A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘science

[NEWS] Links on oceans near and far: mental health, Salton Sea, Europa, Enceladus, Pluto

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  • There definitely is something to the idea that oceans, and other large bodies of water, can be healing. The immenseness of Lake Ontario (to name one body) is sublime. Global News reports on one study.
  • The scale of the disaster in California’s Salton Sea, drying up and poisoning the nearby land, is appalling. The Verge shows the scene.
  • NASA notes one mechanism for the gradual recycling of the ocean of Europa, up into its outer icy crust. Universe Today reports.
  • Some Earth bacteria could thrive in the predicted environment of Enceladus. Universe Today reports.
  • Cold environments still watery thanks to substantial amounts of brine could support life, conceivably on worlds as distant as Pluto. Universe Today reports.
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Written by Randy McDonald

July 17, 2018 at 8:30 pm

[NEWS] Five indigenous peoples links: Tunirrusiangit, Florida, history, knowledge, Uruguay Charrua

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  • Samantha Edwards at NOW Toronto writes about Tunirrusiangit, the new Inuit art exhibit playing at the AGO, here.
  • National Geographic reports on the discovery of the royal home of a Floridian king known for opposing Spain.
  • An app that tells one about the indigenous history of the place where one lives is really quite useful. Yes Magazine has it.
  • Smithsonian Magazine examines the question why it takes so long for scientists to verify indigenous knowledge, here.
  • This Stephanie Nolen report from The Globe and Mail takes a look at the struggle of descendants of the Charrua, the indigenous people of Uruguay, to gain official recognition.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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Many things accumulated after a pause of a couple of months. Here are some of the best links to come about in this time.

  • Anthrodendum considers the issue of the security, or not, of cloud data storage used by anthropologists.
  • Architectuul takes a look at the very complex history of urban planning and architecture in the city of Skopje, linked to issues of disaster and identity.
  • Centauri Dreams features an essay by Ioannis Kokkidinis, examining the nature of the lunar settlement of Artemis in Andy Weir’s novel of the same. What is it?
  • Crux notes the possibility that human organs for transplant might one day soon be grown to order.
  • D-Brief notes evidence that extrasolar visitor ‘Oumuamua is actually more like a comet than an asteroid.
  • Bruce Dorminey makes the sensible argument that plans for colonizing Mars have to wait until we save Earth. (I myself have always thought the sort of environmental engineering necessary for Mars would be developed from techniques used on Earth.)
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog took an interesting look at the relationship between hobbies and work.
  • Far Outliers looks at how, in the belle époque, different European empires took different attitudes towards the emigration of their subjects depending on their ethnicity. (Russia was happy to be rid of Jews, while Hungary encouraged non-Magyars to leave.)
  • The Finger Post shares some photos taken by the author on a trip to the city of Granada, in Nicaragua.
  • The Frailest Thing’s L.M. Sacasas makes an interesting argument as to the extent to which modern technology creates a new sense of self-consciousness in individuals.
  • Inkfish suggests that the bowhead whale has a more impressive repertoire of music–of song, at least–than the fabled humpback.
  • Information is Beautiful has a wonderful illustration of the Drake Equation.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the American women who tried to prevent the Trail of Tears.
  • Language Hat takes a look at the diversity of Slovene dialects, this diversity perhaps reflecting the stability of the Slovene-inhabited territories over centuries.
  • Language Log considers the future of the Cantonese language in Hong Kong, faced with pressure from China.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how negatively disruptive a withdrawal of American forces from Germany would be for the United States and its position in the world.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle, notes the usefulness of the term “Latinx”.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the restoration of a late 19th century Japanese-style garden in Britain.
  • The New APPS Blog considers the ways in which Facebook, through the power of big data, can help commodify personal likes.
  • Neuroskeptic reports on the use of ayahusasca as an anti-depressant. Can it work?
  • Justin Petrone, attending a Nordic scientific conference in Iceland to which Estonia was invited, talks about the frontiers of Nordic identity.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw writes about what it is to be a literary historian.
  • Drew Rowsome praises Dylan Jones’ new biographical collection of interviews with the intimates of David Bowie.
  • Peter Rukavina shares an old Guardian article from 1993, describing and showing the first webserver on Prince Edward Island.
  • Seriously Science notes the potential contagiousness of parrot laughter.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little t.com/2018/06/shakespeare-on-tyranny.htmltakes a look at the new Stephen Greenblatt book, Shakespeare on Power, about Shakespeare’s perspectives on tyranny.
  • Window on Eurasia shares speculation as to what might happen if relations between Russia and Kazakhstan broke down.
  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative noticed, before the election, the serious fiscal challenges facing Ontario.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell points out that creating a national ID database in the UK without issuing actual cards would be a nightmare.
  • Arnold Zwicky reports on a strand of his Swiss family’s history found in a Paris building.

