A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘united kingdom

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that ferry tickets for the Toronto Islands can now be bought online.
  • Discover‘s Crux considers SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering habitable exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars, defends the potential existence of exoplanets at Kapteyn’s Star, and looks at the Epsilon Eridani system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that a second Scottish referendum on independence is possible, according to Alex Salmond.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Mormons are unhappy with the Scouts’ gay-friendly shift.
  • Language Hat considers the history of family name usage in Russia.
  • Languages of the World examines in two posts the argument that primitive peoples have simple languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the strategies of Spanish populist group Podemos.
  • Peter Watts considers the peculiar thing of people lacking large chunks of the brain who nonetheless seem normal.
  • Diane Duane, at Out of Ambit, is quite unhappy with an impending forced upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes how labour-saving technologies improved the lives of women.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers proposals to explore small solar system bodies.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers what would happen if Bernie Sanders won the nomination of the Democratic Party.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to statistics on the population of Abu Dhabi.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the depopulation of South Ossetia and looks at the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostility to Ukraine’s Uniate Catholics.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes that although Labour apparently did a good job of convincing potential voters it was right, it did a worse job of getting them to vote.

[DM] “On ‘The Wetsuitman'”

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I have a post up at Demography matters inspired by a posting on Reddit. Through that site’s Unresolved Mysteries forum, I came across an English-language article in Norway’s Dagbladet, “The Wetsuitman”. Written by Anders Fjellberg and featuring photos by Tomm W. Christiansen and Hampus Lundgren, it’s a superb if very sad piece of investigative journalism that takes two wetsuit-clad bodies found on the shores of the North Sea and uses them to examine such phenomena as Syria’s war refugees and the desperate attempts of migrants to enter the United Kingdom from France.

This is a must-read.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 25, 2015 at 1:12 am

[LINK] “The future of Scots”

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Harry Giles’ Open Democracy essay explores, in English and Scots, the likely prospects of the Scots language, faced with a lack of standards. The status of Scots has interested me for a while, as a speech form that has lacked much recognition or support but has continued nonetheless. (For how long?)

What does it mean that Fiona Hylop, when launching Creative Scotland’s Scots Language Policy this month, stumbled over the part of her speech that was written in Scots?

Government speeches are written in a peculiar idiom of English. We’re used to hearing the empty words of public relations slide smoothly by, and most of the Culture Secretary’s speech was written in this easy tongue. So no wonder that, when she ran into the Scots of her speech’s final lines – words that mixed archaisms, contemporary urbanisms and variant grammatical forms into a new old language, words stuffed with anxieties of class and identity and nation – she was scunnered. To me, it’s grand to think that Scots might still foul the wheels of government.

Hyslop talked about growing up in England with a mother who spoke English for the most part but switched immediately to a rich urban Scots when phoning home.Perhaps, then, unlike the language of government, the words of the policy launch speech seemed strange and unfamiliar anyway: for the most part, they belonged to the literary (but still beautiful and useful) canon of Scots rather than the agile vernacular her mother spoke down the phone. This longed-for language – a formal, standardised Scots suited to journalism and cultural policies – belongs to the government websites of some Scots’ longed-for state, and as such it’s closer to the language of Westminster than the language of Craigmillar.

A language has numerous registers, each suited to different circumstances. Even a technically monolingual person speaks to their closest friends in a different language – with a different, if overlapping, vocabulary, grammar, intonation and pronunciation – than they would in a job interview. A language also has numerous dialects, varying from region to region, some of which might stake a claim to being a language as well. So when Creative Scotland’s Scots Language Policy (laudably) welcomes all the varieties of Scots, what does that mean?

