A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘paris

[PHOTO] Paris on my screen in Toronto

Paris on my screen #toronto #paris #satelliteimage #googleearth #googlehome #television

Written by Randy McDonald

May 8, 2020 at 10:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On the current #covid19 crisis (#coronavirustoronto)

One of the many things that has been bothering me about the COVID-19 crisis is the way that the city of Toronto around me has been shutting down. Work and those strictures have gone, of course, but so have almost all of the other events of life. Stores are shut down; neighbourhoods are almost always barren of people; the sorts of events that I normally partake in have been sensibly cancelled. (Jane’s Walk and TCAF are among the events that have been closed down, and I may never get a chance to see the Diane Arbus show at the AGO or the Winnie the Pooh exhibit at the ROM. I live in hope for the second category, and look forward to next year for the first.)

The great machineries of life of Toronto, human and mechanical, are grinding down. When will they start up again? What will be the background against which this revival will happen? What loss and suffering will there be in the background of this? More importantly, from my particular perspective, what loss and suffering will there be among the people I know, here in Toronto and around the world? I have some fears for myself, but more fears for others both known and unknown. (I am not fond of living in a situation where fatalities from a pandemic really can amount to low single-digit percentages of the global, and local, population.)

I cannot help but feel a sort of anticipatory grief at seeing my dear cosmopolis of Toronto shutting down. It is a cause of grief in itself, and it is a symbol of worse yet to come. I can also extrapolate easily enough from the specific case of Toronto to all the other great machines out there in the world, places I’ve lived in and places I’ve only visited and places I have yet to visit and the many many places I will never see. The pictures I saw earlier this week from Venice, that great first prototype of the cosmopolis, felt so wrong. One March, you have a living city; one March, you have a city clamped down on account of mass death. There are things Toronto can pick up from Venice, but I would prefer this not be one. But this isn’t really under anyone’s control, is it?

I am–I believe–keeping things in perspective. There will still be a world after this crisis is done, whenever it is done, one that will be recognizable. I just find it distressing that a proper perspective is not all that comforting. How, exactly, will things be skewed? This uncertainty is something that I do not like. Ending my 12-month Metropass, on account of the certainty that I will not be travelling much at all in April, at least, feels significant. How much more will my lived world shrink?

These past few days, I have been thinking of the classic song “Sous le ciel de Paris”, a hymn of love to that metropolis written and performed just a few years after Paris risked destruction in the Second World War. Has a similar song been written for Toronto?

Written by Randy McDonald

March 22, 2020 at 1:25 pm

[NEWS] Five NYR Daily links: Colombia, slavery, churches, journalism, Shakespeare&Co (@nyr_daily)

  • The NYR Daily shares a report from Colombia, about the ways in which the filling of the Hidroituango Dam interacts with Colombia’s other social and political issues, here.
  • Sean Wilentz makes the compelling argument at the NYR Daily that the young United States was a critical venue for antislavery movements, here.
  • The NYR Daily tells the stories of two churches, one white and one black, as they merge, here.
  • The NYR Daily shares the stories of a half-dozen pioneering, but overlooked, black woman journalists in the United States, here.
  • Caitlin O’Keefe tells at the NYR Daily of how Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company played a key role in the growth of feminism, here.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Ottawa, Montréal, London, Garges-lès-Gonesse, Venice

  • The Ottawa Citizen looks at the problems of the Confederation Line in the evening, here.
  • CBC Montreal takes a look at a 1930s tourist brochure from Montréal. The city was represented in interesting ways.
  • Wired looks at how skyscraper designs in London are being changed for the benefit of cyclists.
  • Guardian Cities reports on “Ma cité va briller”, the viral challenge from the Paris suburb of Garges-lès-Gonesse that inspired competition to clean up cities across the Francophone world.
  • Atlas Obscura looks at how the Venetian Republic took great advantage of its expertise in cryptography in the Renaissance.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Kingston, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Paris, Gibraltar, Brazzaville

