A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘alternate history

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Niagara Falls, Brantford, Regina, Tofino, Port Moody

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  • Why are the falls at Niagara Falls so famously compelling, even lethally seductive for some? Some human brains might be confused by the immensity. The National Post reports.
  • The extent of the flooding in Brantford, inland from Hamilton on the Grand River, is shocking. The Toronto Star reports.
  • The Saskatchewan capital city of Regina turns out to be the McDonald’s breakfast capital of Canada. Global News reports.
  • This essay in The Globe and Mail by Greg Blanchette looking at the rental housing crunch in the small Vancouver Island town of Tofino describes what’s frankly a terrifying situation.
  • If not for the fact that the CP Railway owned no property locally, the Vancouver suburb of Port Moody could well have become Canada’s biggest west coast metropolis. Global News reports.
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[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net notes that lidar scanning has revealed that the pre-Columbian city of Angamuco, in western Mexico, is much bigger than previously thought.
  • James Bow makes an excellent case for the revitalization of VIA Rail as a passenger service for longer-haul trips around Ontario.
  • D-Brief notes neurological evidence suggesting why people react so badly to perceived injustices.
  • The Dragon’s Tales takes a look at the list of countries embracing thorough roboticization.
  • Andrew LePage at Drew Ex Machina takes a look at the most powerful launch vehicles, both Soviet and American, to date.
  • Far Outliers considers Safavid Iran as an imperfect gunpowder empire.
  • Despite the explanation, I fail to see how LGBTQ people could benefit from a cryptocurrency all our own. What would be the point, especially in homophobic environments where spending it would involve outing ourselves? Hornet Stories shares the idea.
  • Imageo notes that sea ice off Alaska has actually begun contracting this winter, not started growing.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how the production and consumption of lace, and lace products, was highly politicized for the Victorians.
  • Language Hat makes a case for the importance of translation as a political act, bridging boundaries.
  • Language Log takes a look at the pronunciation and mispronunciation of city names, starting with PyeongChang.
  • This critical Erik Loomis obituary of Billy Graham, noting the preacher’s many faults, is what Graham deserves. From Lawyers, Guns and Money, here.
  • Bernard Porter at the LRB Blog is critical of the easy claims that Corbyn was a knowing agent of Communist Czechoslovakia.
  • The Map Room Blog shares this map from r/mapporn, imagining a United States organized into states as proportionally imbalanced in population as the provinces of Canada?
  • Marginal Revolution rightly fears a possible restart to the civil war in Congo.
  • Neuroskeptic reports on a controversial psychological study in Ghana that saw the investigation of “prayer camps”, where mentally ill are kept chain, as a form of treatment.
  • The NYR Daily makes the case that the Congolese should be allowed to enjoy some measure of peace from foreign interference, whether from the West or from African neighbous (Rwanda, particularly).
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla looks at the many things that can go wrong with sample return missions.
  • Rocky Planet notes that the eruption of Indonesian volcano Sinabung can be easily seen from space.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes how the New Horizons Pluto photos show a world marked by its subsurface oceans.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, although fertility rates among non-Russians have generally fallen to the level of Russians, demographic momentum and Russian emigration drive continue demographic shifts.
  • Livio Di Matteo at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative charts the balance of federal versus provincial government expenditure in Canada, finding a notable shift towards the provinces in recent decades.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell makes the case, through the example of the fire standards that led to Grenfell Tower, that John Major was more radical than Margaret Thatcher in allowing core functions of the state to be privatized.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes a look at some alcoholic drinks with outrĂ© names.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • The Buzz, over at the Toronto Public Library, recommends some audiobooks, here.
  • Centauri Dreams features an essay, by Kostas Konstantindis, exploring how near-future technology could be used to explore the oceans of Europa and Enceladus for life.
  • Far Outliers takes a look at the many languages used in Persia circa 500 BCE.
  • Hornet Stories notes that Fox News has retracted a bizarrely homophobic op-ed on the Olympics by one of its executives.
  • JSTOR Daily explores what is really involved in the rumours of J. Edgar Hoover and cross-dressing.
  • Language Hat, in exploring Zadie Smith, happens upon the lovely word “cernuous”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to an article, and starts a discussion, regarding the possibility of a North Korean victory early in the Korean War. What would have happened next?
  • The NYR Daily notes that Donald Trump is helping golf get a horrible reputation.
  • Supernova Condensate examines the science-fiction trope of artificial intelligence being dangerous, and does not find much substance behind the myth. If anything, the direction of the fear should lie in the other direction.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little looks at two books which consider the origins of the Cold War from an international relations perspective. What were the actors trying to achieve?
  • Window on Eurasia makes the argument that the powerful clan structures of post-Soviet Dagestan are not primordial in origin, but rather represent attempts to cope with state failure in that Russian republic.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the existential problems facing Capita from a Coasian perspective. How is its business model fundamentally broken?
  • Arnold Zwicky, in taking apart an overcorrection, explains the differences between “prone” and “supine.”

