A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘nationalism

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • James Bow links to some things he wrote over the past summer.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly argues journalists are just trying to do their jobs.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at some unusual orbits suited for space missions.
  • Crooked Timber suggests Bitcoin is literally a waste of energy.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze talks about using machine learning to discover exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares pictures of Neanderthal art, talks about Elon Musk’s plan for terraforming Mars, notes Lukashenko does not want a Russian base in Belarus, and reports on the stabilization of the front line in Donbas.
  • Language Hat notes false etymologies of some Russian words as indigenous.
  • Languages of the World suggests there is a close link between genetics and language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the extent to which Jamaica has suffered because of colonialism, and examines the relationship of domestic work with slavery.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that women in Japan have surpassed women in the United States re: workforce participation.
  • Otto Pohl links to online publications on Russian Germans, and on Crimean Tatars.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at nostalgia in Belarus for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
  • Transit Toronto notes that the TTC is installing bike repair stations at some of its stations.
  • Savage Minds considers reasons anthropologists should be concerned with the security of their fieldwork and other data.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Ukraine could split back into Russia’s sphere of influence if it is not careful, notes the possible strength of autonomist sentiment in Tatarstan, looks at opposition in Belarus to a new Russian base while suggesting Putin is building Belarusian nationalism.

[LINK] “Sanskrit and English: there’s no competition”

Writing in response to a claim of an Indian government minister that Sanskrit could eventually displace English as India’s common language, The Hindu‘s Data column argues that such a dream is completely unrealistic. There aren’t even enough second-language speakers of Sanskrit to pose a challenge; Sanskrit’s descent Hindi would be infinitely better-placed.

Anecdotally, we’d all agree that the last ten years are likely to have seen a huge jump in the number of English-speakers; English is now the second biggest language of instruction in primary schools after Hindi.

So India’s official language numbers, over ten years old now, are almost certainly an underestimation of the number of English speakers. Even so, there is little comparison between the number of English and Sanskrit speakers.

In terms of primary languages – what we commonly understand as the “mother tongue” – both English and Sanskrit were miles away from India’s Top 10. Of the123 primary languages counted by the Census – 23 scheduled and 100 non-scheduled – Sanskrit was fifth from bottom in terms of primary languages spoken, with only Persian, Chakhesang, Afghani/ Kabuli and Simte less commonly spoken. English, meanwhile, was the 45th most commonly spoken primary language.

Charts at the site.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 6, 2015 at 12:03 am

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • 3 Quarks Daily writes about the ways in which Cuba, and Havana, have been seen in the American imagination.
  • Antipope Charlie Stross solicits suggestions as to what he should print with a 3-D printer.
  • Crooked Timber is alarmist about the United States, making comparisons to Pakistan and to Weimar Germany.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the simulated atmospheres of warm Neptunes.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Russians are leaving France without their Mistral carriers and that Russia is talking about building its own space station.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that an Argentine court has given an orangutan limited rights.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that transgendered workers now have legal protection in the United States.
  • Marginal Revolution reflects on the new Nicaragua Canal and is skeptical about Cuba’s economic potential.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw links to an essay examining how New Zealand set the global 2% inflation target.
  • The Search looks at one effort in digitizing and making searchable centuries of book images.
  • Towleroad looks at Taiwan’s progress towards marriage equality and notes the refusal of the archbishop of Canterbury to explain the reasons for his opposition to equal marriage.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the different effects of the collapse in oil prices on Russia’s different reasons, looks at language conflicts in the Russian republics, and observes the revival of Belarusian nationalism.

