A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘disasters

[PHOTO] Six photos from Trinity Bellwoods Park, on a COVID-19 Saturday evening (#trinitybellwoods)

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I got to Trinity Bellwoods Park yesterday evening after 7:30, after the peak crowd blanketing the lawn that had made social media earlier that day. I only dipped to the north side of the street to take the photos; the crowds were concentrated on the northern side of the park, but there were still crowds.

We are fucked. Toronto is going to have a second wave.

Into Trinity Bellwoods (1) #toronto #trinitybellwoods #queenstreetwest #parks #covid19 #coronavirustoronto

Into Trinity Bellwoods (2) #toronto #trinitybellwoods #queenstreetwest #parks #covid19 #coronavirustoronto

Into Trinity Bellwoods (3) #toronto #trinitybellwoods #queenstreetwest #parks #covid19 #coronavirustoronto

Into Trinity Bellwoods (4) #toronto #trinitybellwoods #queenstreetwest #parks #covid19 #coronavirustoronto

Into Trinity Bellwoods (5) #toronto #trinitybellwoods #queenstreetwest #parks #covid19 #coronavirustoronto

Into Trinity Bellwoods (6) #toronto #trinitybellwoods #queenstreetwest #parks #covid19 #coronavirustoronto

Written by Randy McDonald

May 24, 2020 at 11:06 pm

[VIDEO] The streets of Toronto, as seen by drone

Written by Randy McDonald

March 29, 2020 at 10:30 am

[URBAN NOTE] On the current #covid19 crisis (#coronavirustoronto)

One of the many things that has been bothering me about the COVID-19 crisis is the way that the city of Toronto around me has been shutting down. Work and those strictures have gone, of course, but so have almost all of the other events of life. Stores are shut down; neighbourhoods are almost always barren of people; the sorts of events that I normally partake in have been sensibly cancelled. (Jane’s Walk and TCAF are among the events that have been closed down, and I may never get a chance to see the Diane Arbus show at the AGO or the Winnie the Pooh exhibit at the ROM. I live in hope for the second category, and look forward to next year for the first.)

The great machineries of life of Toronto, human and mechanical, are grinding down. When will they start up again? What will be the background against which this revival will happen? What loss and suffering will there be in the background of this? More importantly, from my particular perspective, what loss and suffering will there be among the people I know, here in Toronto and around the world? I have some fears for myself, but more fears for others both known and unknown. (I am not fond of living in a situation where fatalities from a pandemic really can amount to low single-digit percentages of the global, and local, population.)

I cannot help but feel a sort of anticipatory grief at seeing my dear cosmopolis of Toronto shutting down. It is a cause of grief in itself, and it is a symbol of worse yet to come. I can also extrapolate easily enough from the specific case of Toronto to all the other great machines out there in the world, places I’ve lived in and places I’ve only visited and places I have yet to visit and the many many places I will never see. The pictures I saw earlier this week from Venice, that great first prototype of the cosmopolis, felt so wrong. One March, you have a living city; one March, you have a city clamped down on account of mass death. There are things Toronto can pick up from Venice, but I would prefer this not be one. But this isn’t really under anyone’s control, is it?

I am–I believe–keeping things in perspective. There will still be a world after this crisis is done, whenever it is done, one that will be recognizable. I just find it distressing that a proper perspective is not all that comforting. How, exactly, will things be skewed? This uncertainty is something that I do not like. Ending my 12-month Metropass, on account of the certainty that I will not be travelling much at all in April, at least, feels significant. How much more will my lived world shrink?

These past few days, I have been thinking of the classic song “Sous le ciel de Paris”, a hymn of love to that metropolis written and performed just a few years after Paris risked destruction in the Second World War. Has a similar song been written for Toronto?

