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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘terraforming

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the Elon Musk proposal to terraform Mars by dropping nuclear weapons on the planet’s ice caps is a bad idea.
  • James Bow writes about how the introduction of faeries saved his novel The Night Girl.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the storms of Jupiter.
  • The Crux explains the mystery of a village in Poland that has not seen the birth of a baby boy for nearly a decade.
  • D-Brief looks at the exoplanets of nearby red dwarf Gliese 1061.
  • Cody Delisraty talks of Renaissance painter Fra Angelico.
  • Drew Ex Machina commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares links to some papers about the Paleolithic.
  • JSTOR Daily hosts an essay by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger suggesting that Internet rot might be good since it could let people start to forget the past and so move on.
  • Language Hat questions whether the phrase “free to all” has really fallen out of use.
  • Language Log takes a look about immigration to the United States and Emma Lazarus’ famous poem.
  • Dan Nexon at Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with the suggestion of, among other, Henry Farrell, that we are headed away from globalization towards fortress economies. Redundancy, he suggests, will be more important.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a disturbing paper suggesting users of opioids use them in part for social reasons.
  • The NYR Daily features an exchange on a new law in Singapore seeking to govern fake news.
  • The Power and the Money features a guest post from Leticia Arroyo Abad looking at Argentina before the elections.
  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at a new play by Raymond Helkio examining the life of out boxer Mark Leduc.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers if we can test gravitational waves for wave-particle duality.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares photos of the many flowers of Gamble Garden, in Palo Alto.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Architectuul writes about the exciting possibility of using living organisms, like fungi, as custom-designed construction materials.
  • Bad Astronomy looks at first-generation stars, the first stars in the universe which exploded and scattered heavy elements into the wider universe.
  • Caitlin Kelly writes at the Broadside Blog, as an outsider and an observer, about the American fascination with guns.
  • The Toronto Public Library’s Buzz lists some top memoirs.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the vexed issue of oxygen in the oceans of Europa. There may well not be enough oxygen to sustain complex life, though perhaps life imported from Earth might be able to thrive with suitable preparation.
  • The Crux looks at the well-established practice, not only among humans but other animals, of using natural substances as medicines.
  • D-Brief looks at the NASA Dart mission, which will try to deflect the tiny moon of asteroid Didymos in an effort to test asteroid-diversion techniques.
  • io9 reports George R.R. Martin’s belief that Gandalf could beat Dumbledore. I can buy that, actually.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the local reactions to Woodstock.
  • Language Hat looks at the language in a 19th century short story by Nikolai Leskov, concerned with the difficulties of religious conversion for a people whose language does not encompass the concepts of Christianity.
  • Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns and Money links to a book review of his examining the Marshall mission to Nationalist China after the Second World War.
  • Marginal Revolution links to survey results suggesting that, contrary to the Brexit narratives, Britons have actually been getting happier over the past two decades.
  • The NYR Daily reports on an exhibition of the universe of transgressive writer Kathy Acker in London.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the innovative new staging of the queer Canadian classic Lilies at Buddies in Bad Times.
  • Towleroad reports on the progress of Pete Buttigieg.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia and Ukraine are becoming increasingly separated by their very different approaches to their shared Soviet past.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the latest evolutions of English.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • John Quiggin at Crooked Timber suggests that the planet Earth, judging by the progress of space travel to date, is going to be the only planet our species will ever inhabit.
  • D-Brief notes surprising new evidence that maize was domesticated not in Mesoamerica, but rather in the southwest of the Amazon basin.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the penalties proposed by Thomas Jefferson in Virginia for buggery, sodomy, and bestiality.
  • Earther considers the extent to which Thanos’ homeworld of Titan, whether the Saturnian moon or lookalike world, could ever have been habitable, even with extensive terraforming.
  • Hornet Stories notes the interesting light that a study of ideal penis sizes among heterosexual women sheds on studies of sexuality generally.
  • JSTOR Daily takes an extended look at how the sharing economy, promoted by people like Lawrence Lessig and businesses like Airbnb, turned out to be dystopian not utopian, and why this was the case.
  • Victor Mair at Language Log reports on controversy over bread made by a Taiwanese baker, and at the language used.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the latest proof of the decline of Harper’s as a meaningful magazine. (Myself, I lost respect for them when they published an extended AIDS denialist article in 2006.)
  • Allan Metcalfe at Lingua Franca celebrates, using the example of lexicographer Kory Stamper’s new book, how the blog helped him connect with the stars of linguistics.
  • Katherine Franke at the NYR Daily notes pressure from Israel directed against academic critics in the United States.
  • Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society Blog notes how the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has picked up InSight hardware on the surface of Mars below.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes how NASA is running short of Plutonium-238, the radioactive isotope that it needs to power spacecraft like the Voyagers sent on long-duration missions and/or missions far from the sun.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how, based on an excess of deaths over births, the population of Crimea will decline for the foreseeable future.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes a look at some examples of the anaphora, a particular kind of rhetorical structure.