[BLOG] Some politics-related links

  • 3 Quarks Daily links to an essayist wondering why people talked about Gaza not the Yezidis as a way to dismiss Gaza.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly notes how Americans subsidize Walmart’s low wages by givibng its employees benefits.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Chinese plans to reforest Tibet could accelerate the dessication of its watershed since trees suck up water, observes the existence of a new Chinese ICBM and links to a report of a Chinese drone, notes that the ecologies of Europe are especially vulnerable to global warming owing to their physical fragmentation, and notes that Canadian-Mexican relations aren’t very friendly.
  • Eastern Approaches notes Russia’s reaction to the shootdown of the MH17 flight over eastern Ukraine and observes the issues with Poland’s coal industry.
  • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis calls for American military intervention to protect the Yezidis from genocide.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the plight of the Yezidi, examines the undermining of liberal Zionism, wonders how Russian relations with Southeast Asia will evolve, and after noting the sympathy of some Americans on the left for Russia analyses the consequences of a Russian-Ukrainian war.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if Russia’s food import ban is a sign of a shift to a cold war mentality, notes the collapse of the Ukrainian economy, wonders about the strategy of Hamas, and comments on the weakness of the economy of Ghana.
  • The New APPS Blog comments on the implications of the firing of American academic Steven Salaita for his blog posts.
  • The Pagan Prattle looks at allegations of extensive coverups of pedophilia in the United Kingdom.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the decreasing dynamism of the ageing Australia economy.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer doesn’t think there’s much of a crisis in Argentina following the debt default, notes ridiculous American efforts to undermine Cuba that just hurt Cubans, examines implications of energy reform and property rights in Mexico, has a good strategy shared with other for dealing with the Islamic State.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little contends with Tyler Cowen’s arguments about changing global inequality, and studies the use of mechanisms in international relations theory.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy touches upon Palestine’s case at the ICC against Israel, looks at Argentina’s debt default, and wonders if Internet domain names are property.
  • Window on Eurasia has a huge set of links, pointing to the rivalry of Russian Jewish organizations in newly-acquired Crimea, looking at Ukrainian ethnic issues in Russia, suggests that the Donbas war is alienating many Ukrainians in the east from Russia, notes Islamization in Central Asia, suggests that Russia under sanctions could become as isolated as the former SOviet Union, suggests Ukrainian refugees are being settled in non-Russian republics, wonders if Ukraine and Georgia and Moldova will join Turkey as being perennial EU candidates, suggests that Belarusians are divided and claims that Belarusian national identity is challenging Russian influence, looks at the spread of Ukrainian nationalism among Russophones, looks at the consequences of Kurdish independence for the South Caucasus, and notes that one-tenth of young Russians are from the North Caucasus or descend from the region.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Fresh from a redesign of his blog, Andrew Barton’s Acts of Minor Treason features an icestorm photo, of a tree encased in ice.
  • BlogTO observes that a plan to tear down the Hotel Waverly and the Silver Dollar nightclub, located at Spadina and College, and to replace it with a 22-story building including student housing, has been turned down.
  • Far Outliers notes the German role in fomenting jihadist sentiments against the British and French in the early 20th century and the multiple irreconcilable political goals of the Young Turks.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Italian Olympics committeeman Mario Pescante has criticized the US for sending out non-heterosexuals to Sochi.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen considers (1, 2) which countries will be experiencing recessions, as opposed to financial crises. (Canada features, as do the Nordic countries and Singapore.)
  • Registan’s Reid Standish notes that fish are returning to the northern Aral Sea, an area that has seen extensive rehabilitation under Kazakhstan as a new small self-enclosed sea.
  • Torontoist traces the history of the large retail space at the north end of the Eaton Centre, once Eaton’s flagship store, then a major Sears location, now set to become a Nordstrom’s.
  • Towleroad notes that Nigeria is already seeking out gays for persecution and observes that Russia is upset with the European Union’s inclusion of gay rights in its human rights platforms.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that an ingenious effort to find evidence of time travel from the future through social networking posts has found nothing.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the arguments of many that a Russia that established a Eurasian union without Ukraine would become much less Slavic and Orthodox.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes the thinking of Martin Rees and Freeman Dyson on the diaspora of life beyond Earth, noting that it’s going to require as much adaptation to new environments as it will (would?) the adaptation of existing environments.
  • D-Brief notes theory about planetary system formation suggesting that suggestive gaps in protoplanetary discs of gas and dust don’t necessarily reveal planets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird links to the recent paper suggesting that tide-locked red dwarf planets are much more likely to be habitable than previously thought.
  • Geocurrents analyses the possibility that Iran might be divided between a conservative Persian-speaking core and reformist peripheries.
  • GNXP’s Razib Khan notes evidence from Ethiopia suggesting that there has been immigration into Africa as well out of the continent.
  • Registan describes a Chinese copper mining project in Afghanistan that never quire took off.
  • Savage Minds’ Rex reviews William McNeill’s biography of historian Arnold J. Toynbee.
  • Strange Maps maps the leading causes of death by continent.
  • Supernova Condensate describes the possibility of life-supporting environments on Europa, not only in the subsurface ocean but in lakes located in the ice crust.
  • Window on Eurasia quotes a Tatar nationalist who argues that Tatarstan can be to Russia what Lithuania was to the former Soviet Union, i.e. the unit which breaks the country apart.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Centauri Dreams’ recounts the story of the discovery of Proxima Centauri, the dim red dwarf star C of Alpha Centauri that happens to be the closest star beyond our solar system.
  • Charlie Stross comes out in favour of the United Kingdom’s unilateral nuclear disarmament, on the grounds that there is literally no need for them in an era of smart munitions.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to new findings on the origins of Mayan civilization.
  • Eastern Approaches reports on the unfortunate Boston-related confusion between the Czech Republic and Chechnya.
  • Geocurrents describes the terrible history of Chechnya.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money’s Erik Loomis finds rhetoric that makes the health and safety of workers anywhere a secondary concern, or grants them unrealistic degrees of autonomy versus employers, ridiculous.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer describes how a new Brazilian law giving local governments the right to tax nuclear energy may, at least judging by Japan’s experience with a similar tax, encourage nuclear reactor construction.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Stewart Baker wonders why the elder Tsarnaev brothers wasn’t searched on his return from Russia.
  • Window on Eurasia describes one writer’s arguments in favour of a civic, explicitly non-ethnic, state nationalism in Russia.

[LINK] “After cathedral clash, Copts doubt future in Egypt”

I’ve been mulling over Ulf Laessing’s Reuters article recounting general despair among Egypt’s Copts that they can ever find themselves at home in their country, and that to save themselves they must leave, since the article’s publication on the 11th of this month. Is there some exaggeration afoot, or are things really that irresolvably bad? (I will note that Mubarak’s regime was hardly especially kind to Christians, either; ongoing issues with religious freedom in Egypt seem to long predate 2011.)

When Egyptian Christian Kerollos Maher watched on television as petrol bombs and rocks rained on Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral he had only one thought – emigration.

“Egypt is no longer my country,” said the 24-year-old construction worker, standing in the courtyard of the country’s largest cathedral where one Copt and one Muslim died in sectarian clashes this week.

“The situation of Christians is worsening from day to day. I’ve given up hope that things will improve,” he said.

Christians, who make up a tenth of Egypt’s 84 million people, have been worrying about the rise of militant Islamists since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

But after days of fighting at the cathedral and a town outside Cairo killing eight – the worst sectarian strife since Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was elected in June – many Copts now question whether they have a future in Egypt.

An angry young fringe of a community that has lived in Egypt since the earliest days of Christianity may also be turning to violence.

“The attack on the cathedral was the crossing of a red line,” said Michael Sanouel, a 23-year old technician in a steel plant. Sanouel rushed to the cathedral “to defend it” when he heard about the clashes that lasted more than five hours.

“I have been looking for a while for a job abroad, in Italy or Germany,” he said, standing next to a piece of charred wood from a tree hit by a petrol bomb hurled over the compound wall.

“I have two children but I don’t want them to grow up under a Muslim Brotherhood regime,” said Sanouel, who slept in the cathedral compound like dozens of others after the clashes, ready to defend it if more confrontations erupted.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 25, 2013 at 3:59 am

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Charlie Stross starts a discussion about the possible consequences of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. (He’s against.)
  • Will Baird, at The Dragon’s Tales, celebrates the 4000th post at his blog by imagining what an updated version of Jerry Pournelle’s CoDominium future history would be. A Sino-Indian alliance eventually at odds with transhumanists is fun.
  • Daniel Drezner doesn’t think much of gold fetishism.
  • Eastern Approaches notes rising nationalism in Slovakia.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Edward Hugh thinks that the ongoing crises of the Eurozone might be handled for the time being by the policies advocated by Mario Draghi. For the time being.
  • Geocurrents observes, drawing from the example of Punjabi, the blurry nature of dialect continua.
  • Language Hat points to an online compendium of Canadianisms in English.
  • Torontoist notes that if you now search for a book on the Toronto Public Library catalogue, you’ll find links inviting you to buy the book at Indigo. (The library is expecting about $C 20 000 from this.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little asks what happened to Detroit and comes to the conclusion that the severe racial polarization certainly didn’t help.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that many of the smallest nationalities in Russia, indigenous peoples of Siberia mainly, are fast losing their numbers to assimilation.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell seems skeptical about a Kickstarter project aiming at buying a communications satellite and making it available to the Third World. Apparently the lack of suitable satellite modems is an issue.

[BRIEF NOTE] On how the government of Spain is pushing Catalonia towards independence

In 2009 and 2010, I mentioned the ban brought in by Catalonia on bullfighting, ostensibly purely out of a concern for the well-being of the animals killed in the ring for humans’ amusement but also out of a rejection of this, a signal marker of Hispanic identity. Now, Giles Tremlett in The Guardian reports that, at a time of growing separatist sentiment in Catalonia, the Spanish government hopes to overturn this ban.

Spain’s parliament is expected on to take the first steps towards declaring bullfighting a key part of the country’s cultural heritage in an attempt to revitalise a dwindling, if gory, tradition.

A popular petition, signed by 590,000 people, seeks to have the bullfight formally categorised as an asset of cultural interest – a move that would give promoters tax breaks and allow them to flout a ban imposed by local authorities in the eastern region of Catalonia.

The conservative People’s party of prime minister Mariano Rajoy, which holds an absolute majority in parliament, has already said it will back the petition and start the process of turning it into law.

This comes as figures released by the culture ministry show bullfighting is in the middle of an historic decline, with Spaniards gradually turning their backs on it and recession seeing public money to fund fights dry up.

Between 2007 and 2011, the number of fights dropped from 3,650 a year to just 2,290. Of the latter, top class fights involving professional bullfighters or horse-borne rejoneadores and bulls aged three or above accounted for just 1,120 fights. Only 560 fights were of top rank matadors against full-grown bulls.

Numbers are believed to have dropped further in 2012, when Spain fell back into a double-dip recession, public austerity saw even less public funding for bullfights and the Catalan ban came into effect.

(This after the bullrings have been imaginatively repurposed by designers.)

Expatica’s coverage touches upon the regional and separatist dimensions of this move, noting that the explicit effort of the Spanish central government to overturn a locally popular decision in Catalonia is going to inflame things still further. (I’ve mentioned in the past that there’s an emergent separatist majority in Catalonia, right?)

Way to go, guys, Way to go.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm