A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘science fiction

[NEWS] Seven population links: Germany, climate, Brexit, overpopulation, Amazon, whales, parrots

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  • DW reports on the profound and apparently irreversible depopulation of rural areas of the former East Germany.
  • Stephen Leahy at VICE’s Motherboard notes that pronounced global cooling may be responsible for the emigration of Donald Trump’s grandfather to the United States, that he was a climate refugee.
  • Christian Odendahl at politico.eu suggests that Brexit, by encouraging skilled immigrants (and others) to leave the United Kingdom, might work to the benefit of a Germany experiencing labour shortages.
  • David Roberts at Vox talks about the many reasons why, as an environmental journalist, he does not talk about overpopulation as a problem.
  • National Geographic reports on another massacre of indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon by goldminers.
  • Phys.org warns that, at the current rate of deaths, the right whales of the North Atlantic might face extinction. Gack. (Sometimes I think we deserve a visit from the whale probe.)
  • This heartbreaking story co-authored by Ted Chiang takes the Arecibo radio telescope and the Puerto Rican parrot, the iguaca, and does something terribly beautiful and sad with the confluence of the two. Go, read.
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[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Architectuul considers the humanizing potential of brutalism in the context of a London filled with impersonal skyscrapers.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the ways the habitable-zone super-Earths of K2-18 reveal our solar system to be exceptional.
  • Centauri Dreams notes evidence for active plate tectonics in the ice crust of Europa, suggesting an ocean being replenished with nutrients and possibly suitable for life.
  • D-Brief notes the sourcing of the iron in the artifacts of the Bronze Act in meteorites.
  • Daily JSTOR reports on how Hollywood coped during the Red Scare of the 1950s.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the exciting discovery of tapes recording Devo jamming with David Bowie and Brian Eno.
  • Cody Delistraty considers if the restitution of artworks looted from once-colonized territories might not be a cheap substitute for deeper changes.
  • Language Hat shares a student essay comparing, during the First World War, the United States’ campaign against German and the German campaign against French.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues against a British nostalgia for monarchy and empire that overlooks the real injustices perpetrated at Britain’s imperial peak.
  • Lingua Franca notes the remarkable power of the #metoo movement.
  • The LRB Blog notes the exceptional complexity of the issue of Jerusalem, especially after Trump’s actions.
  • The Map Room Blog shares links to a variety of maps of the Halifax Explosion and its effects.
  • The NYR Daily looks at some of the legacies of the Salvadoran civil war.
  • Peter Watts makes an argument in favour of the dystopia in contemporary science fiction.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla reports that South Korea is planning its first Moon expedition for 2020.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Argentina, at its peak, offered as good or even better chances for social mobility for immigrants than the United States.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a photograph showing the electronic system used by defunct Charlottetown nightclub Myron’s for dispensing drinks.
  • Towleroad reports on one consequence of Australia’s acceptance of gay marriage: Will Calvin Harris remix the Spice Girls song “2 Become 1”, as he promised?
  • Window on Eurasia shares a list of eight reasons explaining why Finland was unique in the former Russian Empire in maintaining its independence from Moscow.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the bizarre extrasolar visitor ‘Oumuamua, as does Centauri Dreams, as does Bruce Dorminey. Yes, this long cylindrical extrasolar visitor swinging around the sun on a hyperbolic orbit does evoke classic SF.
  • The Boston Globe’s The Big Picture shares some photos of autumn from around the world.
  • D-Brief examines how artificial intelligences are making their own videos, albeit strange and unsettling ones.
  • Dangerous Minds shares some Alfred Stieglitz photos of Georgia O’Keefe.
  • Daily JSTOR takes a look at the mulberry tree craze in the United States.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining at water delivery to terrestrial planets in other solar systems. Worlds with as little water as Earth are apparently difficult to produce in this model.
  • Hornet Stories profiles the gay destination of Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the new vulnerability of Haitian migrants in the United States.
  • The LRB Blog notes the end of the Mugabe era in Zimbabwe.
  • The NYR Daily features a stellar Elaine Showalter review of a Sylvia Plath exhibition at the Smithsonian National Picture Gallery.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reports on how the production of New England Cheese reflects the modernization of Australian agriculture.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the awkward position of Rohingya refugees in India, in Jammu, at a time when they are facing existential pressures from all sides.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel shares twenty beautiful photos of Mars.
  • Towleroad shares a fun video from Pink, “Beautiful Trauma”, featuring Channing Tatum.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that a Trump executive order threatening sanctuary cities has been overturned in court.
  • Window on Eurasia notes one study claiming that the children of immigrant workers in Russia tend to do better than children of native-born Russians.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • James Bow notes, by way of explaining new fiction he is writing, why a Mercury colony makes sense.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the life of Anita Brenner, a Mexican-born American Jewish writer who helped connect the two North American neighbours.
  • Far Outliers’ Joel notes the cautious approach of the United States towards famine relief in the young Soviet Union in 1922.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas shares a brief Lewis Mumford quote, talking about how men became mechanical in spirit before they invented complex machines.
  • Hornet Stories celebrates the many ways in which the movie Addams Family Values is queer.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the idea of what “thoughtfulness” means in relation to Senator Al Franken.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a few more fantasy map generators.
  • The NYR Daily considers the thoughtful stamp art of Vincent Sardon.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell recommends Adam Rutherford’s new book, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, on genomics and history.
  • Towleroad notes that Demi Levato took trans Virginian politician Danica Roem her to the American Music Awards.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a Tatar cleric’s speculation that Russia’s undermining of the Tatar language in education might push Tatars away from Russia.

