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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘historiography

[URBAN NOTE] Some Saturday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait considers the possibility that our model for the evolution of galaxies might be partially disproven by Big Data.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly reports how she did her latest article for the New York Times.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the beginning of a search for habitable-zone planets around Alpha Centauri A and B.
  • The Crux looks at how the skull trophies of the ancient Maya help explain civilizational collapse.
  • D-Brief notes new evidence suggesting that our humble, seemingly stable Sun can produce superflares.
  • Dead Things reports on the latest informed speculation about the sense of smell of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares the NASA report on its progress towards the Lunar Gateway station.
  • Gizmodo looks at the growing number of China’s beautiful, deadly, blooms of bioluminescent algae.
  • io9 reports that Stjepan Sejic has a new series with DC, exploring the inner life of Harley Quinn.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at an example of a feminist musical, the Chantal Akerman The Eighties.
  • Language Hat links to a review of a dystopian novel by Yoko Tawada, The Emissary, imagining a future Japan where the learning of foreign languages is banned.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money reiterates that history, and the writing of history, is an actual profession with skills and procedures writers in the field need to know.
  • Liam Shaw writes at the LRB Blog about how people in London, late in the Second World War, coped with the terrifying attacks of V2 rockets.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a new book, Wayfinding, about the neuroscience of navigation.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution reviews a Robert Zubrin book advocating the colonization of space and finds himself unconvinced.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the ancient comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko explored by the ESA Rosetta probe.
  • Roads and Kingdoms provides tips for visitors to the Paraguay capital of Asuncion.
  • Peter Rukavina reports that, on the day the new PEI legislature came in, 105% of Island electricity came from windpower.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel argues that, in searching for life, we should not look for exoplanets very like Earth.
  • Strange Company shares another weekend collection of diverse links.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little shares the views of Margaret Gilbert on social facts.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Kadyrov might dream of a broad Greater Chechnya, achieved at the expense of neighbouring republics.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers some superhero identity crises, of Superman and of others.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber praises Candice Delmas’ new book on the duty of resistance to injustice.
  • D-Brief looks at how the designers of robots took lessons from wasps in designing a new robotic swarm that can pull relatively massive objects in flight.
  • Dead Things notes new evidence that the now-extinct elephant birds of Madagascar were nocturnal.
  • Far Outliers notes how the reeducation of Japanese prisoners of war by Chinese Communists helped influence American policy towards Japan, imagining a Japan that could be reformed away from imperialism.
  • At the Island Review, Alex Ingram profiles–with photos–some of the many different people who are the lone guardians of different small isolated islands removed from the British mainland.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how asteroids can preserve records of the distant past of the solar system.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money has contempt for Pence’s use of Messianic Jews to stand in for the wider, non-Christian, Jewish community.
  • At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen considers the consequence that a decline of art galleries might have on the wider field of modern art.
  • The NYR Daily considers the lessons that Thucydides, writing about Athens, might have for the United States now.
  • Anjali Kumar at Roads and Kingdoms writes about a meal of technically illegal craft beer served with raw shrimp in Bangkok.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel illustrates the six different ways a start can end up in a supernova.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that official Russian efforts to reach out to the Russian diaspora do not extend to non-Russian minorities’ own diasporas, like that of the Circassians of the North Caucasus.
  • Arnold Zwicky, starting by noting the passing of Dorcas, she who invented green bean casserole, looks at different pre-prepared foodstuffs.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes the lack of evidence for heat plumes around the Europan crater of Pwyll.
  • Patrick Nunn at The Crux writes about the new evidence for the millennias-long records preserved remarkably well in oral history.
  • D-Brief notes the discovery of a two-year cycle in gamma ray output in blazar PG 1553+113.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes a proposal from French astronomer Antoine Labeyrie to create a low-cost hypertelescope in nearby space.
  • Gizmodo interviews experts on the possibility of whether people who are now cryogenically frozen will be revived. (The consensus is not encouraging for current cryonicists.)
  • JSTOR Daily notes how, looking back at old records, we can identify many veterans of the US Civil War suffering from the sorts of psychological issues we know now that military veterans suffer from.
  • Language Hat notes the beauty of two stars’ Arabic names, Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi, beta and alpha Librae.
  • The LRB Blog takes a look at the encounters of Anthony Burgess with the Russian language.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution is surprised that Canada has allowed China to add deep-sea sensors to its deep-sea observatories in the Pacific, in a geopolitically-concerned American way.
  • Tim Parks at the NYR Daily talks about the importance of translation, as a career that needs to be supported while also needing critiques.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at two shows on young people coming out, the web series It’s Complicated and the documentary Room to Grow.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that the evidence of the existence of a potential Planet Nine in our solar system is not necessarily that strong.
  • Strange Maps shares a map of Europe in 1920, one oriented towards Americans, warning of famine across a broad swathe of the continent including in countries now no longer around.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, in multiethnic Dagestan, Russian has displaced other local languages as a language of interethnic communication.
  • Arnold Zwicky announces the creation, at his blog via the sharing of a Liz Climo cartoon, of a new category at his blog relating to pandas.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Charlie Stross at Antipope asks his readers an interesting question: What are the current blind spots of science fiction? What issues and themes need to be addresses by contemporary writers?
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the discovery of three planets around young star HD 163296, and his role in the identification of one as a possibility.
  • Crooked Timber notes the strange ways in which the predictive text function of Gmail echoes the all-quotations language of the Ascians of Gene Wolfe.
  • D-Brief notes an ambitious plan to survey the Andromeda Galaxy for signs of powerful laser beams used by extraterrestrial intelligences for communications or transport.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the plan of China to launch an artificial mirrored satellite into orbit to provide night-time light for the city of Chengdu.
  • Allan Metcalfe at Lingua Franca considers some of the words candidate to be considered the best word for 2018.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting that global economic divergence ended, after a century and a quarter, in 1990, and that there has been subsequently rapid economic convergence in the globalized neo-liberal era.
  • Alex Carp at the NYR Daily reviews Jill Lepore’s new book, These Truths: A History of the United States, examining the importance of fact and of narrative in forming identities.
  • Jason Davis at the Planetary Society Blog looks at the challenges involved in returning a sample from asteroid Ryugu.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at the recent books of Raziel Reid and Jesse Trautmann, noting how each delineates some of the contours of contemporary queer male life.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains how we can estimate that there are two trillion galaxies in the universe.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the various inter-ethnic disputes over interpretations of ancient history in the North Caucasus.

