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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

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[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait urges caution in identifying K2-18b, a mini-Neptune with water vapour in its atmosphere, as Earth-like.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the discovery of C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), a likely interstellar comet like ‘Oumuamua.
  • The Crux reports on the orange roughy, a fish commonly caught as byproduct that can live up to 250 years.
  • D-Brief looks at the harm that may be caused by some insecticides to songbirds, including anorexia and delayed migrations.
  • Dangerous Minds considers if David Bowie actually did burn his 360-ton Glass Spider stage prop.
  • Gizmodo notes the formidable, fanged marsupials once existing in Australia.
  • Imageo notes signs that a dreaded blob of hot water, auguring climate change, might now be lurking in the Pacific Ocean.
  • io9 notes that Ryan Murphy has shared the official title sequence for the 1984 season of American Horror Story.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the history, in popular culture and actual technology, of the artificial womb.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at how lightly the Sackler family got off for their involvement in triggering the opioid crisis with OxyContin.
  • Marginal Revolution notes many companies are now seeking insurance to protect themselves in the US-China trade war.
  • Tim Parks writes at the NYR Daily about how every era tends to have translations which fit its ethos.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a paper suggesting that immigration and immigrants do not have major effects on the overall fertility of highly-developed countries.
  • Frank Jacobs notes a mysterious 1920s German map of South America that shows Brasilia, the Brazilian capital built only from 1956. What is up with this?
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the negative effects of massive migration of workers from Tajikistan on the country’s women.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Bad Astronomy notes the remarkably eccentric orbit of gas giant HR 5138b.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the impact that large-scale collisions have on the evolution of planets.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber noted yesterday that babies born on September 11th in 2001 are now 18 years old, adults.
  • The Crux notes that some of the hominins in the Sima de los Huesos site in Spain, ancestors to Neanderthals, may have been murdered.
  • D-Brief reports on the cryodrakon, a pterosaur that roamed the skies above what is now Canada 77 million years ago.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at the political artwork of Jan Pötter.
  • Gizmodo notes a poll suggesting a majority of Britons would support actively seeking to communicate with extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • io9 has a loving critical review of the first Star Trek movie.
  • JSTOR Daily shares, from April 1939, an essay by the anonymous head of British intelligence looking at the international context on the eve of the Second World War.
  • Language Log notes a recent essay on the mysterious Voynich manuscript, one concluding that it is almost certainly a hoax of some kind.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the future of the labour movement in the United States.
  • Marginal Revolution considers what sort of industrial policy would work for the United States.
  • Yardena Schwartz writes at NYR Daily about the potential power of Arab voters in Israel.
  • Jim Belshaw at Personal Reflections explains why, despite interest, Australia did not launch a space program in the 1980s.
  • Drew Rowsome provides a queer review of It: Chapter Two.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes how government censorship of science doomed the Soviet Union and could hurt the United States next.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how, in the Volga republics, recent educational policy changes have marginalized non-Russian languages.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares a glossy, fashion photography-style, reimagining of the central relationship in the James Baldwin classic Giovanni’s Room, arranged by Hilton Als.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Anthropology.net reports on the discovery of footprints of a Neanderthal band in Le Rozel, Normandy, revealing much about that group’s social structure.
  • Bad Astronomer’s Phil Plait explains why standing at the foot of a cliff on Mars during local spring can be dangerous.
  • Centauri Dreams shares a suggestion that the lakes of Titan might be product of subterranean explosions.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber considers how, and when, anger should be considered and legitimated in discussions of politics.
  • The Crux looks at the cement mixed successfully in microgravity on the ISS, as a construction material of the future.
  • D-Brief looks at what steps space agencies are considering to avoid causing harm to extraterrestrial life.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes new evidence that the Anthropocene, properly understood, actually began four thousand years ago.
  • Jonathan Wynn writes at the Everyday Sociology Blog about how many American universities have become as much lifestyle centres as educational communities.
  • Far Outliers reports on how, in the 13th century, the cultural differences of Wales from the English–including the Welsh tradition of partible inheritance–caused great instability.
  • This io9 interview with the creators of the brilliant series The Wicked and the Divine is a must-read.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at a paper considering how teachers of German should engage with the concept of Oktoberfest.
  • Language Hat looks at a new study examining the idea of different languages being more efficient than others. (They are not, it turns out.)
  • Language Log looks at the history of translating classics of Chinese literature into Manchu and Mongolian.
  • Erik Loomis considers the problems the collapse of local journalism now will cause for later historians trying to do research in the foreseeable future.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on research suggesting that markets do not corrupt human morality.
