A Bit More Detail

> recent entries
> calendar
> friends

Site Meter
since 7 July 2005

Do you have any suggestions? Propose them here!

My Amazon.ca Wishlist

Where else am I online?
Demography Matters (group blog)

History and Futility (group blog)

Me on Flickr (randyfmcdonald)

Me on Twitter (@randyfmcdonald)

Me on YouTube

News and Information
Eye Weekly
Google News (Canada, English)
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Inter Press Service
National Post
NOW Toronto
The Toronto Star (Toronto)

Selected Blogs
3 Quarks Daily
80 Beats (Andrew Moseman, Brett Israel)
A BCer in Toronto (Jeff Jedras)
Acts of Minor Treason (Andrew Barton)
Andart (Anders Sandberg)
Alpha Sources (Claus Vistesen)
Amitai Etzioni Notes (Amitai Etzioni)
Amused Cynicism (Phil Hunt)
'Aqoul (The Lounsbury, Eerie and Matthew Hogan)
Arctic Progress (Anatoly Karlin)
Aufbau Ost (Melanie K.)
Bad Astronomy (Phil Plait)
BAGnewsNotes (Alan Chin, Nina Berman, and John Lucaites)
Bear Left
Behind the Numbers (Population Reference Bureau)
Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)
BlueJacket 1862
Bonoboland (Edward Hugh)
Bow. James Bow.
Broadsides (Antonia Zerbisias)
Burgh Diaspora (Jim Russell)
A (Budding) Sociologist's Commonplace Book (Dan Hirschman)
Gerry Canavan's blog
Castrovalva (Richard R.)
Centauri Dreams (Paul Gilster)
Charlie's Diary (Charlie Stross)
City of Brass (Aziz Poonawalla)
Crooked Timber
Crossing Toronto (Nick Merzetti)
.:czalex:. (czalex)
[daily dose of imagery] (Sam Javanrouh)
Daniel Drezner
The Dragon's Tales (William Baird)
Draxblog III (Dragan Antulov)
The Early Days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod)
Eastern Approaches (Economist blog)
Economic Woman (Allison Martell)
Francesca Elston
Emergent Urbanism (Mathieu Helie)
English Eclectic (Paul Halsall)
Eszter's Blog (Eszter Hargittai)
Everyday Sociology Blog
Extraordinary Observations (Rob Pitingolo)
False Positives (Ian Irving)
Far Outliers (Joel)
A Fistful of Euros
t h e FORVM
Future Babble (Dan Gardner)
Neil Gaiman's Journal Gay Guy, Straight Guy
Gene Expression (Razib et al)
GeoCurrentsEvents (Martin Lewis and Asya Pereltsvaig)
Global Sociology
The Glory of Carniola (Michael Manske)
Dan Goodman's journal
Grumpy Academic
Halfway Down the Danube (Douglas Muir et al.)
The Head Heeb (Jonathan Edelstein)
Hobson's Choice (James R. MacLean)
How to learn Swedish in 1000 difficult lessons (Francis Strand)
Hunting Monsters and inuit bikini scarlet carwash
Infinite Recursion (Stephen Degrace)
Inkless Wells (Paul Wells)
Intuitionistically Uncertain (Michel)
The Invisible College (Nicholas Li, Richard Norman, Otto Spijkers and Jason Strother)
Itching for Eestimaa (Guistino)
Ivor Tossell on the Web
Jim's Occasional Journal of Sorts (Jim Rittenhouse)
Joe.My.God (Joe)
Johnny Pez's blog
Karl Schroeder's blog
Keep Your Coils Clean (Patrick Banks)
Kieran Healy's Weblog
La Grande Anse (Yuri Dieujuste)
Language Hat
Language Log (Mark Liberman et al.)
Larkvi.com weblog (Sean Winslow)
law21.ca (Jordan Furlong)
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
The Long Game (Matt Warren
The Long View (John J. Reilly)
Lost & Found (Erin Gallé)
Love and Fiction (Clifford)
The Map Room (Jonathan Crowe
Marginal Revolution (Tyler Cowen)
Marginalia (Peteris Cedrins)
Mark MacKinnon's blog
Mark Simpson
mathewingram.com/work (Mathew Ingram)
Maximos' Blog (Russell Darnley)
Michael's Bloor-Lansdowne Blog
Michael in Norfolk: Coming Out in Mid Life More Words, Deeper Hole (James Nicoll)
murderingmouth (Mark Kratt)
Networks, Complexity, and Relatedness (Patti Anklam)
The Naked Anthropologist (Laura Agustín)
New APPS blog (group blog)
Nissology PEI (Hans Connor)
No Moods, Ads or Cutesy Fucking Icons (Re-reloaded) (Peter Watts)
Normblog (Norman Geras)
The Numerati (Stephen Baker
Open the Future (Jamais Cascio)
Otto's Random Thoughts (J. Otto Pohl)
Outsourced (Nick Moles)
The Pagan Prattle (Feòrag)
Passing Strangeness (Paul Drye)
patrickcain.ca (Patrick Cain)
pencilprism (Jen Tse) Personal Reflections (Jim Belshaw)
Photosapience Daily (Jerrold)
Pollotencheg (Ukrainian demography blog)
The Power and the Money (Noel Maurer)
Progressive Download (John Farrell)
Purse Lip, Square Jaw (Anne Galloway)
Quiet Babylon (Tim Maly)
Registan (group blog)
Russian Demographic Live Journal (Ba-ldei Aga)
A Rusty Little Box (Rebecca)
Savage Minds
Say It With Pie (Karen Whaley)
The Search (Douglas Todd)
Sharp Blue (Richard Baker)
Siberian Light (Andy Young)
The Signal
Slap Upside the Head (Mark)
Some Ramblings from Mr. Gueguen
Space and Culture
Michael Steeleworthy
Steve Munro
Strange Maps
Sublime Oblivion (Anatoly Karlin)
Supernova Condensate
Tall Penguin
Technology, Books, and Other Neat Stuff (Simon Bisson)
Technosociology(Zeynep Tufekci)
The Tin Man (Jeff)
Towleroad (Andy Towle)
The Undercover Economist (Tim Harford)
Understanding Society (Daniel Little)
Volokh Conspiracy
A Voyage to Arcturus (Jay Manifold)
Wasatch Economics (Scott Peterson)
Wave Without A Shore (C.J. Cherryh)
The Way the Future Blogs (Frederik Pohl)
Weird is Relative (Zarq)
Whatever (John Scalzi)
Window on Eurasia (Paul Goble)
Wis(s)e Words (Martin Wisse)
Words & Pictures (Mark Dandridge)
The Yorkshire Ranter (Alex Harrowell)
The Zeds (Michael Steeleworthy)
Zero Geography (Mark Graham)

