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[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes that you can now LARP at Casa Loma.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the odd reddish marks on the surface of Saturn’s moon Tethys.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with David Frum’s misrepresentation of an article on Mediterranean migration.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of the aurora of a nearby brown dwarf.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes evidence of carbonation on the Martian surface and suggests the presence of anomalous amounts of mercury on Earth associated with mass extinctions.
  • Geocurrents maps the terrifying strength of California’s drought.
  • Language Hat notes that Cockney is disappearing from London.
  • Language Log notes coded word usage on the Chinese Internet.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper examining the effects of hunting male lions.
  • The Map Room links to new maps of Ceres and Pluto.
  • The Planetary Society Blog examines the Dawn probe’s mapping orbits of Ceres.
  • Progressive Download traces the migration of the aloe plants over time from Arabia.
  • Savage Minds notes how hacktivists are being treated as terrorists.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how the Ukrainian war is leading to the spread of heavy weapons in Russia, looks at Russian opposition to a Crimean Tatar conference in Turkey, suggests that the West is letting Ukraine fight a limited war in Donbas, and looks at the falling Russian birthrate.

[PHOTO] Bilbo, at rest

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Bilbo, at rest #dogs #toronto #foresthill

For the next week or thereabouts, I will be dofsitting for friends in Forest Hill.

(Bilbo is a good, good dog.)

Written by Randy McDonald

July 31, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , , ,

[PHOTO] Rosedale through the window

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Rosedale through the window #toronto #ttc #subway #rosedale

Written by Randy McDonald

July 30, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , , , ,

[URBAN NOTE] “Anger grows at NY archdiocese for closing dozens of churches”

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Debora Fougere writes for Al Jazeera America in describing the conflict in New York City in the Roman Catholic Church, as parishoners–often of immigrant background and belonging to tight-knit communities–are trying to keep their parishes intact.

On a warm and sultry summer night, a couple dozen worshippers gathered recently at the Church of the Nativity in New York City’s East Village for a mass celebrating the life of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement dedicated to helping the poor.

The church, housed in a simple, cinder block and brick building, has none of the usual gleaming gold and majesty one would often expect from a Catholic house of worship.

But the celebration was bittersweet. On Aug. 1, Nativity will be “merged” with another parish, Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, effectively shutting it down for good, leaving the immigrants, working families, young professionals, poor and homeless who pray there without their spiritual home.

Mildred Guy has lived in the neighborhood for 45 years, and worshipped at Nativity for 35. Her son was an altar server there, and graduated from the now closed Nativity Mission School. She lost her home in March when a deadly gas explosion levelled four East Village buildings, and now she’s losing her church. “It’s not the prettiest church. But it’s very comforting, it’s very homely”, she said. “When you come here you feel like you’re in a second home, at least for me. So to lose this church, it’s a big hurt.”

The church has built a reputation for embracing everyone. Claudia Marte, one of the parishioners fighting to keep the parish open, said the neighborhood needs Nativity. “We have a very diverse community,” she said. “We have a lot of homeless in the community, and we get together after mass sometimes and we invite them to join us. Some of them actually sleep in front of the church and we have become friends with some of them and we ask them to join us. They’re part of our community.”

Nor is Nativity alone. A reorganization plan dubbed “Making All Things New” is being rolled out that will merge 112 parishes in the Archdiocese of New York, the second largest in the country, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island in New York City, as well as seven upstate counties. Around 55 of those churches will effectively close.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:24 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Olivia Chow launches federal run for NDP in Spadina-Fort York”

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The Toronto Star‘s David Rider and Jennifer Pagliaro report on Chow’s return to federal politics.

“I have worked so hard for 30 years, for children, for a nation child-care program,” Chow told reporters Tuesday in a downtown condo filled for the occasion with parents and kids. “We’re at a historic moment. We’re at the edge of forming a (NDP) government that can finally delivery affordable child care to a million kids across Canada.”

Chow confirmed she will seek the NDP nomination in the new downtown riding of Spadina-Fort York that spans most of the south end of downtown, including a growing cluster of condos.

The former NDP transportation critic said, if voters elect her to the House of Commons, she will also fight for a national transit strategy, affordable housing and against the “reckless, dangerous and ineffective spy bill” C-51 passed by the Stephen Harper Conservative government with votes from Liberals –– including her federal opponent, MP Adam Vaughan.

But she returned again and again to Canada’s child-care “crisis” to explain why she is attempting a political comeback after she resigned her Trinity-Spadina seat last year to run for mayor of Toronto, a decision that triggered a $1-million federal byelection. Just five months ago, Chow accepted a three-year visiting professorship at Ryerson University, which has now granted her a leave to run in the Oct. 19 election.

“I have seen the desperation in the eyes of a lot of parents waiting for child care,” Chow said, with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair at her side and children playing at her feet. “I refuse to stand on the sideline while we can deliver change.”

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:22 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that ferry tickets for the Toronto Islands can now be bought online.
  • Discover‘s Crux considers SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering habitable exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars, defends the potential existence of exoplanets at Kapteyn’s Star, and looks at the Epsilon Eridani system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that a second Scottish referendum on independence is possible, according to Alex Salmond.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Mormons are unhappy with the Scouts’ gay-friendly shift.
  • Language Hat considers the history of family name usage in Russia.
  • Languages of the World examines in two posts the argument that primitive peoples have simple languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the strategies of Spanish populist group Podemos.
  • Peter Watts considers the peculiar thing of people lacking large chunks of the brain who nonetheless seem normal.
  • Diane Duane, at Out of Ambit, is quite unhappy with an impending forced upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes how labour-saving technologies improved the lives of women.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers proposals to explore small solar system bodies.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers what would happen if Bernie Sanders won the nomination of the Democratic Party.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to statistics on the population of Abu Dhabi.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the depopulation of South Ossetia and looks at the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostility to Ukraine’s Uniate Catholics.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes that although Labour apparently did a good job of convincing potential voters it was right, it did a worse job of getting them to vote.

[PHOTO] Video game machines at the Galleria Mall, Toronto

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Video games at the Galleria #toronto #galleriamall #videogame #arcade #videogamemachine

The vintage Neo Geo game machines of the Galleria are to die for.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 3:18 pm

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