[META] Six new blogs on the blogroll

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I will be doing the hard work of installing these six blogs on my blogroll later this weekend. For now, suffice it to say that these six blogs, still-extant islands in a blogosphere in a state of transformation, are going to be the last I’ll be adding for some time. It can be hard to keep up with them all.

  • Daily JSTOR is the famed scholarly archive’s blog. This 1 November post, timed for Nanowrimo, sharing some inspiring quotes from writers about writing, is fun.
  • The blog by Lyman Stone, In a State of Migration, has great analyses of demographic issues in the United States and wider world. This recent post, looking at what it would take to–as the alt-right would wish–“make America white” and the enormous costs of this goal, is worth noting.
  • Information is Beautiful, by famed data journalist David McCandless has all sorts of fantastic infographics. I recommend this one, looking at the United Kingdom’s options re: Brexit.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education’s blog Lingua Franca takes a look at language and writing. This recent post, analyzing the complexities and challenges of George Orwell’s thought on freedom of expression, is very good.
  • Noahpinion is the blog of Bloomberg writer Noah Smith. I quite liked this older essay, one noting that cyberpunk’s writers seem to have gotten the future, unlike other writers in other SF subgenres. Does rapid change lead to bad predictions?
  • Salmagundi is a blog by an anonymous gay Kentucky writer touching on the subjects of his life and more. The most recent post is this link to an essay by Bruce Snider, talking about the lack of rural gay poets.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the remarkably enduring supernova iPTF14hls, which seems to have attained its longevity through massive amounts of antimatter.
  • blogTO notes plans for the construction of a new public square in Chinatown, on Huron Street.
  • James Bow shares a short story of his, set in a future where everyone has a guaranteed minimum income but few have a job.
  • A poster at Crasstalk shares a nostalgic story about long-lost summers as a child in Albuquerque in the 1960s.
  • Bruce Dorminey reports on Universe, a beautiful book concerned with the history of astronomical imagery.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog explores the latent and manifest functions of education for job-seekers.
  • Far Outliers’ Joel talks about the Red Terror imposed by Lenin in 1918, and its foreshadowing of the future of the Soviet Union.
  • Language Hat links to a lovely analysis of a Tang Chinese poem, “On the Frontier.”
  • Language Log notes how the name of Chinese food “congee” ultimately has origins in Dravidian languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes note of the suspicious timing of links between the Trump family and Wikileaks.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen recounts his visit to an Amazon bookstore, and what he found lacking (or found good).
  • The NYR Daily notes the continuing controversy over the bells of the church of Balangiga, in the Philippines, taken as booty in 1901 by American forces and not returned.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer wonders why Canadian incomes and productivity have historically been 20-30% lower than those of the United States, and why incomes have lately caught up.
  • Roads and Kingdoms considers the simple pleasures of an egg and cracker snack in the Faroe Islands.
  • Strange Company considers the bizarre 1910 murder of Massachusetts lawyer William Lowe Rice.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes an Australian publisher that suspended publication of a book in Australia for fear of negative reaction from China.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares some photos of his orchids, blooming early because of warm temperatures.

[NEWS] Three clashes of ideologies: Sagan on religion and science, peace poppy, Russia and the West

  • Christopher Douglas writes at The Conversation about how the Carl Sagan novel Contact explores Sagan’s own perspective on the relationship between religion and science.
  • I’m not at all sure I agree with the argument of Rob Breakenridge that the “peace poppy”, the white poppy preferred by some anti-war protesters, tarnishes Remembrance Day. Global News has the report
  • Leonid Bershidsky argues that the involvement of Putin’s Russia in Western politics is best understood as a strategy to undermine the credibility of these institutions and countries. (Continental Europe is doing better than the US and UK.) Bloomberg has it.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 13, 2017 at 4:15 pm