A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘technology

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: New York City, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, Berlin, Amsterdam, Istanbul

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  • What does the impending demolition of the venerable Union Carbide tower, at 270 Park Avenue, to make way for a new ultratall skyscraper say about changing New York City? New York reports.
  • The South China Morning Post observes how the cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, though still behind Hong Kong, are starting to advance past it as a result of these cities’ sustained investment in innovative technologies.
  • Aldi in Berlin will apparently build affordable student housing on top of at least some of its new discount food stores in Berlin. Bloomberg reports.
  • This VICE article looking at the lives of lonely people in Amsterdam, many newcomers, is affecting.
  • The Crisis Group looks at how Syrian refugees, of diverse ethnicities and religions, are finding a new home in the multiethnic Istanbul neighbourhood of Sultangazi.
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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 outré names.

[NEWS] Five links on artificial intelligence (#artificialintelligence, #ai)

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  • Jessica Riskin at the Public Domain Review explores the automata, the pre-Babbage mechanical creations that were humanity’s first effort at artificial intelligence.
  • Katrina Onstad at Toronto Life profiles Gregory Hinton, the Toronto AI researcher who pushed the idea of neural networks–ancestor to modern-day deep learning–into the mainstream of AI research.
  • Reverse-engineering the workings of the human brain would be a good way to learn how to build durable AIs. Wired makes the case.
  • The Economist notes one central problem with modern AI is its inscrutability to outside scrutiny. How can the workings of an AI be shown, made visible?
  • Gizmodo notes a report on AI warning that, without adequate regulation and preparation, artificial intelligence could have a destabilizing, even strongly negative, impact on the world of the imaginable future.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • James Bow makes the case for inexpensive regional bus transit in southern Ontario, beyond and between the major cities.
  • D-Brief explains why Pluto’s Gate, a poisonous cave of classical Anatolia believed to be a portal to the netherworld, is the way it is.
  • The Dragon’s Tales takes a look at the plethora of initiatives for self-driving cars and the consequences of these for the world.
  • Far Outliers takes a look at how Persia, despite enormous devastation, managed to eventual thrive under the Mongols, even assimilating them.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the connections between North American nuclear tests and the rise of modern environmentalism.
  • Language Hat looks at Linda Watson, a woman on the Isle of Man who has became the hub of a global network of researchers devoted to deciphering unreadable handwriting.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the argument that the Russian hacks were only as effective as they were because of terrible journalism in the United States.
  • The NYR Daily takes a look at an often-overlooked collaboration in the 1960s between New York poet Frank O’Hara and Italian artist Mario Schifano.
  • Towleroad takes a look at out gay pop music star Troye Sivan.
  • Window on Eurasia makes the believable contention that Putin believes in his propaganda, or at least acts as if he does, in Ukraine for instance.

[NEWS] Five sci-tech links: cryptocurrency in Hamilton and Québec, Alberta, fish, libraires

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  • Hamilton, Ontario, is apparently becoming a major centre for cryptocurrency mining. CBC reports.
  • Hydro-Québec is considering higher electricity rates for bitcoin miners. Global News reports.
  • The rate at which Alberta’s natural environments are disappearing in the face of development is alarming. Global News reports.
  • Fish habitats in Canada, happily, will receive extra protection under a new federal law. The Toronto Star reports.
  • Public libraries are successfully reinventing themselves as places where users can access technology generally. MacLean’s reports.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares photos of rings around a distant galaxy’s central black hole.
  • Inspired by Finland’s Olympic team, the Toronto Public Library’s The Buzz shares some interesting books on knitting and for knitters.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the surprising news that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies actually have the same mass. This changes everything about what was thought about the future of the Local Group. D-Brief also reports on this news.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how the conversion of tobacco fields into solar farms is not just potentially life-saving but economically viable, too.
  • Language Hat rounds up links relevant to the discovery, by field linguists, of the Malaysian language of Jedek.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, shares a story from Lucy Ferris of Paris of old and the bookstore Shakespeare and Company.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the privatization of military officers’ housing in the United Kingdom was another disaster.
  • Marginal Revolution considers if Los Angeles is the most right-wing major American city, and what that actually means.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that, even in the face of subsidence in Groningen around gas fields and cheap wind energy, even the Netherlands is not moving away from oil and gas.
  • Drew Rowsome reports on porn star/actor Chris Harder and his new show, Porn To Be A Star. (NSFW.)
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel examines the factors which distinguish a good scientific theory from a bad one.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy makes a decent argument that the politicized pop culture fandom around supreme court judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg is not good for the future of jurisprudence.
  • John Scalzi, at Whatever, reviews the new Pixel Buds from Google.

[NEWS] Five sci-tech links: cometary disasters, ET malware, Kepler, bird language, Canadian rockets

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  • Universe Today notes that, 12.8 thousand years ago, a disintegrating comet set a tenth of the Earth’s surface area on fire.
  • Should messages from extraterrestrial civilizations be automatically deleted on reception, for fear of their malware? Universe Today reports.
  • 14 different worlds detected by Kepler have been scanned for technological signatures of advanced civilizations. Universe Today reports.
  • Brandom Keim at National Geographic describes a fascinating study suggesting some birds–here, Japanese tits–have human-like rules for language and can picture in their mind’s eye the subjects of their communication.
  • CBC asks the perfectly sensible question why Canada does not have any indigenous rocket program.