[NEWS] Five notes about humans: DNA privacy, narrative/history, longevity/health, weight, Aadhaar

  • This Los Angeles Times article notes that enough Americans have made their genomes public, via DNA sequencing kits, that the identities of even those Americans who have not done this can be easily figured out.
  • Angela Chen at The Verge interviews Alex Rosenberg, a neuroscientist who argues that the human temptation to find narratives anywhere keeps us from properly understanding our history and our evolution.
  • Instead of working to extend the maximum human lifespan, this article argues, we should work on extending the maximum healthy human lifespan.
  • Graham Isador at VICE writes about what he has learned, about weight loss and his own body, after his own highly-publicized crash regimen.
  • Adam Minter at Bloomberg View suggests that the model of India’s Aadhaar digital ID system could prove very useful for African countries.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • The Crux compares the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the stories that they hold, to the sorts of oral histories that historians have traditionally been skeptical of. What, after all, is the difference?
  • D-Brief notes a proposal by scientists to reengineer the world’s food system to support a larger population in a time of environmental stresses.
  • Earther notes that Gallifrey, the homeworld of Doctor Who, would be a pretty uninviting Earth-like world.
  • Peter Kaufman at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes a powerful sociological treatment of his impending death.
  • Far Outliers considers the relative firepower of the Hatfields and the McCoys.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper considering how, and why, different epidemics can be suitable (or not) for entertainment purposes.
  • Language Hat looks at a remarkable new book, Robert Macfarlane’s Lost Words, drawing from the nature-related words dropped by the Oxford Junior Dictionary.
  • Lingua Franca at the Chronicle notes how “du coup” has ascended to become a newly prominent expression in French.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper examining mechanisms explaining how Communism had a lasting negative effect towards immigration.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, poor and insecure, need Russian military bases in their countries more than Russia does.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers the concept of the “Clarke exobelt”, a hypothetical ring of space stations in synchronous orbit of a planet that might be detectable across interstellar distances.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the new American phenomenon of millennials moving back home with their parents.
  • Far Outliers shares the second part of an an article summary on African and Japanese interactions in early modern Asia.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at “precisionism”, an art movement in the early 20th century United States that looked to the machine for inspiration.
  • Language Hat shares a poem by the late great Ursula K Le Guin, “Dead Languages.”
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money, looking at the anti-Uighur police state that China has established in Xinjiang, points out that there are many ways in which American hegemony can be followed by something worse.
  • The LRB Blog looks at how many documents vital in understanding the history of Iraq have been removed from the country or destroyed altogether. How will Iraqis be able to understand their history without them?
  • The New APPS Blog takes a look at a newly released Foucault lecture from 1978, “Analytic Philosophy of Politics”.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports from Mars, enveloped by a planet-wide dust storm that might endanger the intrepid rovers.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at an exciting new film biography of Vivienne Westwood.
  • Strange Company tells a story of a 19th century insurance fraud rooted in murder.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps shares an old tourist map of Maine noting how many placenames from around the world are in that state.
  • Towleroad shares a lovely ad from Ireland’s Dublin Bus company featuring fathers picking up their gay children to take them to Pride. Wow.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • At Anthrodendum, Elizabeth Marino takes issue with what she identifies as the naively and fiercely neoliberal elements of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now.
  • Anthropology.net’s Kambiz Kamrani takes a look at an innovative study of the Surinamese creole of Sranan Tongo that uncovers that language’s linguistic origins in remarkably fine detail.
  • Architectuul examines the architecture of Communist-era Hungarian architect István Szábo
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the nearly naked black hole at the heart of galaxy ZwCl 8193, 2.2 billion light-years away.
  • The Big Picture shares photos from the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.