Written by Randy McDonald

July 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO suggests that the Pan Am Games are not turning out to be a disaster.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at innovative designs for fast small space probes.
  • City of Brass celebrates the end of Ramadan.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of Jupiter analogue HIP 11915, and links to a paper arguing that hot Jupiters could evolve into hot Neptunes.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that there are no more large impact craters expected to be found on Earth.
  • A Fistful of Euros notes the latest on surveillance in Germany.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the gay hints in late 1970s Wonder Woman.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the Yemeni capital of Sanaa is running out of water, looks at the hard time of immigrants on the Canadian job market, and notes Singapore’s public campaigns for manners.
  • Russell Darnely of Maximos62 makes the case for a return of the Elgin Marbles to the Parthenon.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell notes a new book on the historical Adam.
  • Torontoist reviews the Stratford Festival.
  • Towleroad notes how Scott Walker tried, pathetically, to backtrack from his anti-gay comments on Scouts.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Dagestani discontent with pollution allegedly produced by the Russian navy in the Caspian, looks at the awkward approach of the Russian Orthodox Church to Orthodox churches in South Ossetia, and argues Kazakhstan is a role model for Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the political economy of the BBC.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about breaking habits.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the detection of geological features on Pluto, shares the flyby schedule, and examines Charon.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a brown dwarf found to have a Venus-sized world in orbit.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the atmospheric polymers of Titan, argues that worlds like Titan and Europa and Enceladus with shells of ice covering water are their own class of worlds, and wonders if Enceladus has a fluffy core.
  • Geocurrents compares Oman with adjacent Yemen, and looks at the Yemeni island of Socotra.
  • Languages of the World shares an atlas of the Dutch provinces in porcelain.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that bankers from Iceland and China seem to have been using shares as collateral, and argues aging in China is overrated.
  • The Planetary Society Blog focuses on Pluto and Charon.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Michoacán in Mexico fails to become a criminalized Sicily because the Mexican criminals were too violent.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell looks at the new papal encyclical on the environment.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the Russian baby bust.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that contrary the internet meme the Oregon bakers were not fined for doxxing the complainants.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian military desertion, the mistreatment of Ukrainians in Russian prisoners, and fears for the prospect of peaceful change in Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the roles of whips in the British political scene.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes that Toronto might be getting its own Arts Biennale like Venice.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the detection of pebbles in the circumstellar disk of DG Tauri.
  • Crooked Timber notes Nietzche’s identification of the origins of trolling.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that inflated hot Jupiters are sufficiently hot and massive to have self-sustaining nuclear fusion.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at ways of improving photosynthesis by genetic engineering.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that a successful Donald Trump run would be as unlikely as a Ronald Reagan run.
  • Marginal Revolution considers the beneficial economic effects of competition between monotheisms.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the advent of interplanetary cubesats.
  • Peter Rukavina remixes a speech on Prince Edward Island to a techno beat.
  • The Search reports from a conference on archiving E-mail.
  • Torontoist tours the Pan-Am Athletes Village and wonders why we can’t plan better.
  • Towleroad notes massive support in Northern Ireland for marriage equality.
  • Window on Eurasia notes ethnic conflict in a binational republic of the North Caucasus and observes political unrest in Yakutia.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • James Bow describes his recent visit to California.
  • City of Brass’ Aziz Poonawalla argues that orthodox Muslims in the United States should celebrate nation-wide same-sex marriage out of their own enlightened self-interest.
  • Centauri Dreams features a guest post from J.M. Nielsen looking at the “zoo hypothesis”.
  • Cody Delistraty examines, with photos, Audrey Hepburn’s lifelong love of Paris.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper noting that very young star MWC 758 seems to be forming planetesimals.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on a woman with a cyborg arm, and examines the history of Mars’ atmosphere loss.
  • Geocurrents maps the relationship between Turkey’s HDP and the Kurds.
  • Kieran Healy looks for sleeping beauty papers in philosophy.
  • Imageo examines the New Horizons‘ photos of Pluto and Charon.
  • Language Hat notes a comparative dictionary of Siouan languages and notes the dynamics of swearing in Québec French.
  • Language Log notes the contribution of an American missionary to the development of Korea’s hangul script.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that low rates of poverty amogn Scandinavians and descendants in the United States has to do with culture not policy, and is scathing about Greece.
  • Peter Rukavina looks inside a hard drive.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog maps Kazakhstan by ethnicity.
  • Torontoist looks at the 1899 Canadian National Exhibition.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World looks at the shared interests of Britain and Australia in Asia.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russians are moving away from identifying Ukrainians as part of their nation, looks at the collapse of the Russian world, and looks at disasters in Sochi.

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