Who links to me?

> profile
> previous 20 entries

Saturday, April 19th, 2014
11:41 am - [PHOTO] Looking south on downtown Toronto from Bathurst at Davenport
Looking south on downtown Toronto from Bathurst at Davenport

I was walking south on Bathurst Street when I almost reached Davenport Road, realized the vista that the utility poles were framing, and took a picture.

(comment on this)

Friday, April 18th, 2014
11:59 pm - [PHOTO] Jim & Susan's Motel, by Ken Lum, at the Drake Hotel
Jim & Susan's Motel, by Ken Lum, at the Drake Hotel

I rather liked Ken Lum's 2000 mixed-media work, displayed inside the Drake Hotel; as part of its permanent collection. Whimsy is nice.

(comment on this)

10:19 pm - [PHOTO] Looking south at the CN Tower and the Shangri-La Toronto
Looking south at the CN Tower and the Shangri-La Toronto

This south-facing photo at Queen and University takes in the CN Tower in the background, and the tall steel-and-blue Shangri-La Toronto hotel/condos to left. As the hotel's Wikipedia page notes that the building is a landmark: one of Toronto's tallest towers, one of its deepest-dug foundations, one of several that has seen falling glass.

(comment on this)

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
8:15 pm - [BRIEF NOTE] On Kepler-163f, first rocky planet found in a circumstellar habitable zone
This NASA press release regarding the discovery of exoplanet Kepler-186f, the most potentially Earth-like planet so far discovered, was very widely circulated earlier today. And for good reason.

Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth.

[. . .]

Although the size of Kepler-186f is known, its mass and composition are not. Previous research, however, suggests that a planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky.

"We know of just one planet where life exists -- Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth," said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science. "Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward."

[. . .]

Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130-days and receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun, placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone. On the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as our sun appears to us about an hour before sunset.

"Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has," said Thomas Barclay, research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames, and co-author of the paper. "Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth."

The discovery paper, "An Earth-Sized Planet in the Habitable Zone of a Cool Star", is unfortunately gated, but data seems to be consistent. The planet's star, Kepler-186, a relatively bright red dwarf a bit less than half the mass of our sun, is not very different Lalande 21185, a nearby star itself often suspected of hosting planets.

The Planetary Habitability Laboratory's press release notes that the world is likely not very Earth-like, in that if it had an Earth-like atmosphere it would be very cold.

Kepler-186f has a similar size to Earth and it is most likely a rocky world. It orbits the M-dwarf star Kepler-186 along with four other inner planets, which are as old as the Solar System (>4 Gyr), in the constellation Cygnus 500 light years away. Kepler-186f receives less stellar flux (~32%) than presently does Mars (~43%). It could have a temperate climate if it has an atmosphere much denser than Earth. Even Earth probably experienced at least one episode of global glaciation with just a slightly lower stellar flux than today, 650 million years ago. However, early Mars had running surface liquid water with a similar stellar flux as Kepler-186f.

Kepler-186f was added to the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog with a low Earth Similarity Index (ESI) of 0.64 due to its potential colder climate. Still, it could be a more Earth-like world if it is experiencing a much higher greenhouse effect than Earth. Nevertheless, Kepler-186f is also the best candidate now of a rocky world in the habitable zone compared to the other known potentially habitable worlds.

Still, this is a remarkable discovery, and an evocative one too. I can imagine a world of cold glacial seas, one side permanently under its reddish sun and the other locked away. What else might be there? Examining the world's atmosphere for potential signs of life--free oxygen, perhaps--is a must for the next generation of exoplanet researchers.

(1 comment | comment on this)

7:05 am - [PHOTO] Looking west across University at Queen West
Looking west across University at Queen West

Campbell House, built in 1822 and transported to its current location in 1972, is dwarfed by the Canada Life Building (built 1929-1931) to right and by the much more recent 180 Queen West to left.

(comment on this)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
11:57 pm - [LINK] "Generation Z"
Seen on my blogroll, science fiction writer Charlie Stross argues that dystopian young adult fiction is so popular because young adults in developed countries are plausibly expecting dystopia in their own futures.

So: low or stagnant income, the services my generation depended on and took for granted will no longer exist or be private monopolies, you either take on a crushing debt burden or consign yourself to unskilled labour for life, the cost of housing is an unsuperable barrier. To that you can add childcare costs: it's estimated that the cost of day care for one infant is around 70-80% of the average female wage. One ray of hope for Generation Y is rising life expectancy—but by the same token the retirement age is rising, because there's no way that working for 40 years can cover the costs of education and housing debt and a pension or annuity that will support you for another 25-30 years. Generation Y will probably work until they become too infirm, some time in their late 70s to early 80s, then experience the final 3-5 year period of decline in poor health and poverty if this goes on (because of course we're talking about the state of the nation between 2060 and 2080).

If you follow this blog you already know my views on how we have created a security panopticon surveillance state the like of which would have given the East German Stasi wet dreams. Generation Y have come of age in this state; to the Millennial generation, East Germany probably looks like a near-utopia. (You have a 90% chance of your phone conversations not being bugged, and the state will pay for your education, housing, and healthcare! What's not to like?)

There has been a boom market in dystopian young adult fiction over the past decade. There is a reason for this. Play and recreation is an important training mechanism in young mammals by which they practice or rehearse activities that will fit them for later adult life experiences. (It's also fun, but bear with me while I discuss the more ploddingly puritan angle for a moment.) Could it be that the popularity of YA dystopias reflects the fact that our youngest generation of readers expect to live out their lives in dystopia? (The alternative explanations hold that (a) high school in the age of helicopter parenting, fingerprint readers in the library, and CCTV in the corridors is an authoritarian dystopia anyway, and YA dys-fic helps kids understand their environment; and (b) that worse, their parents (who influence their reading) think this.)