[NEWS] Five science links: Antarctica blood falls, Great Green Wall, Mars, blueberry Earth, blue

  • The mysterious cause of the “blood falls” of Antarctica has been uncovered. VICE’s Motherboard reports.
  • The Great Green Wall of Africa may not have prevented desertification in the Sahel, but it is a project that has left some positive legacies. Smithsonian Magazine reports.
  • Universe Today considers if cyanobacteria could be used to help terraform Mars. (Maybe, though there would still be the planet’s shortages of basic chemicals to deal with.)
  • The Atlantic reports on the almost surprisingly revelatory nature of an Anders Sandberg paper imagining what would to the Earth if it became a mass of blueberries.
  • WBUR reports on the discovery of a new pigment for my favourite colour blue, comprising (among other elements) the rare indium.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 13, 2018 at 10:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes a paper suggesting that a world without plate tectonics could support Earth-like conditions for up to five billion years.
  • D-Brief notes a paper suggesting that, although geoengineering via sulfate could indeed lower global temperatures, reduced light would also hurt agriculture.
  • Dead Things notes a suggestion that the Americas might have been populated through two prehistoric migration routes, through the continental interior via Beringia and along the “Kelp Route” down the Pacific North American coast.
  • Peter Kaufman, writing at the Everyday Sociology Blog, shares some of the impressive murals and street art of Philadelphia and grounds them in their sociological context.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing suggests that social media, far from being a way to satisfy the need for human connection and attention in a mass society, creates a less functional solution.
  • Hornet Stories reports that Turkish Radio and Television vows to remain outside of Eurovision so long as this contest includes queer performers like Conchita Wurst (and other queer themes, too, I don’t doubt).
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on a study suggesting that the oratory of Hitler actually did not swing many votes in the direction of the Nazis in the elections of Germany in 1932.
  • Patricia Escarcega at Roads and Kingdoms praises the Mexican breakfast buffet restaurants of Tucson.
  • Arnold Zwicky meditates on the Boules roses of the Village gay of Montréal, Swiss Chalet, and poutine.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • D-Brief engages with the refusal of Elon Musk to acknowledge that there is not enough carbon dioxide on Mars, in any form, to make terraforming with indigenous resources viable.
  • The Frailest Thing’s L.M. Sacasas thinks of one category of moments, of the last time one does something.
  • Hornet Stories notes the role that trans hacker Emma Best played in leaking Wikileaks’ internal chats, and Julian Assange’s transphobia demonstrated in his response.
  • JSTOR Daily shares some texts and photos linked with summertime available on their archive.
  • Language Hat celebrates its 16th anniversary blogging. Congratulations!
  • Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns and Money imagines what might have happened had the United States not developed the Tomahawk missile.
  • Lingua Franca interviews two Puerto Ricans who attended university in Spain, and what they took from their experiences studying in that country.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution shares what he thinks is a realistic worst-case scenario for the United States’ decline, of productivity never recovering and technology never producing its promised emancipatory potential.
  • The NYR Daily reports on the latest regarding the investigations into Trump. What did he know, and when did he know it?
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel talks about the steps one would need, as an aspiring iconoclast scientist, to disprove an established scientific theory.
  • Van Waffle gives high praise to a book offering advice on creative lifestyles, Creating A Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes how the recently-charted orbit of S2 around Sagittarius A* in the heart of our galaxy proves Einstein’s theory of relativity right.
  • D-Brief notes a recent NASA study of Mars concluding that, because of the planet’s shortfalls in conceivably extractable carbon dioxide, terraforming Mars is impossible with current technology.
  • Dead Things suggests that one key to the rise of Homo sapiens may be the fact that we are such good generalists, capable of adapting to different environments and challenges with speed even if we are not optimized for them. (Poor Neanderthals.)
  • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer examines how individuals’ identities shift as they engage, encountering new problems.
  • Hornet Stories notes that Thailand may well beat Taiwan in creating civil unions for same-sex couples.
  • JSTOR Daily examines the famed, nay iconic, baobab tree of Africa.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders about how, as the centennial of the introduction of women’s suffrage approaches, the white racism of many suffragettes will be dealt with.
  • The Map Room Blog reports on Michael Plichta’s very impressed hand-crafted globe of the Moon.
  • Russell Darnley at Maximos’ Blog reports on the massive forest fires in Indonesia’s Jambi Province.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • James Bow considers the idea of Christian privilege.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the oddities of Ross 128.
  • D-Brief shares Matthew Buckley’s proposal that it is possible to make planets out of dark matter.
  • Dead Things reports on the discoveries at Madjedbebe, in northern Australia, suggesting humans arrived 65 thousand years ago.
  • Bruce Dorminey reports on the idea that advanced civilizations may use sunshades to protect their worlds from overheating. (For terraforming purposes, too.)
  • Language Hat notes the struggles of some Scots in coming up with a rationalized spelling for Scots. What of “hert”?
  • The LRB Blog considers the way in which the unlimited power of Henry VIII will be recapitulated post-Brexit by the UK government.
  • Drew Rowsome quite likes the High Park production of King Lear.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers the idea that Pluto’s moons, including Charon, might be legacies of a giant impact.
  • Unicorn Booty notes the terrible anti-trans “Civil Rights Uniformity Act.” Americans, please act.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers/u> the perhaps-unique way a sitting American president might be charged with obstruction of justice.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at some stunning imagery of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.
  • Inkfish notes that some jumping spiders do not just look like ants, they walk like them, too.
  • Language Log has gentle fun with the trend to develop heat maps for American English dialects.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the idea of disgust as it is made to relate to the homeless.
  • Siva Vijenthira at Spacing considers the particular importance of biking for the independence of women.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers whether or not terraforming Mars is worth it. (Yes, but it will be costly.)
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that China is displacing Russia, despite the latter’s efforts, as the main trade partner of smaller post-Soviet countries.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares an amusing photo of the Wonder Bears of Provincetown.