A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘north africa

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait shares Johannes Kroeger’s image of the median Earth.
  • The Crux considers when human societies began to accumulate large numbers of aged people. Would there have been octogenarians in any Stone Age cultures, for instance?
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers Russia’s strategy in Southeast Asia.
  • Alexandra Samuel at JSTOR Daily notes that one way to fight against fake news is for people to broaden their friends networks beyond their ideological sympathizers.
  • Language Log, noting a television clip from Algeria in which a person defend their native dialect versus standard Arabic, compares the language situation in the Arab world to that of China.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen explains how the Tervuren Central African museum in Brussels has not been decolonized.
  • The Planetary Society Blog explores the ice giants, Uranus and Neptune.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why, in current physics, the multiverse must exist.
  • Strange Company explores the strange disappearance, in the Arizona desert in 1952, of a young couple. Their plane was found and in perfect condition, but what happened to them?
  • Strange Maps reports on the tragic migration of six Californian raptors, only one of which managed to make it to its destination.
  • Towleroad reports on the appearance of actor and singer Ben Platt on The Ellen Show, talking about his career and coming out.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the apparently widespread mutual dislike of Chechens and Muscovites.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers the French Impressionist artists Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Suzanne Valadon, with images of their art.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers the possibility of life not based on DNA as we know it.
  • D-Brief considers the possibility that the formation of stratocumulus clouds might be halted by climate change.
  • Karen Sternheimer writes at the Everyday Sociology Blog about the negative health effects of the stresses imposed by racists.
  • Far Outliers notes the mix of migrants in the population of Calcutta.
  • Hornet Stories notes that the Brazilian government is preparing to revoke marriage equality.
  • Erin Blakemore writes at JSTOR Daily about the gloriously messy complexity of Jane Eyre.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the growing anti-government protests in Algeria.
  • The NYR Daily notes the response of Auden to an anthology’s no-platforming of the poems of Ezra Pound.
  • pollotenchegg reports on Soviet census data from 1990, mapping the great disparities between different parts of the Soviet Union.
  • Starts With A Bang notes the mysterious quiet of the black hole at the heart of the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Russia is growing increasingly dependent on a more competent China.
  • Arnold Zwicky writes about some of his encounters, past and present, on Emerson Street in Palo Alto.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Queens, Fort McMurray, Casablanca, Aleppo, Baghdad

