A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘rwanda

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Hamilton, Halifax, Sydney, Kiruna, Kigali

  • CBC Hamilton reports on patterns of misconduct by members of armed forces units in the Hamilton, Ontario, area.
  • That the Cape Breton Post, main newspaper of that island, may now be printed in Halifax says much about that city’s growing dominance of Nova Scotia (and, too, of Cape Breton’s decline). CBC reports.
  • Building a new library on the waterfront of Sydney, in Cape Breton, might well anchor a wider revitalization of that city. CBC reports.
  • Guardian Cities shares the story of how the Swedish iron ore-mining town of Kiruna, facing subsidence, is literally moving kilometres away.
  • The Inter Press Services notes that the Rwandan capital of Kigali will have a downtown ecotourism park.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes new findings suggesting that low metallicity in stars is linked to the formation of multi-planet systems, including systems with multiple small planets perhaps not unlike Earth.
  • D-Brief notes that the potentially detectable S1 dark matter stream is heading past the Earth.
  • Far Outliers reports on a visit of samurai to San Francisco in 1860.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the wollemi pine of Australia, an ancient tree around in the era of the (non-avian) dinosaurs.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes yet another instance of the decidedly unimpressive leadership of Donald Trump in office.
  • Lingua Franca looks at the emergence of an interesting linguistic tic in English, “regular” as in “like a regular William Safire”.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how government propaganda in Rwanda aimed to minimize ethnic tensions and the salience of ethnic identity seems to have actually worked.
  • The NYR Daily looks how at the English nationalism that has inspired Brexit is indifferent to the loss of Northern Ireland.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps shows how crop data from the United States and Europe can be transformed into abstract art.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Russia is responding to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s recognition of a Ukrainian church by trying to organize a Russian church in its territory of Turkey.
  • Arnold Zwicky explores the word “teknonymy”, “the practice of referring to parents by the names of their children”.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Detroit, Metropolis, Seattle, Foster City, Kigali

  • If ever I make it to Detroit, the John K King bookstore would surely be a must-visit. Atlas Obscura reports.
  • Metropolis, Illinois, is celebrating Superman. Where better to do so? Wired reports.
  • Seattle, like so many cities around North America, is apparently facing a gentrification that makes it increasingly uncomfortable for too many. Crosscut has it.
  • The San Francisco Bay area community of Foster City faces imminent danger from rising sea levels. CBC reports.
  • Decades after the horrors of the mid-1990s, dogs in the Rwandan capital of Kigali are starting to be treated as potential pets again. National Geographic reports.

[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 Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the design of Japan for a laser-fueled ion engine for deep space probe IKAROS, destined for the Trojans of Jupiter.
  • The Crux notes the achievements of Jane Goodall, not least for recognizing non-human animals have personalities.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a model detailing the accretion of massive planets from icy pebbles.
  • Hornet Stories shares Tori Amos talking about her late gay friend, makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin.
  • Language Log reports on a powerful essay regarding the writing of the first Navajo-English dictionary.
  • The NYR Daily notes how the Russian government of Putin is trying to deal with the Russian Revolution by not recognizing it.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the efforts of a visitor to drink the signature ikigage beer of Rwanda, brewed from sorghum.
  • Drew Rowsome quite likes the Guillermo del Toro exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. (I should go, too.)
  • Towleroad notes early supports suggesting the Australian postal vote on same-sex marriage will be a crushing victory for the good guys.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the pressure of new education changes on smaller minority languages in Russia.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes the exobiological potential of Titamn after the detection of acrylonitrile. Cryogenic life?
  • This guest essay at Lawyers, Guns and Money on the existential problems of Brazil, with politics depending on people not institutions, is a must-read.
  • The LRB Blog considers, in the context of Brexit, what exactly might count for some as a marker of dictatorship.
  • Did the 15th century construction of the Grand Canal in China lead the Ming away from oceanic travel? Marginal Revolution speculates.
  • The NYR Daily considers</a. the disconcertingly thorough and apparently effective of Kagame's Rwanda.
  • Out There explores the reasons why the most massive planets all have the same size.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the 5th anniversary of the arrival of Curiosity on Mars.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that, with regards to Venezuela, the United States has no good options.
  • Roads and Kingdoms considers the febrile political mood of Kenya.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Putin is making the mistake of seeing the United States through the prism of Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes a proposal for British mayors to have representation at Brexit talks makes no sense.

