBC’s Carolyn Dunn notes that the story of the Trinh family, boat people from Vietnam who came to Canada, will be made into a Heritage Minute.
  • James Jeffrey describes for the Inter Press Service how refugees from Eritrea generally receive warm welcome in rival Ethiopia.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith points to his blog post about the strengths of the chosen families of queer people, in life and in his fiction.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling revisits the politics behind France’s Minitel network, archaic yet pioneering.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly blogs about meeting her online friends in real life. Frankly, it would never occur to me not to do that.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at how Kepler’s exoplanets fall neatly into separate classes, super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.
  • The LRB Blog has a terrible report from Grenfell Tower, surrounded by betrayed survivors and apocalypse.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the inclusion of Canada’s First Nations communities on Google Maps.
  • The NYRB Daily’s Robert Cottrell explores the banalities revealed by Oliver Stone’s interviews of Putin.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Jason Davis considers the likely gains and challenges associated with missions to the ice giants of Uranus and Neptune.
  • Towleroad notes the new Alan Cumming film After Louie, dealing with a romance between an ACT-UP survivor and a younger man
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin does not find much good coming from Trump’s announced Cuba policy.
  • Window on Eurasia warns about the threat posed by Orthodox Christian fundamentalists in Russia.

[NEWS] Seven Toronto links, from queer and Irish history to new infrastructure to a serial killer

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  • Lisa Coxon of Toronto Life shares eleven photos tracking Toronto’s queer history back more than a century.
  • Michelle McQuigge reports for the Toronto Star that the Luminous Veil does save lives. I would add that it is also beautiful.
  • In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee thinks it makes perfect sense for there to be a dedicated streetcar corridor on King Street.
  • Ben Spurr describes a new plan for a new GO Transit bus station across from Union Station.
  • Emily Mathieu reported in the Toronto Star on how some Kensington Market tenants seem to have been pushed out for an Airbnb hostel.
  • In The Globe and Mail, Irish-born John Doyle explores the new Robert Grassett Park, built in honour of the doctor who died trying to save Irish refugees in 1847.
  • Justin Ling in VICE tells the story of three gay men who went missing without a trace in Toronto just a few years ago. What happened?