[ISL] Five islands links: Kerguelens, Faroes, Hainan, Kuril Islands, Qatar

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  • The albatross of France’s sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Islands are facing pressure, alas. CNRS reports.
  • The New Yorker takes a look at Koks, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Faroes that takes rare advantage of local food.
  • The Chinese island-province of Hainan might be trying to position itself as an international tourism destination, but restrictions on the Internet continue. Quartz reports.
  • Is a bare majority of the Kuril Islands’ population is of Ukrainian background? Window on Eurasia suggests it may be so.
  • The intensity of the desire of Saudi Arabia’s government to literally make Qatar an island through canal construction worries me, frankly. VOX reports.

[CAT] Five cats links: facial expressions, Ugandan lions, Chinese leopard cats, dreams, Disneyland

  • Seriously Science notes that, of course, cats do have facial expressions. It’s just a matter of learning to recognize them.
  • This sad story of the poisoning of lion cubs in a Ugandan park, product of growing conflict between farmers and wildlife, needs to be shared. National Geographic reports.
  • Hopeful rescuers of the leopard cats of China, wild animals though they look quite like housecats, should stop and not risk separating kittens from their mothers. National Geographic reports.
  • At the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Lingua Franca, Allan Metcalfe shares, Caedmon-like, what he remembers of a dream he had of cats and their words.
  • Aine Cain at Business Insider tells the story, and shares the photos, of the feral cats who have been invited into Disneyland to make that theme park their home.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 21, 2018 at 1:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • D-Brief notes that global climate change seems already to have altered the flow of the ocean current system including the Gulf Stream.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the dialect, and cultural forms, of American loggers.
  • Taika Waititi, director of (among other movies) Thor: Ragnarok, has created controversy by talking about racism in his native New Zealand. (Good for him, I’d say.) Lawyers, Guns and Money reports.
  • Marginal Revolution takes a look at a strange public apology by a Chinese company, and what this says about Chinese politics.
  • Strange Maps’ Frank Jacobs shared this map depicting the many ephemeral states that appeared in the former Russian Empire after the October Revolution.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel makes the point that there are very good reasons to believe in dark matter and dark energy, that these concepts are not just a latter-day version of the aether.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the many ways in which the Siberian republic of Tuva is a political anomaly in Russia.
  • At Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Frances Woolley uses data from the National Graduates Survey to take a look at student regret in Canadian universities. To what extent does it exist? What disciplines is it concentrated in?

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: HAL 9000, Space Seed on VHS, baseball on DS9, Civilization, AIs doing D&D

  • How did the movie version of HAL 9000, from 2001, come about? And why does HAL sound so Canadian? The National Post reports.
  • The official Star Trek website explains how the release of the episode “Space Seed” on VHS helped change the videocassette market of the 1980s, here.
  • Deadspin explains how the central role played by the sport of baseball in Deep Space 9 underlined the ways in which that show was atypical Trek.
  • Rock Paper Shotgun examines how many long-run civilization-building games, like Civilization, do a poor job of depicting stagnation and decline, and what this failure says about us now.
  • The idea that the game that artificial intelligences need to learn to play is not chess but D&D–that games involving roleplaying are good tests for general intelligence–seems obvious to me. Aeon has it.