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Bloomberg talks about Poland’s problems with economic growth, notes that McMansions are poor investments, considers what to do about the Olympics post-Rio, looks at new Japanese tax incentives for working women, looks at a French war museum that put its stock up for sale, examines the power of the New Zealand dairy, looks at the Yasukuni controversies, and notes Huawei’s progress in China.
  • Bloomberg View is hopeful for Brazil, argues demographics are dooming Abenomics, suggests ways for the US to pit Russia versus Iran, looks at Chinese fisheries and the survival of the ocean, notes that high American population growth makes the post-2008 economic recovery relatively less notable, looks at Emperor Akihito’s opposition to Japanese remilitarization, and argues that Europe’s soft response to terrorism is not a weakness.
  • CBC notes that Russian doping whistleblowers fear for their lives, looks at how New Brunswick farmers are adapting to climate change, and looks at how Neanderthals’ lack of facility with tools may have doomed them.
  • The Globe and Mail argues Ontario should imitate Michigan instead of Québec, notes the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix, and predicts good things for Tim Horton’s in the Philippines.
  • The Guardian notes that Canada’s impending deal with the European Union is not any model for the United Kingdom.
  • The Inter Press Service looks at child executions in Iran.
  • MacLean’s notes that Great Lakes mayors have joined to challenge a diversion of water from their shared basin.
  • National Geographic looks at the elephant ivory trade, considers the abstract intelligence of birds, considers the Mayan calendar’s complexities, and looks at how the young generation treats Pluto’s dwarf planet status.
  • The National Post notes that VIA Rail is interested in offering a low-cost bus route along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia.
  • Open Democracy notes that the last Russian prisoner in Guantanamo does not want to go home, and wonders why the West ignores the Rwandan dictatorship.
  • TVO considers how rural communities can attract immigrants.
  • Universe Today suggests sending our digital selves to the stars, looks at how cirrus clouds kept early Mars warm and wet, and notes the discovery of an early-forming direct-collapse black hole.
  • Variance Explained looks at how Donald Trump’s tweets clearly show two authors at work.
  • The Washignton Post considers what happens when a gay bar becomes a bar with more general appeal.
  • Wired notes that the World Wide Web still is far from achieving its founders’ dreams, looks at how news apps are dying off, and reports on the Univision purchase of Gawker.

[CAT] “Lions Return to Rwanda for First Time Since Genocide’s Aftermath”

Paul Steyn of National Geographic writes about the reintroduction of lions to Rwanda.

Jes Gruner was excited when he told me over the phone that the lions had made their first kill.

A week after their release into the Akagera National Park in the northeast of Rwanda, the lions took down a waterbuck on the lakeshore and were gorging themselves on the carcass. Gruner, the Park Manager of Akagera, was obviously happy about the report. These are the first wild lions to set foot in the country since the animals were hunted to local extinction 15 years ago, and a kill is a sure sign they are doing well.

The stakes are high for lions in Africa as their numbers plummet across the continent. And the Rwanda reintroduction is a working case study for conservationists on how to move and reintroduce wild lions over long distances, and how to save the species as a whole.

Lions were wiped out in Rwanda in the years after the bloody genocide and civil war in 1993 and 1994. Refugees returning from neighboring countries settled in Akagera National Park and other protected areas, then poisoned the predators to protect livestock.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 15, 2015 at 8:25 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “In push to modernize, Rwandan capital struggles to house its population”

Jonathan W. Rosen at Al Jazeera America looks at the various contentious, costly, and often mutually contradictory plans to modernize Rwanda’s capital of Kigali.

At the edge of the Rwandan capital, on a hillside formerly packed with small houses made of compressed earth, Wang Zenkhun pours over a map of what will soon be the East African country’s largest residential development.