  • Guardian Cities looks at prosperous Long Island City and hard-pressed Blissville, two neighbourhoods of Queens that will be transformed by Amazon moving in.
  • CBC notes how, for Fort McMurray five years after the oil boom’s end, the bust is the new normal.
  • CityLab reports on how the Art Deco Les Abbattoirs complex in Casablanca, once an emerging artist hub, has been emptied by the city government.
  • This Middle East Eye feature looks at the relief and loss felt by returning survivors in Aleppo.
  • Guardian Cities looks at how Baghdad, fragmented and impoverished by war, is fumbling towards some sort of livability.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the black hole-powered “cooling flows” of galaxy cluster Abell 2597.
  • D-Brief notes that astronomers have, at last, measured the total number of photos emitted by stars in the universe. (Roughly.)
  • Dead Things notes the discovery of a tool and butchery site of ancient hominids in Algeria, at Ain Boucherit, dating back 2.4 million years.
  • Far Outliers looks at a Japanese-American’s interrogation of old Okinawan classmates.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at 19th century woman astronomers like Elizabeth Campbell who played a critical role in supporting their husbands’ astronomy but were overlooked.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the victims of voter fraud, the members of stigmatized minorities.
  • Marginal Revolution takes a look at the doctrine of double effect as shown in the TV series Daredevil.
  • The NYR Daily notes how the language of Trump reflects and fuels the fascist right.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel states the obvious: Science is not fake news.
  • Window on Eurasia notes five reasons why the Russian’s military-industrial complex cannot easily catch up to the United States’.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes a look at the history of Swiss Tasmania, a region in the center of the island including the Swiss-themed town of Grindelwald.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber considers democracy as an information system.
  • The Crux shares what we have learned from our studies of the tusks of the mammoths.
  • D-Brief notes another landmark of the InSight mission: It brought two CubeSats with it to Mars.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the odaliques of Matisse, paintings of North African women in intimate positions, in the contexts of colonialism and #metoo. What untold stories are there with these images?
  • Anakana Schofield writes at the LRB Blog about her problems finding CBD oil post-marijuana legalization in greater Vancouver.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the support of Popular Mechanics for paper maps, even in the digital age.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution praises Toby Green’s new history of West Africa, A Fistful of Shells, a book that emphasizes the influence of West Africa in the Americas and the wider Atlantic world.
  • The NYR Daily carries a Tim Parks essay questioning whether it is worthwhile for an author to consciously seek out literary glory.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel reports on the possibility that rocky planets might get large moons only if they suffer large impacts.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the insulting remarks of Russian liberal Oleg Kashin towards Ukrainians, and Tatars too, suggesting even liberal Russians might well be inclined to be anti-Ukrainian.
  • Arnold Zwicky notes a remarkable word error in noting the 40th anniversary of the deaths of George Moscone and Harvey Milk, changing “assassination” into “assignation”.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares one picture of a vast galaxy cluster to underline how small our place in the universe is.
  • The Boston Globe’s The Big Picture shares some photos of Syrian refugee families as they settle into the United States.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the Dragonfly proposal for a Titan lander.
  • The Crux notes the exceptional vulnerability of the cultivated banana to an otherwise obscure fungus.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes NASA’s preparation of the Clipper mission to investigate Europa.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas takes a look at the role of surveillance in the life of the modern student.
  • Hornet Stories has a nice interview of Sina Grace, author of Marvel’s Iceman book.
  • Joe. My. God. reshared this holiday season a lovely anecdote, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Lesbians.”
  • JSTOR Daily took a look at why Americans like dieting so much.
  • The LRB Blog considers the Thames Barrier, the meager protection of London against tides in a time of climate change.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the digitization of radar maps of Antarctica going back to the 1960s.
  • Marginal Revolution seems cautiously optimistic about the prospects of Morocco.
  • Russell Darnley at maximos62 is skeptical about the prospects of the forests of Indonesia’s Riau province.
  • Stephanie Land at the NYR Daily talks about how she managed to combine becoming a writer with being a single mother of two young children.
  • Out There argues a lunar fuel depot could help support crewed interplanetary exploration.
  • Science Sushi notes genetic evidence the lionfish invasion of the North Atlantic off Florida began not with a single escape but with many.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel makes the argument an unmanned probe to Alpha Centauri could have significant technological spinoffs.
  • Supernova Condensate makes the point, apropos of nothing at all, that spaceship collisions can in fact unleash vast amounts of energy.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, while Kazakhs see practical advantages to cooperation with Russia, they also see some problems.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Centauri Dreams analyzes the latest suggestive findings about water on potentially habitable exoplanets of TRAPPIST-1.
  • A Game of Thrones-themed cat bed, as described by Dangerous Minds, is almost tempting. (Almost.)
  • Hornet Stories takes a brief look at what the Nazis were like for, and did to, queers.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Texas’ secretary of state turned down an aid offer from Québec, asking only for prayers.
  • Language Hat looks at the ways in which different African writers have glossed Africa in their works.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper looking at the effect that serious floods have on cities’ long-run economic growth.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the discovery of sunken garum-exporting Neapolis off of the coast of Tunisia.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the latest ventures of the Opportunity rover as winter approaches on Mars.
  • Roads and Kingdoms notes the Café Touba coffee of Senegal, sign of resistance to colonialism and globalization.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a proposal in Russia to memorialize Muslims who resisted changing traditional value systems.

[NEWS] Six links: Cities and Burning Man, urban China, gentrification, Belarus, Algeria, refugees

  • Wired features an article talking about what Burning Man, and Black Rock City, teaches us about how cities work.
  • At The New Republic, Colin Kinniburgh talks about some strategies to fight gentrification, some potentially useful and others not.
  • Bloomberg View observes that China’s Pearl River Delta–briefly, most of urban Guangzhou from Hong Kong up–is set to have a huge property boom.
  • Bloomberg describes how Algeria, hostile to taking on debt, is going through a period of deep austerity.
  • Open Democracy looks at how the Belarusian language, despite improvements, is shut out of the country’s education system.
  • This Toronto Star article describing the detritus left by refugees fleeing New York just before they get to Canada is very sad.