  • Neuroskeptic looks in more detail at the interesting, and disturbing, organized patterns emitted by organoids built using human brain cells.
  • Stephen Baker at The Numerati writes, with photos, about what he saw in China while doing book research. (Shenzhen looks cool.)
  • The NYR Daily notes the import of the working trip of Susan Sontag to Sarajevo in 1993, while that city was under siege.
  • Robert Picardo at the Planetary Society Blog shares a vintage letter from Roddenberry encouraging Star Trek fans to engage with the Society.
  • Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money looks at the economy of Argentina in a pre-election panic.
  • Strange Company looks at the life of Molly Morgan, a British convict who prospered in her exile to Australia.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, in 1939, many Soviet citizens recognized the import of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; they knew their empire would expand.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the treatment of cavemen, as subjects and providers of education, in pop culture.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait shares images of Jupiter, imaged in infrared by ALMA.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at ocean upwelling on one class of super-habitable exoplanet.
  • D-Brief looks at how the Komodo dragon survived the threat of extinction.
  • Far Outliers reports on a mid-19th century slave raid in the Sahel.
  • Gizmodo notes that the secret US Air Force spaceplane, the X-37B, has spent two years in orbit. (Doing what?)
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the economic underpinnings of medieval convents.
  • Dave Brockington writes at Lawyers, Guns and Money about the continuing meltdown of the British political system in the era of Brexit, perhaps even of British democracy.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the impact of Brexit on the Common Travel Area.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on how Poland has tried to deter emigration by removing income taxes on young workers.
  • Carole Naggar writes at the NYR Daily about the photography of women photographers working for LIFE, sharing examples of their work.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why time has to be a dimension of the universe, alongside the three of space.
  • Frank Jacobs of Strange Maps shares NASA images of the forest fires of Amazonia.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that many Russophones of Ukraine are actually strongly opposed to Russia, contrary Russian stereotypes of language determining politics.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Anthro{dendum} features an essay examining trauma and resiliency as encountered in ethnographic fieldwork.
  • Architectuul highlights a new project seeking to promote historic churches built in the United Kingdom in the 20th century.
  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait examines Ahuna Mons, a muddy and icy volcano on Ceres, and looks at the nebula Westerhout 40.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the recent mass release of data from a SETI project, and notes the discovery of two vaguely Earth-like worlds orbiting the very dim Teegarden’s Star, just 12 light-years away.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber notes that having universities as a safe space for trans people does not infringe upon academic freedom.
  • The Crux looks at the phenomenon of microsleep.
  • D-Brief notes evidence that the Milky Way Galaxy was warped a billion years ago by a collision with dark matter-heavy dwarf galaxy Antlia 2, and notes a robotic fish powered by a blood analogue.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that India plans on building its own space station.
  • Earther notes the recording of the song of the endangered North Pacific right whale.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the role of emotional labour in leisure activities.
  • Far Outliers looks at how Japan prepared for the Battle of the Leyte Gulf in 1944.
  • Gizmodo looks at astronomers’ analysis of B14-65666, an ancient galactic collision thirteen billion light-years away, and notes that the European Space Agency has a planned comet interception mission.
  • io9 notes how the plan for Star Trek in the near future is to not only have more Star Trek, but to have many different kinds of Star Trek for different audiences.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the observation of Pete Buttigieg that the US has probably already had a gay president.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the many ways in which the rhetoric of Celtic identity has been used, and notes that the archerfish uses water ejected from its eyes to hunt.
  • Language Hat looks at why Chinese is such a hard language to learn for second-language learners, and looks at the Suso monastery in Spain, which played a key role in the coalescence of the Spanish language.
  • Language Log looks at the complexities of katakana.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the death of deposed Egypt president Mohammed Morsi looks like a slow-motion assassination, and notes collapse of industrial jobs in the Ohio town of Lordstown, as indicative of broader trends.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the death of Mohamed Morsi.
  • The Map Rom Blog shares a new British Antarctic Survey map of Greenland and the European Arctic.
  • Marginal Revolution notes how non-religious people are becoming much more common in the Middle East, and makes the point that the laying of cable for the transatlantic telegraph is noteworthy technologically.
  • Noah Smith at Noahpionion takes the idea of the Middle East going through its own version of the Thirty Years War seriously. What does this imply?
  • The NYR Daily takes a look at a Lebanon balanced somehow on the edge, and looks at the concentration camp system of the United States.