Wang, an employee of the state-owned China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, serves as site manager for the project. He oversees approximately 100 Chinese and 2,500 Rwandan workers, who toil in the sun on the 80-acre site outside his office. Known as Vision City and financed by the Rwanda Social Security Board, or RSSB, the country’s pension body, the project will begin with an initial phase of 504 units, due to be completed next year. It will eventually scale up to 4,500 homes. In line with Kigali’s ambitious master plan, which seeks to transform the city of 1.3 million into a “center of urban excellence,” the site’s developers promise a community “tempered with a tinge of elegance and subtle nobility” that will be a “reference point for contemporary Rwandan living.” In addition to the houses, there will be restaurants, hotels, offices, schools, a sports complex and a Wi-Fi-connected town center. It’s all part of a citywide mixed-use strategy meant to decentralize key business and recreational activities and minimize road congestion.

For Kigali residents, who, like most urban Africans, face a dire shortage of quality housing, it all sounds great. There’s just one nagging detail. According to RSSB, the most affordable Phase 1 Vision City units, two-bedroom apartments, will cost 124 million Rwandan francs ($172,000), more than 100 times the city’s median annual household income. The most expensive — five-bedroom luxury villas with exteriors of marble and granite — will run close to 320 million francs.

[. . .]

Vision City is only one of several forthcoming Kigali housing developments, some of which, officials say, will deliver more affordable units. But the project is emblematic of a conundrum facing cities across sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s most rapidly urbanizing region. Buoyed by a decade-and-a-half of robust economic growth, Africa’s cities are home today to unprecedented concentrations of wealth. They’re also seeing endless streams of impoverished rural migrants, typically young people in search of jobs who see no viable future in the small-scale farming of their parents’ generation. These dual phenomena have led to striking degrees of inequality. According to the United Nations Human Settlements Program, U.N. Habitat, Africa’s urban areas are now collectively the most unequal in the world, having surpassed the cities of Latin America sometime in the century’s first decade.

Nowhere is this widening gap more visible than in Africa’s radically divergent standards of housing. While upscale developments, which are more attractive to investors, have sprouted on all corners of the continent, governments across the region have largely failed to spur development of modern formal housing that’s accessible to ordinary urban residents. Today, according to U.N. figures, 62 percent of Africa’s urban population lives in slums. These are typically tightly packed, haphazardly planned settlements that do not adhere to basic building standards nor allow for proper sanitation. Cities with a high prevalence of informal, single-story houses generally face extensive public-health challenges and lack the population density needed to become cost-effective hubs of manufacturing, therefore hindering job creation. Although housing policies seldom top government or donor agendas, economists say they’ll play an increasingly critical role as Africa moves toward becoming an urban-majority continent, which the U.N. projects will occur by 2040. Paul Collier, the development economist and director of Oxford University’s Center for the Study of African Economies, has even called housing the “single most important factor in Africa’s economic development.”

Written by Randy McDonald

June 18, 2015 at 11:03 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • 80 Beats lets us know that research examining HIV-positive people able to resist progression to AIDS suggests that these people share a one of a specific cluster of mutations letting their immune system order infected cells to self-destruct.
  • BAGNewsNotes has photographs from an Atlanta-area church devoted to the prosperity gospel, using the rhetoric of warriors and wealth to attract people.
  • When did things go wrong with the Toronto neighbourhood–infamous neighbourhood–of Regent Park? The 1960s, a blogTO post suggests, after a good start.
  • The Global Sociology Blog reports on what may be a phenomenon of managers cheating their companies in order to give poor workers some outs.
  • At Halfway Down the Danube, Douglas Muir tells us that, as it turns out, Zambia was supposed to be a white settler colony on the mode of then Southern Rhodesia. It didn’t work out, but partly because of the failure of this project Zambian whites are far more secure than Zimbabwean whites ever were.
  • The Invisible College’s Lennart Breuker writes about how the Rwandan government is using that country’s genocide to legally harass even people demonstrably opposed to the genocide.
  • Joe. My. God links to the public discussion in South Korea on allowing gays into that country’s military.
  • Landscape and Urbanism lets us know about the complexity of the debates surrounding urban agriculture.
  • The Search’s Douglas Todd writes about the mainstreaming of the Hindu festival of Diwali.
  • Spacing Toronto examines the history and present and future of Parkdale’s Jameson Avenue.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little examines how plans for Shanghai’s economic development allow for extremely high densities.