[NEWS] Seven links on borders: Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New York, Europe, NAFTA, Colombia

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  • Relations between Alberta and British Columbia, regarding the latter province’s disinterest in hosting a pipeline for Albertan oil, are not good at all. The National Post looks at things.
  • Things aren’t good between Alberta and Saskatchewan, either. The <INational Post imagines what it would be like if there was not just a trade war, but an actual war.
  • Kathleen Wynne warned that, if New York imposed “Buy American” requirements, Ontario would retaliate. The Toronto Star reported.
  • Steel from New York is the first trade item to face retaliatory measures in Ontario, The Globe and Mail noted.
  • A generation after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe still shows the marks left by Communism, Leonid Bershidsky notes at Bloomberg View.
  • Will getting rid of the name “NAFTA” really make North American integration less controversial? Global News looks at the idea.
  • Colombia is tightening its border controls to try to deal with the influx from Venezuela, Bloomberg notes.

[URBAN NOTE] Seven Toronto links: CN Tower, land transfer tax, mass transit, Tool Library, Pickering

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  • Toronto Life shares twelve photos of the CN Tower taken at different points during its 1970s construction.
  • blogTO also shares some CN Tower construction photos.
  • Torontoist notes the warning of real estate agents that continuing to rely on the land transfer tax, without other revenue sources, is a problem for the budget of the city.
  • Jennifer Pagliaro notes at the Toronto Star that updated projections for the cost of the Scarborough subway extension won’t be released until after the election. (I bet they will be leaked beforehand.)
  • blogTO shares a series of maps imagining what the map of Toronto could have looked like had the city followed through on the many plans for transit expansion that it has since dropped.
  • The Toronto Tool Library, due to unforeseen circumstances, is at risk of closing unless its crowdfunding efforts succeed. blogTO reports.
  • Michelle Adelman notes at NOW Toronto that plans of evacuations in the event of a catastrophe at a nuclear plant in the GTA, particularly Pickering just east of Scarborough, need updating.

[NEWS] Five culture links: animals, Ferox of Mars, Blockbuster, Please Stand By, Higher Brothers

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  • This argument in favour of recognizing the inherent rights of animals as moral persons, to not be property, seems compelling to me. Open Democracy has it.
  • This documentary project by Nicolas Polli about Ferox, an imagined third moon of Mars, sounds amazing. Wired reports.
  • Blockbuster in McAllen, Texas, is closing up shop. A once-mighty retail chain is going under. Global News reports.
  • This Slate review of the new Dakota Fanning Trekkie film, Please Stand By, makes it sound amazing.
  • VICE profiles Higher Brothers, a Chinese hip-hop band from Sichuan making it big in Shenzhen.

[NEWS] Five links: meat tax, Civilization VI, Mount Washington, Niagara Falls, Soviet fall

  • Is a sin tax to discourage meat consumption a good idea, at least environmentally? CBC considers.
  • The use of Chief Poundmaker and the Cree as players in the new game Civilization VI is controversial among the Cree, who wonder why they were not asked first. The National Post reports.
  • Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, sounds like a particularly frigid place. The New York Times describes the environment.
  • Despite appearing frozen, water still flows underneath the ice of the Niagara Falls. CBC explains./li>
  • How could the fall of the Soviet Union, and the inclusion of successor states in the international order, have gone differently? What was possible? Transitions Online considers.