  • The Planetary Society Blog explains what people should expect from LightSail 2, noting that the LightSail 2 has launched.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw points readers to his stories on Australian spy Harry Freame.
  • Rocky Planet explains, in the year of the Apollo 50th anniversary, why the Moon matters.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews, and praises, South African film Kanarie, a gay romp in the apartheid era.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a paper examining the relationship between childcare and fertility in Belgium, and looks at the nature of statistical data from Turkmenistan.
  • The Strange Maps Blog shares a map highlighting different famous people in the United States.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why different galaxies have different amounts of dark matter, and shares proof that the Apollo moon landings actually did happen.
  • Towleroad notes the new evidence that poppers, in fact, are not addictive.
  • Window on Eurasia warns about the parlous state of the Volga River.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes an extended look at the mid-20th century gay poet Frank O’Hara.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • D-Brief reports on the abundance of plastic waste found buried in the beaches of the Cocos Islands.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the US has imposed tariffs against India.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the strange history of phrenology.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes note of the Trump Administration’s honouring of Arthur Laffer.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the electricity price crisis that might determine who gets to be elected president of Argentina.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains how the Pauli Exclusion Principle makes matter possible.
  • Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy argues against importing the principles of the Berlin Wall to the US-Mexico border.
  • Window on Eurasia shares concerns that Russia is trying to expand its influence in the east of Belarus.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Architectuul looks at the history of brutalism in late 20th century Turkey.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the evidence for the Milky Way Galaxy having seen a great period of starburst two billion years ago, and notes how crowded the Milky Way Galaxy is in the direction of Sagittarius.
  • Centauri Dreams considers if astrometry might start to become useful as a method for detecting planets, and considers what the New Horizons data, to Pluto and to Ultima Thule, will be known for.
  • Belle Waring at Crooked Timber considers if talk of forgiveness is, among other things, sound.
  • D-Brief considers the possibility that the differing natures of the faces of the Moon can be explained by an ancient dwarf planet impact, and shares images of dust-ringed galaxy NGC 4485.
  • Dead Things notes the discovery of fossil fungi one billion years old in Nunavut.
  • Far Outliers looks at how, over 1990, Russia became increasingly independent from the Soviet Union, and looks at the final day in office of Gorbachev.
  • Gizmodo notes the discovery of literally frozen oceans of water beneath the north polar region of Mars, and looks at an unusual supernova, J005311 ten thousand light-years away in Cassiopeia, product of a collision between two white dwarfs.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how the colour of navy blue is a direct consequence of slavery and militarism, and observes the historical influence, or lack thereof, of Chinese peasant agriculture on organic farming in the US.
  • Language Log considers a Chinese-language text from San Francisco combining elements of Mandarin and Cantonese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the terrible environmental consequences of the Vietnam War in Southeast Asia, and Shakezula at Lawyers, Guns and Money takes a look at how, and perhaps why, Sam Harris identifies milkshake-throwing at far-right people as a form of “mock assassination”.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a personal take on mapmaking on the Moon during the Apollo era.
  • Marginal Revolution observes a paper suggesting members of the Chinese communist party are more liberal than the general Chinese population. The blog also notes how Soviet quotas led to a senseless and useless mass slaughter of whales.
  • Russell Darnley writes about the complex and tense relationship between Indonesia and Australia, each with their own preoccupations.
  • Martin Filler writes at the NYR Daily about I.M. Pei as an architect specializing in an “establishment modernism”. The site also takes a look at Orientalism, as a phenomenon, as it exists in the post-9/11 era.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on the meaning of Australia’s New England.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes how Hayabusa 2 is having problems recovering a marker from asteroid Ryugu.
  • Peter Rukavina reports on an outstanding Jane Siberry concert on the Island.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a map of homophobia in Europe.
  • The Signal looks at how the Library of Congress makes use of wikidata.
  • The Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle reports, with photos, from his latest walks this spring.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers what the Earth looked like when hominids emerged, and explains how amateur astronomers can capture remarkable images.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps shares a controversial map depicting the shift away from CNN towards Fox News across the United States.
  • Daniel Little at Understanding Society examines the Boeing 737 MAX disaster as an organizational failure.
  • Window on Eurasia looks why Turkey is backing away from supporting the Circassians, and suggests that the use of the Russian Orthodox Church by the Russian state as a tool of its rule might hurt the church badly.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes apart, linguistically and otherwise, a comic playing on the trope of Lassie warning about something happening to Timmy. He also
    reports on a far-removed branch of the Zwicky family hailing from Belarus, as the Tsvikis.