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Posts Tagged ‘oddities

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • ‘Nathan Burgoine at Apostrophen links to a giveaway of paranormal LGBT fiction.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares some stunning photos of Jupiter provided by Juno.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly looks at the desperate, multi-state strike of teachers in the United States. American education deserves to have its needs, and its practitioners’ needs, met.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at PROCSIMA, a strategy for improving beamed propulsion techniques.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the history of the concept of the uncanny valley. How did the concept get translated in the 1970s from Japan to the wider world?
  • Dangerous Minds shares a 1980s BBC interview with William Burroughs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper tracing the origin of the Dravidian language family to a point in time 4500 years ago.
  • JSTOR Daily notes Phyllis Wheatley, a freed slave who became the first African-American author in the 18th century but who died in poverty.
  • Language Hat notes the exceptional importance of the Persian language in early modern South Asia.
  • Language Log looks at the forms used by Chinese to express the concepts of NIMBY and NIMBYism.
  • Language Hat notes the exceptional importance of the Persian language in early modern South Asia.
  • The NYR Daily notes that, if the United States junks the nuclear deal with Iran, nothing external to Iran could realistically prevent the country’s nuclearization.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the latest findings from the Jupiter system, from that planet’s planet-sized moons.
  • Roads and Kingdoms notes that many Rohingya, driven from their homeland, have been forced to work as mules in the illegal drug trade.
  • Starts With A Bang considers how early, based on elemental abundances, life could have arisen after the Big Bang. A date only 1 to 1.5 billion years after the formation of the universe is surprisingly early.
  • Strange Maps’ Frank Jacobs notes how the centre of population of different tree populations in the United States has been shifting west as the climate has changed.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little takes a look at mechanisms and causal explanations.
  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative’s Frances Woolley takes a look at an ECON 1000 test from the 1950s. What biases, what gaps in knowledge, are revealed by it?
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[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the unusual exoplanet HIP 65426 b, orbiting its parent star in a very distant orbit. Why is that?
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly shares some photos from an evening spent at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
  • Centauri Dreams imagines what could have been if Voyager 1 had, as some hoped, gone on to Pluto. What discoveries would have been made, decades before New Horizons by a probe with less capable instrumentation?
  • Dangerous Minds takes a look at David Bowie’s mid-1970s nadir, caught up in an oddly vegetarianism-driven panic over psychic espionage.
  • At In A State of Migration, Lyman Stone uses a variety of demographic, cultural, and economic markers to define the Rust Belt of the United States.
  • JSTOR Daily notes that, at one point, American funerals included swag, nice gifts to mourners like sets of gloves.
  • Language Hat notes a language of the Pakistani Himalayas, Badeshi, that turns out not to be quite completely extinct.
  • Justin Petrone, at north!, celebrates his discovery of a familiar type, an Italian coffeeshop owner, in his adopted Estonia.
  • Out There considers the remarkable potential of exploration and telescopic study at the edge of our solar system.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes that the Japanese Hayabusa 2 probe has detected its target, asteroid Ryugu.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on tuyo, a Filipino comfort food combining dried fish with chocolate-flavoured rice porridge.
  • Peter Rukavina reports on an entertaining-sounding club meeting in Charlottetown, of Island subscribers to The New Yorker.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes how the new Great Magellan telescope will not have artificial spikes marring its field of vision.
  • Towleroad notes< that CNN's Don Lemon is aware of Trump's nickname for him, "Sour Lemon".
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia’s working-age population is set to decline regardless of recent demographic initiatives.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the oddly recognizable shape of the Horsehead Nebula, and the reasons for this.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes how exceptionally difficult it is for current astronomers to track the transformation of stardust into planets.
  • Gizmodo notes a new theory for the formation of the Moon suggesting that, instead of condensing from the debris left by a Mars-mass object’s collision with the Earth, it condensed along with the Earth from a synestia.
  • JSTOR Daily notes an Indian entrepreneur who developed a generator transforming rice husks into electrical power for an entire village.
  • Language Hat takes a critical look at some of the claims made in a recent article suggesting Icelandic is at risk of extinction.
  • Elaine Showalter writes at the NYR Daily about the power of feminist fantasy and science fiction literature.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes the apparent detection of the earliest-forming stars in the universe and their relationship with dark matter.
  • Strange Company notes the mysterious 1885 disappearance of New York City editor Samuel Stillman Conant. What happened to him? Why did he apparently abandon a happy life?
  • Whatever shares an idea for a fantasy universe from Tobias Buckell, imagining a world where magic has individual benefits but a terrible cost to the world at large. How would it be used?
  • Arnold Zwicky notes the death of Broadway and television star Nanette Fabray.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • 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 outré names.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Larisa Kurtović writes at anthro{dendum} about her experiences, as an anthropologist studying Bosnia and a native Sarajevan, at the time of the trial of Ratko Mladić. Representation in this circumstance was fraught.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the remarkable claim that extragalactic planets have been discovered 3.5 billion light-years away through gravitational lensing and does not find it intrinsically implausible. Centauri Dreams also looks at the background behind the claimed detection of two thousand rogue planets, ranging in mass from the Moon to Jupiter, in a distant galaxy.
  • Dangerous Minds reviews a fantastic-sounding book reviewing girl gangs and bikers in the pulp fiction of mid-20th century English-language literature.
  • Hornet Stories links to the Mattachine Podcast, a new podcast looking at pre-Stonwall LGBTQ history including that relating to the pioneering Mattachine Society.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the substantial evidence that fish can actually be quite smart, certainly smarter than popular stereotypes have them being.
  • Language Hat reports on the existence of a thriving population of speakers of Aramaic now in existence in New Jersey.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the many ways in which the privatization of state businesses have gone astray in the United Kingdom, and suggests that there is conflict between short-term capitalist desires and long-term needs. Renationalization a solution?
  • At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen argues that the prospect of the future financial insolvency of Chicago helps limit the large-scale settlement of wealthy people there, keeping the metropolis relatively affordable.
  • Stephen Baker of The Numerati reflected, on the eve of the Superbowl, on the origins of his fandom with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1963 just before the assassination of JFK.
  • The NYR Daily shares a rational proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian confederation that, alas, will never fly given irrational reality.
  • Seriously Science notes a paper suggesting that Norway rats do, in fact, the reciprocal trade of goods and services.
  • Strange Company notes an unfortunate picnic in Indiana in 1931, where the Simmons family was unexpectedly poisoned by strychnine capsules? Who did it?
  • Window on Eurasia notes a demographers’ observation that, given the age structure and fertility of the Russian population, even with plausible numbers of immigrants the country’s population may never again grow.

[NEWS] Some sci-tech links: DNA tests, stars, Europa and Enceladus, driverless trucks, Voynich

  • Bloomberg notes the impending commercial introduction of DNA tests that can be used to recommend particular diets for customers.
  • The Gaia satellite found a vast cluster of stars hidden by our bright neighbour Sirius. Universe Today reports.
  • Icy worlds like Europa and Enceladus, famous for their subsurface water oceans, might have surfaces too fluffy for probes to land safely. Universe Today reports.
  • The introduction of driverless trucks at the Suncor tar sands developments in Alberta will save on wear and tear, but will also cost 400 jobs. The Toronto Star reports.
  • This claim that University of Alberta researchers have decrypted the Voynich manuscript and found it written in a variant of Hebrew seems, perhaps, optimistic. The National Post reports.

[ISL] Four islands links: Hawaii, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Tuanaki

  • Bloomberg describes the FCC report on the Hawaii missile scale earlier this month.
  • The British Virgin Islands are apparently continuing to undergo their recovery from Hurricane Irma, enough to become tourist attractions again. The Guardian reports.
  • Jonathan Levin and Yalixa Rivera look at Bloomberg at the astonishing lack of good data on Puerto Rico’s demographics after Hurricane Maria. How many have left? Estimates run all the way up to a half-million departures by the end of 2019.
  • Reddit’s unresolvedmysteries shares the story of the supposed Polynesian island of Tuanaki, which went suddenly missing in the 1840s. What happened? Did it ever exist?