  • Gerry Canavan has an interesting critical take on Star Trek: Discovery. Is it really doing new things, or is its newness just superficial?
  • Centauri Dreams considers the impact the spectra of red dwarfs would have on biosignatures from their worlds.
  • Russell Darnley takes a look at Australia’s Darling River, a critical watercourse threatened by extensive water withdrawals.
  • Inkfish notes that patterns of wear on the tusks of elephants indicate most are right-handed.
  • Joe. My. God. links to a study suggesting a relationship between Trump rallies and violent assaults.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper examining why people drink Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Language Hat takes a look at the use of Xhosa as the language of Wakanda.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mourns Alfred Crosby, the historian whose work examined the epidemiological and ecological changes wrought by contact with the Americas.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a map showing indigenous placenames in Canada.
  • In the aftermath of the death of Stephen Hawking, Out There had a lovely idea: what nearby major stars emitted life than arrive at the moment of his birth? Hawking’s star is Regulus, and mine was (nearly) Arcturus.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests AI will never be able to centrally plan an economy because the complexity of the economy will always escape it.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel examines Stephen Hawking’s contribution to the study of black holes.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a list of moons, fictional and otherwise, from Endor on down.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross takes a look at the dystopian future we’ve created for ourselves with the help of Big Data.
  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology net notes the discovery of an Ancient Beringian population involved in the peopling of the Americas.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait considers the awesome possibility of life on pulsar planets, i.e. on planets that survived or were made by a supernova.
  • Centauri Dreams suggests that dust, not ET artifacts, may explain the odd light coming from KIC 8462852, aka Boyajian’s Star.
  • Crooked Timber considers the surprisingly mixed emotions of unions regarding the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.
  • Far Outliers takes a look at the diverse non-German soldiers serving in occupied France in the Second World War.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas considers parallels between the mentality of Silicon Valley and totalitarianism.
  • Hornet Stories considers the questionable idea of a “gold star” or “platinum star” gay person. What, exactly, is being celebrated?
  • JSTOR Daily notes the gendered nature of the supermarket of mid-20th century North America.
  • Language Hat celebrates the establishment of Hakka as an official language in Taiwan, as does Language Log.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that the previous Oregon laws against self-service gas stations helped boost employment for the vulnerable.
  • Lingua Franca considers the concept of “ghosting”, linguistically at otherwise.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper examining how creativity has clustered in cities in the past.
  • Out There shares the arguments of Charles Miller for infrastructure to support crewed expansion and settlement in space, starting with the Moon.
  • Peter Rukavina talks about his last visit, with his son, to the Sears store in Charlottetown.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that 2018 may be the year we finally take a picture of a black hole, Sagittarius A* in the heart of our galaxy.
  • To what extent is history probabilistic? Understanding Society considers.
  • Window on Eurasia notes controversy in Siberia over Chinese investors who come in and disregard local sensitivities and regulations.

[NEWS] Four LGBTQ links: Canada’s apology, LGBT history, Call Me by Your Name

  • Global News is among the many sources noting that the Canadian federal government is settling a lawsuit lodged over homophobic purges of LGBTQ people from government with a formal apology (already delivered) and $C 100 million in compensation.
  • At Chatelaine, Rachel Giese writes–from the perspective of the wider LGBTQ community, and from her own perspective–about how the apology represents progress, but how it also comes after a long torturous history of struggle that must not be forgotten.
  • Michael Lyons writes at Daily Xtra about his experience as a writer examining queer history, noting how so much of it has to be recovered and reconstructed to be shared with new generations.
  • Naveen Kumar celebrates the new film “Call Me by Your Name”, for its celebration of young same-sex love as something positive and normal, without any necessary tragedy, over at VICE.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 29, 2017 at 9:30 pm