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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘language

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net notes new findings suggesting that the creation of cave art by early humans is product of the same skills that let early humans use language.
  • Davide Marchetti at Architectuul looks at some overlooked and neglected buildings in and around Rome.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait explains how Sirius was able to hide the brilliant Gaia 1 star cluster behind it.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at new procedures for streamlining the verification of new exoplanet detections.
  • Crooked Timber notes the remarkably successful and once-controversial eroticization of plant reproduction in the poems of Erasmus Darwin.
  • Dangerous Minds notes how an errant Confederate flag on a single nearly derailed the career of Otis Redding.
  • Detecting biosignatures from exoplanets, Bruce Dorminey notes, may require “fleets” of sensitive space-based telescopes.
  • Far Outliers looks at persecution of non-Shi’ite Muslims in Safavid Iran.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the history of the enslavement of Native Americans in early colonial America, something often overlooked by later generations.
  • This video shared by Language Log, featuring two Amazon Echos repeating texts to each other and showing how these iterations change over time, is oddly fascinating.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis is quite clear about the good sense of Will Wilkinson’s point that controversy over “illegal” immigration is actually deeply connected to an exclusivist racism that imagines Hispanics to not be Americans.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, looks at the uses of the word “redemption”, particularly in the context of the Olympics.
  • The LRB Blog suggests Russiagate is becoming a matter of hysteria. I’m unconvinced, frankly.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing global sea level rise over the past decades.
  • Marginal Revolution makes a case for Americans to learn foreign languages on principle. As a Canadian who recently visited a decidedly Hispanic New York, I would add that Spanish, at least, is one language quite potentially useful to Americans in their own country.
  • Drew Rowsome writes about the striking photographs of Olivier Valsecchi.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in the 2030s, gravitational wave observatories will be so sensitive that they will be able to detect black holes about to collide years in advance.
  • Towleroad lists festival highlights for New Orleans all over the year.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how recent changes to the Russian education system harming minority languages have inspired some Muslim populations to link their language to their religion.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell makes the case that Jeremy Corbyn, through his strength in the British House of Commons, is really the only potential Remainder who is in a position of power.
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[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait tells us what tantalizing little is known about Proxima Centauri and its worlds.
  • Centauri Dreams imagines that, for advanced civilizations based on energy-intensive computing, their most comfortable homes may be in the cool dark of space, intergalactic space even.
  • D-Brief notes an effort to predict the evolution of stick insects that went in interesting, if substantially wrong, directions.
  • Mark Graham notes that, in the developing world, the supply of people willing to perform digital work far outweighs the actual availability of jobs.
  • Mathew Ingram announces that he is now chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review.
  • JSTOR Daily explores how consumerism was used, by the United States, to sell democracy to post-war West Germany.
  • Language Hat explores the script of the Naxi, a group in the Chinese Himalayas.
  • Paul Campos considers at Lawyers, Guns and Money the importance of JK Galbraith’s The Affluent Society. If we are richer than ever before and yet our living standards are disappointing, is this not the sort of political failure imagined?
  • Russell Darnley takes a look at how the death of a community’s language can lead to the death of that community’s ecosystem.
  • Jason Davis at the Planetary Society Blog considers the possibility of the ISS being replaced by privately-owned space stations.
  • Dmitry Ermakov at Roads and Kingdoms shares some photos from his ventures among the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a black-and-white photo of Charlottetown harbour covered in ice.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel makes the point that cancelling NASA’s WFIRST telescope would kneecap NASA science.

[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.

[NEWS] Five links on life and intelligence both near and far: ‘Oumuamua, ET, blue whales, orangutans

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  • Craig Welch at National Geographic notes how scientists, by carefully decoding the songs of blue whales, are figuring out how they are leading their lives.
  • Sarah Gibbens at National Geographic notes a new study suggesting that, since 1999, hunting and environmental devastation has reduced the orangutan population of Borneo by almost half, by 150 thousand individuals. This sounds almost like genocide.
  • Universe Today notes evidence that ‘Oumuamua had a very violent past.
  • Nadia Drake at National Geographic explores the recent study suggesting that, unless there were signs of menace, most people actually would react well to news of extraterrestrial life.
  • Vikram Zutshi at Open Democracy recently suggested that contact with extraterrestrial intelligence could be good for the Earth, might even help us save it. Certainly this civilization would have survived the Great Filter; certainly it’s a corrective to lazy assumptions of automatic menace.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares photos of rings around a distant galaxy’s central black hole.
  • Inspired by Finland’s Olympic team, the Toronto Public Library’s The Buzz shares some interesting books on knitting and for knitters.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the surprising news that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies actually have the same mass. This changes everything about what was thought about the future of the Local Group. D-Brief also reports on this news.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how the conversion of tobacco fields into solar farms is not just potentially life-saving but economically viable, too.
  • Language Hat rounds up links relevant to the discovery, by field linguists, of the Malaysian language of Jedek.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, shares a story from Lucy Ferris of Paris of old and the bookstore Shakespeare and Company.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the privatization of military officers’ housing in the United Kingdom was another disaster.
  • Marginal Revolution considers if Los Angeles is the most right-wing major American city, and what that actually means.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that, even in the face of subsidence in Groningen around gas fields and cheap wind energy, even the Netherlands is not moving away from oil and gas.
  • Drew Rowsome reports on porn star/actor Chris Harder and his new show, Porn To Be A Star. (NSFW.)
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel examines the factors which distinguish a good scientific theory from a bad one.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy makes a decent argument that the politicized pop culture fandom around supreme court judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg is not good for the future of jurisprudence.
  • John Scalzi, at Whatever, reviews the new Pixel Buds from Google.

[NEWS] Five sci-tech links: cometary disasters, ET malware, Kepler, bird language, Canadian rockets

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  • Universe Today notes that, 12.8 thousand years ago, a disintegrating comet set a tenth of the Earth’s surface area on fire.
  • Should messages from extraterrestrial civilizations be automatically deleted on reception, for fear of their malware? Universe Today reports.
  • 14 different worlds detected by Kepler have been scanned for technological signatures of advanced civilizations. Universe Today reports.
  • Brandom Keim at National Geographic describes a fascinating study suggesting some birds–here, Japanese tits–have human-like rules for language and can picture in their mind’s eye the subjects of their communication.
  • CBC asks the perfectly sensible question why Canada does not have any indigenous rocket program.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • At Anthropology.net, Kambiz Kamrani notes the very recent discovery in Malaysia of the hitherto unsuspected Jedek language by anthropologists doing fieldwork.
  • Hornet Stories interviews the five stars of the new Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
  • Joe. My. God. notes Trump plans to privatize the International Space Station.
  • JSTOR Daily links to some of the papers reflecting on the furor around Murphy Brown and that show’s depiction of single motherhood as a defensible choice.
  • Language Hat notes a contention that the more popular a language the more simplified its grammar will be. Is this correct?
  • Language Log notes how hockey terminology differs between the two Koreas, South Korea importing foreign words and the North creating neologisms.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money does not think a governmental shutdown in the US would have protected DREAMers.
  • Lingua Franca considers the different colloquial uses in English of “baked”.
  • The NYR Daily praises Suburra, a new crime drama set in contemporary Rome.
  • At Starts With A Bang, Ethan Siegel explains how scientists know that the universe is expanding.
  • Supernova Condensate explores the possibility that artificial intelligences might be readily locked into patterns of behaviours not taking human concerns into account and finds it not likely, barring huge design faults.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Khrushchev, not content with transferring Crimea from Russia to Ukraine, also considered border changes in Central Asia.