Written by Randy McDonald

March 22, 2020 at 1:25 pm

[CAT] Five #caturday links: Newfoundland, Australia, tracking, body language, bodies

  • The rescue of cats from the Newfoundland outport of Little Bay Islands, now abandoned, was a success. Global News reports.
  • Cats in Australia may be in a position to ravage vulnerable survivors of the wildfires. Wired reports.
  • The Purrsong Pendant is a new fitness tracker for cats. CNET reports.
  • Humans do need to be able to read the body language of cats, and not only to figure out when they are in pain. CP24 reports.
  • Is anyone surprised cats might eat human corpses? Newsweek reports.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 18, 2020 at 9:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Architectuul looks back at some highlights from 2019.
  • Bad Astronomy looks at the gas cloud, red and green, of RCW 120.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the dynamics of identity politics, here.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes a NASA statement about the importance of understanding dust dynamics in other solar systems to find Earth analogues.
  • Far Outliers looks at the problems pacifying the Chesapeake Bay area in 1813, here.
  • Gizmodo looks at the most popular Wikipedia articles for the year 2019.
  • io9 shares a video of images from a 1995 Akira cyberpunk computer game that never got finished.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how the United States tried to “civilize” the Inupiat of Alaska by giving them reindeer herds.
  • Language Hat links to an online atlas of Scots dialects.
  • Language Log reports on a 12th century Sanskrit inscription that testifies to the presence of Muslims in Bengal at that point.
  • Marginal Revolution notes how much Tuvalu depends on revenue from its .tv Internet domain.
  • Drew Rowsome looks at the Duncan Ralston horror novel Salvage, set in small-town Canada.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the strong relationship between wealth and life expectancy in France.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in a hypothetical supernova, all life on an Earth-like planet would be boiled alive by neutrinos.
  • Strange Maps links to a graphic interface that translates a word into all the languages of Europe.
  • Understanding Society looks at the structures of high-reliability organizations.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a suggestion that Homer Simpson is actually the US’ version of Russia’s Ivan the Fool.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes that Betelgeuse is very likely not on the verge of a supernova, here.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the mapping of asteroid Bennu.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber reposted, after the election, a 2013 essay looking at the changes in British society from the 1970s on.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a collection of links about the Precambrian Earth, here.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about fear in the context of natural disasters, here.
  • Far Outliers reports on the problems of privateers versus regular naval units.
  • Gizmodo looks at galaxy MAMBO-9, which formed a billion years after the Big Bang.
  • io9 writes about the alternate history space race show For All Mankind.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the posters used in Ghana in the 1980s to help promote Hollywood movies.
  • Language Hat links to a new book that examines obscenity and gender in 1920s Britain.
  • Language Log looks at the terms used for the national language in Xinjiang.
  • Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Jeff Jacoby’s lack of sympathy towards people who suffer from growing inequality.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that urbanists should have an appreciation for Robert Moses.
  • Sean Marshall writes, with photos, about his experiences riding a new Bolton bus.
  • Caryl Philips at the NYR Daily writes about Rachmanism, a term wrongly applied to the idea of avaricious landlords like Peter Rachman, an immigrant who was a victim of the Profumo scandal.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a paper looking at the experience of aging among people without families.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why the empty space in an atom can never be removed.
  • Strange Maps shares a festive map of London, a reindeer, biked by a cyclist.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Mongolia twice tried to become a Soviet republic.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers different birds with names starting with x.

[URBAN NOTE] Seven Toronto links

  • Some of the apartments hit by the Gosford apartment fire have been repaired and opened to their tenants again. Global News reports.
  • Steve Munro maps the 70 O’Connor bus route in action as a case study, here.
  • Condo developers have created the new neighbourhood of “West St. Clair West” out of, among other established neighbourhoods, Carleton Village. blogTO reports.
  • The plans for the controversial new Pharrell Williams condo development at Yonge and Eglinton look interesting. blogTO shares.
  • Should Toronto have free public mass transit? NOW Toronto makes the case.
  • Brian Doucet at Spacing Toronto takes a look at the Toronto CLRV streetcars in their North American context, here.
  • The repeated flooding of the Toronto Islands, as NOW Toronto points out, surely demonstrates the reality of climate change for Toronto.