A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘alternate history

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • D-Brief notes that global climate change seems already to have altered the flow of the ocean current system including the Gulf Stream.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the dialect, and cultural forms, of American loggers.
  • Taika Waititi, director of (among other movies) Thor: Ragnarok, has created controversy by talking about racism in his native New Zealand. (Good for him, I’d say.) Lawyers, Guns and Money reports.
  • Marginal Revolution takes a look at a strange public apology by a Chinese company, and what this says about Chinese politics.
  • Strange Maps’ Frank Jacobs shared this map depicting the many ephemeral states that appeared in the former Russian Empire after the October Revolution.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel makes the point that there are very good reasons to believe in dark matter and dark energy, that these concepts are not just a latter-day version of the aether.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the many ways in which the Siberian republic of Tuva is a political anomaly in Russia.
  • At Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Frances Woolley uses data from the National Graduates Survey to take a look at student regret in Canadian universities. To what extent does it exist? What disciplines is it concentrated in?
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[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait suggests that strange markings in the upper atmosphere of Venus might well be evidence of life in that relatively Earth-like environment.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly raves over Babylon Berlin.
  • Centauri Dreams considers, fifty years after its publication, Clarke’s 2001.
  • Crooked Timber considers Kevin Williamson in the context of conservative intellectual representation more generally.
  • D-Brief considers “digisexuality”, the fusion of the digital world with sexuality. (I think we’re quite some way off, myself.)
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers evidence suggesting that the agricultural revolution in ancient Anatolia was achieved without population replacement from the Fertile Crescent.
  • Drew Ex Machina takes a look at the flight of Apollo 6, a flight that helped iron out problem with the Saturn V.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas is not impressed by the idea of the trolley problem, as something that allows for the displacement of responsibility.
  • Gizmodo explains why the faces of Neanderthals were so different from the faces of modern humans.
  • JSTOR Daily considers if volcano-driven climate change helped the rise of Christianity.
  • Language Log considers, after Spinoza, the idea that vowels are the souls of consonants.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money engages in a bit of speculation: What would have happened had Clinton won? (Ideological gridlock, perhaps.)
  • Lovesick Cyborg explores how the advent of the cheap USB memory stick allowed North Koreans to start to enjoy K-Pop.
  • Russell Darnley considers the transformation of the forests of Indonesia’s Riau forest from closed canopy forest to plantations.
  • The Map Room Blog shares some praise of inset maps.
  • Neuroskeptic considers how ketamine may work as an anti-depressant.
  • The NYR Daily considers student of death, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
  • Justin Petrone of north! shares an anecdote from the Long Island coastal community of Greenport.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw considers the iconic Benjamin Wolfe painting The Death of General Wolfe.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Casey Dreier notes cost overruns for the James Webb Space Telescope.
  • pollotenchegg maps recent trends in natural increase and decrease in Ukraine.
  • Roads and Kingdoms talks about a special Hverabrauð in Iceland, baked in hot springs.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel shares his own proposal for a new Drake Equation, revised to take account of recent discoveries.
  • Vintage Space considers how the American government would have responded if John Glenn had died in the course of his 1962 voyage into space.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the belief among many Russians that had Beria, not Khrushchev, succeeded Stalin, the Soviet Union might have been more successful.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Anthropology.net’s Kambiz Kamrani notes evidence that environmental change in Kenya may have driven creativity in early human populations there.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shows how astronomers use stellar occultations to investigate the thin atmosphere of Neptune’s moon Triton.
  • Centauri Dreams notes how melting ice creates landscape change on Ceres.
  • D-Brief suggests that supervolcanoes do not pose such a huge risk to the survival of humanity, in the past or the future, as we thoughts.
  • Dangerous Minds shares Paul Bowles’ recipe for a Moroccan love charm.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog investigates the transformation of shopping malls and in the era of Amazon Prime.
  • At In Medias Res, Russell Arben Fox engages with Left Behind and that book’s portrayal of rural populations in the United States which feel left behind.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how Roman Catholic nuns on the 19th century American frontier challenged gender norms.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is critical of Tex-Mex cuisine, calling it an uncreative re-presentation of Mexican cuisine for white people in high-calorie quantities.
  • The NYR Daily shared this thought-provoking article noting how Irish America, because of falling immigration from Ireland and growing liberalism on that island, is diverging from its ancestral homeland.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews The Monument, a powerful play currently on in Toronto that engages with the missing and murdered native women.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes, in a photo-heavy post, how galaxies die (or at least, how they stop forming stars).
  • Towleroad shares a delightful interview with Adam Rippon conducted over a plate of hot wings.
  • Window on Eurasia shares an alternate history article imagining what would have become of Russia had Muscovy not conquered Novgorod.
  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative notes the very sharp rise in public debt held by the province of Ontario, something that accelerated in recent years.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell suggests, in the era of Cambridge Analytica and fake news, that many journalists seem not to take their profession seriously enough.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the unusual exoplanet HIP 65426 b, orbiting its parent star in a very distant orbit. Why is that?
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly shares some photos from an evening spent at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
  • Centauri Dreams imagines what could have been if Voyager 1 had, as some hoped, gone on to Pluto. What discoveries would have been made, decades before New Horizons by a probe with less capable instrumentation?
  • Dangerous Minds takes a look at David Bowie’s mid-1970s nadir, caught up in an oddly vegetarianism-driven panic over psychic espionage.
  • At In A State of Migration, Lyman Stone uses a variety of demographic, cultural, and economic markers to define the Rust Belt of the United States.
  • JSTOR Daily notes that, at one point, American funerals included swag, nice gifts to mourners like sets of gloves.
  • Language Hat notes a language of the Pakistani Himalayas, Badeshi, that turns out not to be quite completely extinct.
  • Justin Petrone, at north!, celebrates his discovery of a familiar type, an Italian coffeeshop owner, in his adopted Estonia.
  • Out There considers the remarkable potential of exploration and telescopic study at the edge of our solar system.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes that the Japanese Hayabusa 2 probe has detected its target, asteroid Ryugu.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on tuyo, a Filipino comfort food combining dried fish with chocolate-flavoured rice porridge.
  • Peter Rukavina reports on an entertaining-sounding club meeting in Charlottetown, of Island subscribers to The New Yorker.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes how the new Great Magellan telescope will not have artificial spikes marring its field of vision.
  • Towleroad notes< that CNN's Don Lemon is aware of Trump's nickname for him, "Sour Lemon".
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia’s working-age population is set to decline regardless of recent demographic initiatives.

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

  • 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.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • 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 outré names.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • 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.”