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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘popular culture

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait tells us what tantalizing little is known about Proxima Centauri and its worlds.
  • Centauri Dreams imagines that, for advanced civilizations based on energy-intensive computing, their most comfortable homes may be in the cool dark of space, intergalactic space even.
  • D-Brief notes an effort to predict the evolution of stick insects that went in interesting, if substantially wrong, directions.
  • Mark Graham notes that, in the developing world, the supply of people willing to perform digital work far outweighs the actual availability of jobs.
  • Mathew Ingram announces that he is now chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review.
  • JSTOR Daily explores how consumerism was used, by the United States, to sell democracy to post-war West Germany.
  • Language Hat explores the script of the Naxi, a group in the Chinese Himalayas.
  • Paul Campos considers at Lawyers, Guns and Money the importance of JK Galbraith’s The Affluent Society. If we are richer than ever before and yet our living standards are disappointing, is this not the sort of political failure imagined?
  • Russell Darnley takes a look at how the death of a community’s language can lead to the death of that community’s ecosystem.
  • Jason Davis at the Planetary Society Blog considers the possibility of the ISS being replaced by privately-owned space stations.
  • Dmitry Ermakov at Roads and Kingdoms shares some photos from his ventures among the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a black-and-white photo of Charlottetown harbour covered in ice.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel makes the point that cancelling NASA’s WFIRST telescope would kneecap NASA science.
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[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 outrĂ© names.

[NEWS] Six links about Black Panther and Wakanda (#blackpanther, #wakanda)

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  • The Counterfactual History Review takes/u> a look at the plausibility of Wakanda, as a society, and finds it holds up. (There’s something to be said about having the problems of one’s own society being indigenous, not imposed by colonizers.)
  • This article takes a look at the interest of Lesotho, a mountainous kingdom of southern Africa that was never quite fully colonized, on the idea of Wakanda.
  • What is the relationship of Wakanda to Africa and the wider black diaspora? This article makes an argument. (Spoilers.)
  • Queer representation in Wakanda is a real thing. All the more frustrating, then, if it is not quite realized.
  • The Toronto Public Library’s The Buzz points readers to more comics exploring Black Panther and Wakanda.
  • Vulture takes a look at Christopher Priest, the writer who helped make Black Panther the character he is today more than a decade ago but then disappeared.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Caitlin Kelly at the Broadside Blog offers some advice as to how to cope with rejection.
  • Centauri Dreams shares Robert Zubrin’s take on the Drake Equation, and on ways it is lacking and could be improved.
  • Crooked Timber looks at a book examining (among other things) the interactions of libertarian economists with racism and racist polities.
  • D-Brief notes a study suggesting that, actually, people would react positively and with a minimum of panic to the discovery of extraterrestrial life.
  • Dangerous Minds takes a look at Chandra Oppenheim, an artist who at the age of 12 in 1980 released an amazing post-punk album.
  • Gizmodo responds to the news that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are roughly the same mass.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on the effects of the dingo fence in Australia on native wildlife there.
  • Language Hat notes a new statistical analysis of literature that has found one of the sources of Shakespeare’s language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how Trump’s many affairs make him eminently blackmailable.
  • The LRB Blog reports on why academic workers in the United Kingdom are getting ready to strike on behalf of their pension rights, starting next week.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the sharp ongoing decline in the population of Bulgaria, and wonders what can be done. What need be done, in fact, if Bulgarians as individuals are happy?
  • Anastasia Edel writes about the Russian-American community, and what it is like being Russian-American in the era of Trump, over at the NYR Daily.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that there seems to be no periodicity in extinction events, that there is no evidence of a cycle.

[NEWS] Three links on Black Panther (@theblackpanther)

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  • Brian Lowry at CNN suggests that the success of Black Panther, like Wonder Woman, can create new opportunities for minority and female talent.
  • VICE suggests that Black Panther is probably the biggest Afrofuturist story out there.
  • Radheyan Simonpillai at NOW Toronto argues the biggest problem with Black Panther is its rooting in the imaginary Wakanda, away from the actual black world. “[C]an Oakland and Wakanda ever share the same space?”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2018 at 11:30 pm

[NEWS] Five politics links on the Ontario PCs

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  • Patrick Brown, recently fired, has registered as a candidate in the Ontario PC leadership race. CBC reports.
  • Martin Regg Cohn notes how the leadership race, wholly unexpected, reveals the PC’ weakness, rival leaders tearing each other and their party alike, over at the Toronto Star.
  • Robert Benzie notes that getting rid of Patrick Brown has actually helped the PCs versus the Liberals, by giving the main opposition party in Ontario a chance at a more appealing leader. His article is available at the Toronto Star.
  • Doug Ford and Christine Elliott have promised, if elected, to revisit the controversial sex-ed curriculum introduced by Wynne and the Liberals. CBC reports.
  • Rob Salerno at Daily Xtra suggests that Christine Elliott’s LGBT-friendly policies in previous years could be a good sign to her preferred policies if selected as party leader.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: ghost ads of Honest Ed’s, King Street, TTC, crowding

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  • The demolition of Honest Ed’s revealed ghost ads on the walls of the buildings amalgamated into that storied complex. blogTO reports.
  • Support for the King Street pilot project is down, polls suggest. blogTO reports.
  • That the TTC and Metrolinx are disputing the costs associated with Presto makes the whole thing ridiculous. The Toronto Star covers it.
  • This summary of the TTC errors and passenger issues that made the commute of the 30th of January so challenging is disturbing. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Steve Munro writes about the capacity crisis on the TTC, especially the subway lines.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm