A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘proxima centauri

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that a Toronto family known for its Christmas lights display may be forced to ratchet back by city inspectors.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the apparent discovery of Kuiper Belt objects around white dwarf WD 1425+540.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper examining the possible orbital inclination of Proxima Centauri b, and points to another one speculating about upper limits to the masses of other exoplanets orbiting P_roxima Centauri.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to interviews with different historians noting how close the United States is to a scenario from 1930s Germany.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the actions of the American deep state to undermine elements of the Trump Administration seen as potentially threatening will certainly also undermine American democracy.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at reasons for the continuing gap in life outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer links to a paper looking at the effect of Huey Long’s populism on Louisiana’s economy, noting that he had little effect on the markets. This suggests that counting on the markets to reign in populists before the crash may be a mistake.
  • Strange Maps links to a map and history of the Gagauz of Moldova.
  • Torontoist looks at the continuing decline of live music venues in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes the origins of Der Spiegel‘s cover art showing Trump with the severed head of lady liberty in a Cuban exile’s work.
  • Window on Eurasia notes differences between how Russians and Americans think about ethnicity and citizenship in their diverse societies.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Centauri Dreams notes the sad news that, because of the destructive way in which the stellar activity of young red dwarfs interacts with oxygen molecules in exoplanet atmospheres, Proxima Centauri b is likely not Earth-like.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the idea of Haidt that conservatives are uniquely interested in the idea of purity.
  • D-Brief notes the discovery of an intermediate-mass black hole in the heart of 47 Tucanae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the search for Planet Nine.</li.
  • Far Outliers reports on the politics in 1868 of the first US Indian Bureau.
  • Imageo maps the depletion of sea ice in the Arctic.
  • Language Hat remembers the life of linguist Patricia Crampton.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes some of the potential pitfalls involved with Buy American campaigns (and like political programs in other countries), including broad-based xenophobia.
  • The LRB Blog looks at nationalism and identity in their intersections with anti-Muslim sentiment in Québec.
  • The Map Room Blog links to an essay on the last unmapped places.
  • Torontoist notes the 2017 Toronto budget is not going to support affordable housing.
  • Transit Toronto reports on TTC revisions to its schedules owing to shortfalls in equipment, like buses.
  • Window on Eurasia claims that Putin needs a successful war in Ukraine to legitimize his rule, just as Nicholas II needed a victory to save Tsarism.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO tries to pit the west side of Toronto against the east side.
  • Centauri Dreams describes an inventive plan to launch a probe to rendezvous with Proxima Centauri.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the idea of civil society in the age of Trump.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper that aims to explore why Neptune-class exoplanets are so common.
  • Marginal Revolution notes an interesting history of Singapore.
  • The New APPS Blog links to a report suggesting that big data may have created President Trump.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the latest plans for exploring Ceres.
  • Towleroad notes a rumoured plan to legalize anti-LGBT discrimination under Trump.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy has one take on Supreme Court obstructionism.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians may accept pension reforms which will place the minimum age for qualifying for a pension for men above the average male life expectancy, and reports from St. Petersburg about a dispute over the ownership of a church.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • At Apostrophen, ‘Nathan Smith writes about the status of his various writing projects.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling links to an article examining pieces of software that have shaped modern music.
  • blogTO notes the expansion of the Drake Hotel to a new Junction site. Clearly the Drake is becoming a brand.
  • Citizen Science Salon looks at how Internet users can help fight illegal fishing in the Pacific.
  • Crooked Timber asks readers for new Doctor Who candidates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper finding that the presence of Proxima Centauri would not have inhibited planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.
  • The LRB Blog notes the growing fear among Muslims in the diaspora.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a reimagined map of the Paris metro.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy and Towleroad have very different opinions on the nomination of Neil Gorusch to the US Supreme Court.
  • Transit Toronto reports on the reopening of the TTC parking lot at Yorkdale.
  • Whatever’s John Sclazi responds to the past two weeks of Trump-related chaos, and is not impressed.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church carries itself as an embattled minority because it is one, and looks at the future of Russian federalism in regards to Tatarstan.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO reports on how a trespasser at track level disrupted subway service today.
  • Crooked Timber argues Trump’s migration ban is best under stood as an elaboration of existing Western immigration policies, taking them to their logical conclusion.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at 1980s New York City industrial rockers Missing Foundation.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze examines the orbit of Proxima Centauri around the A-B pair.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog profiles four millennial students to attack the idea of their generation as lazy.
  • Language Log and Strange Maps look at how the list of countries whose citizens are banned from the US does not map onto the list of countries which have provided terrorists who have attacked the United States.
  • The LRB BLog looks at the first ten days of the Trump Administration.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the scale of the popular mobilization against Trump.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at how modest immigration controls in Argentina are overshadowed by the US.
  • Transit Toronto reports on streetcar line repair on Queen Street.
  • Window on Eurasia wonders if Trump will allow Russia to do as it will in most of the former Soviet Union, and looks at the prospect Russia might lose out in international sporting events.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the upgrading of the European Southern Observatory in order to investigate the Alpha Centauri system.
  • Dangerous Minds shares some vintage drag and gay club matchbook covers.
  • The Frailest Thing quotes Hannah Arendt on what it means to live in dark times.
  • Joe. My. God. notes Jeff Sessions’ less than convincing defense of same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the unstable white supremacist base.
  • Marginal Revolution takes a look at some interesting conflicts in American government.
  • At the NYRB Daily, Masha Gessen is less than convinced by the intelligence evidence offered up against Trump.
  • Torontoist notes that the most recently proposed Scarborough subway extension is not going through.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the collapse of Russia’s print media owing to falling readership.

[LINK] “This researcher wants to initiate contact with Proxima Centauri b”

Astronomy‘s John Wenz reports on a proposal to try to initiate contact with a hypothetical civilization on Proxima Centauri b that does not necessarily leave me cold, or worried. A hypothetical Proximan civilization only a decade more advanced in observational astronomy that us might well be aware of the existence of Earth, could conceivably even be aware of our technological civilization’s existence. A Proximan civilization capable of travelling to us would certainly know this. That said, the critics’ argument that this is the sort of thing that really should be handled by a broad-based coalition also makes sense. If we are going to send out messages, let’s try to come up with some standards, at least.

Douglas Vakoch, the former Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, is launching the METI Initiative with one planet in mind: the recently discovered planet around Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth (and thus the closest exoplanet.)

Vakoch says that METI has more than a few targets in mind, there are a few advantages to Proxima Centauri b.

“First, it’s close to our solar system, keeping the time for a roundtrip exchange as short as possible,” Vakoch says. “Second, some have suggested that this exoplanet is potentially habitable.”

[. . .]

“To be intelligible, any message to extraterrestrials needs to be written in a universal language, and that won’t be English or Swahili,” Vakoch says. “We begin with mathematics, because it seems likely that scientists on any world will need to know at least the essentials of math.”

Then there’s the question of why, which Vakoch paraphrases SETI research Ronald Bracewell in saying that humanity should “join the Galactic Club.” Even bigger, though, is the question of “why should we broadcast that we’re here in case we, you know, get invaded.” Of the many, many things that Stephen Hawking has said publicly in recent years, the dangers of alien contact has come up again and again. Some in the SETI community say a cautious approach should be taken, with a consortium saying, “We know nothing of ETI’s intentions and capabilities, and it is impossible to predict whether ETI will be benign or hostile.”