[LINK] “The death of Mohsen Fikri and the long history of oppression and protest in Morocco’s Rif”

At Open Democracy, Imad Stitou places ongoing anti-government protests in Morocco in their proper context, in the long-standing dissidence and dissatisfaction of the northern region of the Rif.

On the evening of October 28, a garbage truck crushed Moroccan fish-seller Mohsen Fikri to death in al-Hoceima city in Morocco’s Rif as he tried to protect his produce. A month has passed since the incident, but protests are still ongoing in the city. While investigations seem to be at a standstill, protesters in al-Hoceima continued their action against the authorities, end of last week. They demanded the punishment of the culprits in this crime, which they believe is premeditated, instead of offering scapegoats to alleviate the pressure in the streets. The protesters were referring to some employees and garbage collectors whom the authorities arrested on the grounds of being implicated in Fikri’s killing.

The flame of public anger in al-Hoceima city is still burning, although the situation has relatively calmed down in other Moroccan cities. In fact, relations between the Makhzen a.k.a the federal state and al-Hoceima city, or the Moroccan Rif in general, have been shaky for decades.

The protests started out with slogans demanding a transparent and impartial investigation to expose the circumstances of Fikri’s death. But they soon escalated into calls for a comprehensive trial of the political regime as a whole, its politics and its behavior towards a marginalized region that has been deliberately shunned from the state’s general policies. This reaction did not come as a surprise. In fact, by exploring the Rif’s rebellious history against the authorities, one realizes that the crushing of Fikri was an opportunity to evoke this painful past and the feelings of oppression, disdain and discrimination that are deeply-rooted in the consciousness of Rifians since the country’s nominal independence in 1956.

Between 1958 and 1959, an uprising broke out as a natural reaction to the behavior of the new authorities that rose to power as a result of the Aix-Les-Bains negotiations. These authorities disbanded the Moroccan Army of Liberation and killed many of its men, in addition to oppressing, abducting, and torturing their opponents, especially sympathizers with the military leader Mohammed Bin Abd El-Karim El-Khattabi and those espousing his thought. Many Rifians were also forbidden from participating in regulating their region’s affairs or contributing to the rule of their country. They were not integrated in the different governments that were formed during the years 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958.

The uprising was fiercely oppressed by the army, even using aircrafts flown by French pilots. Hundreds were killed and thousands were arrested and wounded. Abd El-Karim estimated the number of detainees in the wake of the Rif uprising at 8420. After that, the region was under a tight economic and security blockade until the January 1984 uprising that erupted as a result of the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in Morocco. The January uprising, which students in several Rifian cities spearheaded, was also violently oppressed by the authorities of King Hassan II who gave a famous speech in the wake of the incidents which claimed the lives of many and wounded others. In his speech, he described Rifians as “scum” and other slurs that are still engraved in their memories. One cannot ignore the sporadic events that Rifians lived through during the so-called “new era” such as the al-Hoceima earthquake in 2004 and the arson of five men in 2011 inside a bank in the city during the February 20 protests.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 2, 2016 at 7:15 pm

[LINK] “Morocco Unveils A Massive Solar Power Plant In The Sahara”

NPR notes a new massive solar power plant in Morocco, one producing power for domestic consumption. This could be the start of something big.

Morocco has officially turned on a massive solar power plant in the Sahara Desert, kicking off the first phase of a planned project to provide renewable energy to more than a million Moroccans.

The Noor I power plant is located near the town of Ouarzazate, on the edge of the Sahara. It’s capable of generating up to 160 megawatts of power and covers thousands of acres of desert, making the first stage alone one of the world’s biggest solar thermal power plants.

When the next two phases, Noor II and Noor III, are finished, the plant will be the single largest solar power production facility in the world, The Guardian says.

Morocco currently relies on imported sources for 97 percent of its energy consumption, according to the World Bank, which helped fund the Noor power plant project. Investing in renewable energy will make Morocco less reliant on those imports as well as reduce the nation’s long-term carbon emissions by millions of tons.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 5, 2016 at 8:33 pm