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Posts Tagged ‘oddities

[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 outré names.
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[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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?

[URBAN NOTE] Seven Toronto links: “Crane Girl”, stores, rent, King street, Eglinton, Etobicoke, more

  • The story of Toronto’s “Crane Girl”, photographed stuck on a crane high above Wellesley Street, has come to an end with an absolute discharge. The National Post reports.
  • Alternative Thinking is unique among the stores once sheltered around Honest Ed’s in continuing to hang on. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Toronto has desperate need of affordable rental housing for the masses. Torontoist takes a look at the NIMBYs opposing one much-needed project.
  • Steve Munro at Torontoist takes an extended look at the data from the King Street pilot streetcar project. Some metrics seem encouraging, but more data–and a longer period of testing–is needed.
  • I look forward to seeing the various public art projects which will be decorating the stations of the Eglinton Crosstown line. The Toronto Star reports.
  • The suggestion of Peter Apswoude at NOW Toronto that Etobicoke is trending towards more denser development, including an actual downtown, is encouraging for the evolution of that Toronto area.
  • CBC’s Matthew Braga takes a look at the implications of the involvement of Sidewalk Labs, of Google, in the development of Quayside for privacy rights. How much data will be given up, exactly?

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

‘Nathan Smith at Apostrophen points out that claiming to disagree with homosexuality while respecting gay people is nonsensical. https://apostrophen.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/queer-isnt-an-opinion/

Centauri Dreams notes the innovative cheap PicSat satellite, currently monitoring Beta Pictoris with its known exoplanet. https://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=39109

Corey Robin at Crooked Timber argues that Trump is shaky, weaker than American democracy. (Not that that is going that well, mind.) http://crookedtimber.org/2018/01/13/trumps-power-is-shakier-than-american-democracy/

The Crux points out the sentient, including emotions, of any number of animal species. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2018/01/11/animals-feelings-sentient/

Far Outliers notes some German commanders in western Europe who quickly surrendered to the Allies in the Second World War, and why they did that. http://faroutliers.blogspot.com/2018/01/quick-german-surrenders-in-west.html

Hornet Stories notes how a court decision dealing with a Romanian man and his American husband could lead to European Union-wide recognition of same-sex marriage. https://hornetapp.com/stories/european-union-gay-marriage/

JSTOR Daily notes how air pollution is a human rights issue. https://daily.jstor.org/why-air-pollution-is-a-socioeconomic-issue/

Language Hat notes how the use of the apostrophe in the newly Latin script-using Kazakh language is controversial. http://languagehat.com/apostrophe-catastrophe-in-kazakhstan/

Geoffrey Pullim at Lingua Franca shares a passage from Muriel Spark’s fiction depicting students’ reactions to learning foreign languages. https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2018/01/11/a-foreign-way-which-never-really-caught-on

The LRB Blog tells the story of Omid, an Iranian who managed to smuggle himself from his home country to a precarious life in the United Kingdom. https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2018/01/15/behzad-yaghmaian/omids-journey/

The Map Room Blog shares a newly-updated map of “Trumpworld” the world as seen by Donald Trump. http://www.maproomblog.com/2018/01/trumpworld/

Marginal Revolution notes research indicating that dolphins have a grasp on economics, and what this indicates about their sentience. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/01/dolphin-capital-theory.html

The Planetary Society Blog notes how the upcoming Europa Clipper probe will be able to analyze Europa’s oceans without encountering plumes of water. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2018/20180111-no-plumes-no-problem.html

The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer suggests that, with the declining import of informal rules in American politics, a future Democratic-majority Congress might be able to sneak through statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2018/01/breaking-norms-by-adding-states.html

Rocky Planet reports on the disastrous mudflows that have hit southern California after the fires. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/rockyplanet/2018/01/12/mudflows-devastate-parts-of-southern-california/

Drew Rowsome praises new horror from Matt Ruff. http://drewrowsome.blogspot.com/2018/01/lovecraft-country-matt-ruffs-multi.html

Peter Rukavina talks about his positive experiences with a walk-in mental health clinic on the Island. https://ruk.ca/content/i-went-mental-health-walk-clinic-and-so-can-you

Strange Company talks about the bizarre 1982 disappearance of one Donald Kemp. Did he even die? http://strangeco.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-strange-exit-of-donald-kemp.html

Towleroad notes that Peter Thiel is trying to buy Gawker, perhaps to destroy its archives. http://www.towleroad.com/2018/01/gawker-peter-thiel/

[NEWS] Six GLBTQ links: Quinn Pallister, Ukraine, Poland, Caper in the Castro game, music, voice

  • This Toronto Life Q&A with Quinn Pallister, the Hamilton baker who gained fame baking the world’s gayest cake, is a joy.
  • Politico Europe takes a look at the plight of LGBTQ Ukrainian refugees, particularly exposed to dislocation.
  • VICE takes a look at how queer Poles get by in contemporary Poland.
  • Gamasutra notes the recovery of a very early GLBTQ-themed computer game, the 1989 Caper in the Castro by C.M. Ralph.
  • VICE’s Noisey notes that queer women were very major players in pop music in 2017.
  • First Post shares a personal essay by Aniruddin Mahale talking about his experience with his “gay” voice.