  • Kingston is experiencing a serious housing crisis, exacerbated by the return of students to such educational institutions as Queen’s. Global News reports.
  • CBC looks at how, on the eve of the federal election, issues like cost of living are big even in relatively affordable Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
  • CityLab looks at controversy in Paris over the reconstruction of the Gare du Nord station, here.
  • Vice shares photos of Gibraltar on the eve of Brexit, here.
  • Guardian Cities shares photos of the wordless images advertising shops in the city of Brazzaville, here.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Sainte-Marie, Saint John, Phoenix, Paris, Singapore

  • The flood-damaged community of Sainte-Marie, in the Beauce south of Québec City, may not recover from necessary demolitions of damaged and dangerous structures. CBC reports.
  • Erecting a barrier at an apparently suicide-attracting bridge like the Reversing Falls Bridge in Saint John makes perfect sense to me. Global News has it.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that, happily, voters in Phoenix have voted again in support of a light rail mass transit project.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution notes that the department of Paris has continued to lose population, contrary to the experience of growth elsewhere in other similar world cities.
  • CityLab makes the case for Changi Airport, in Singapore, as a world-class attraction in its own right.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Montréal, Hillsborough, Derry, Paris, Mecca

  • La Presse looks at the challenges facing changing Lachine-Est, here.
  • The small New Brunswick town of Hillsborough may lose its only grocery store. Global News reports.
  • Guardian Cities looks at the vexed question of how, or if, the Northern Ireland city of Derry should celebrate its political murals.
  • Guardian Cities notes that Paris will soon host a substantial rooftop farm.
  • Tom van Laer and Elif Izberk-Bilgin at The Conversation explain why reviews of facilities in holy cities, like Mecca, tend to be so inflated.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, Venice, Istanbul

  • The OS/2 operating system is used in New York City to run that metropolis subway system. VICE reports.
  • The problem of homelessness in Los Angeles, the Guardian reports, is shocking.
  • CityLab reports on plans for new sorts of urban forests outside famous landmarks in Paris.
  • DW reports on how people in Venice protest against the intrusions of huge cruise ships into their lagoon, threatening the delicate environment.
  • Guardian Cities reports on how the hipster class in Istanbul has begun to migrate to the countryside, driven out of their city by real estate prices and by politics.

[NEWS] Five culture links: AO3, dating apps, mainstream Islamophobia, Notre Dame, Buttigieg

  • That Archive Of Our Own has won a Hugo nomination is surprising, but deserved, news. Motherboard reports.
  • CityLab notes that people interested in opposite-sex dating, when they make use of apps, look for people near them geographically.
  • NOW Toronto looks at the extent to which anti-Muslim sentiment has made it into mainstream journalistic discourse in Canada.
  • Adam Rogers writes movingly at Wired about the extent to which Notre Dame, for all of its age, is also constantly changing.
  • Vox suggests that Pete Buttigieg, with his rhetoric full of hope, is trying to mobilize the same coalition of voters that saw Obama elected.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomy notes how the occultation of distant stars by nearby asteroids can help astronomers determine stars’ size.
  • D-Brief notes the remarkable achievements of some scientists in reviving the brains of pigs hours after their death.
  • Dangerous Minds takes a look at how David Bowie got involved in The Man Who Fell To Earth.
  • Dead Things looks at the recent identification of the late Cretaceous dinosaur Gobihadros.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes that astronomers have determined an interstellar meteorite likely hit the Earth in 2014.
  • Gizmodo reports on a very dim L-dwarf star 250 light-years away, ULAS J224940.13−011236.9, that experienced a massive flare. How did it do it?
  • Hornet Stories shares some vintage photos of same-sex couples from generations ago being physically affectionate.
  • At The Island Review, Nancy Forde writes about motherhood and her experience on Greenland, in the coastal community of Ilulissat.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how Paris’ Notre-Dame has always been in a process of recreation.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns, and Money notes the continuing oppression of workers in Bangladesh.
  • The LRB Blog notes the flaws in the defense, and in the political thinking, of Julian Assange. (Transparency is not enough.)
  • The NYR Daily reports on how photographer Claudia Andujar has regarded the Yanomami as they face existential challenges.
  • The Planetary Society Blog traces the crash of Beresheet on the Moon to a software conflict.
  • Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy warns against the idea of inevitable moral progress.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the desires of some Russian conservatives to see Russia included in a European Union dominated by neo-traditionalists.