What is to be done? There's some discussion in the comments about potential individual and societal strategies, for what it's worth.

(1 comment | comment on this)

4:02 pm - [LINK] On the affair of John Waters and homophobia
Some days ago, Joe. My. God. linked to an interview in the Irish Independent with journalist John Waters. Waters, recently the subject of wide criticism across Ireland and the world for homophobic statements, is unhappy that people aren't happy with his bigoted statements and are saying so.

"I was walking down the street and a guy on a bicycle shouted 'you f***ing homophobe' at me before cycling on. I was in a coffee shop on another occasion and a woman waddled over to me with a pram and told me I should be ashamed of myself before walking off. They are cowards, they shout something and keep walking, they don't want to engage.

"I was frightened almost in a metaphysical way, that people could be so full of hatred. That, in accusing me of hatred, they could manifest a hatred infinitely greater than anything I could possibly imagine."

[. . .]

Describing the lowest point, he said it was the realisation that no one would speak out in his defence.

"You have a certain hope that somebody, somewhere knows you for who you are, you kind of have some kind of naive hope that one of these people are going to stand up and say 'hang on, this is wrong, this is not this guy' and that moment never came."

[. . .]

In a passionate interview, Waters also defended previous statements he made on gay marriage and adoption which have landed him in hot water.

Questioning gay adoption, he drew parallels with two brothers taking paternal responsibility of a child.

"If two brothers who love each other in a particular way decide 'we would like to adopt a child' this society would regard that as an absurdity, they would laugh them out of court.

"Yet if two men who are involved in a sexual relationship go forward to adopt a child we are told now, that should be okay? I find that really hard to understand, intellectually. Why is it that it is okay but it is not okay for two brothers or two straight men? I think that's a legitimate point."

He went on to describe as 'satirical' the fight to introduce gay marriage, when the core of the traditional family unit remains so broken.

"There is something fundamentally wrong to go off then and to come up with a peripheral issue, which gay marriage is in my view, and to deal with that first, when the raw bloody core of our family law and our family life in this country . . . that is satire. It is a mockery of reality to actually deal with something so peripheral and marginal, when there is such a wound at the heart of our culture. So I make no apologies for calling it a satire. It is satirical."

He defended his use of the word 'buggery', questioning why anyone would take offence to the term.

"People are selectively finding things offensive to suit themselves. But what is so offensive about the word buggery? I mean it's a phenomenon, it's a word to describe a physical function. My definition is anal penetration by men. It is very clear what it means. It is a term to describe a physical function, end of story. Why is it offensive? If the act is not offensive to people, why should the word to describe it be offensive?"

(3 comments | comment on this)

12:53 pm - [BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • 3 Quarks Daily asks whether parenthood is morally respectable.

  • blogTO has vintage photos of Toronto's neighbourhood of Corktown.

  • Centauri Dreams notes that a small moon may be condensing out of Saturn's Ring A.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes evidence that close-orbiting "hot Jupiters" influence their stars.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes continuing progress in teasing out evidence of Neandertal ancestry from current populations.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that some Muslim cab drivers in Cleveland refuse to drive cabs with signs advertising the upc9oming Gay Games.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes on the minor scandal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's non-receipt of a symbolic degree from Brandeis University.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen seems unduly skeptical about Norway's program of buying books by local authors for libraries, so as to subsidize literary production.

  • New APPS Blog contrasts the open citizenship of the Roman Republic with the closed citizenship of the Greek city-states, with Carthage being somewhere in between.

  • Towleroad explores continuing controversy around the use of Truvada as an alternative to condoms in HIV/AIDS prevention.

  • Transit Toronto notes the closing of several streets, notably Church Street, in downtown Toronto on the occasion of former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty's funeral.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that contemporary Russians like their country's open egress to the world and wouldn't be pleased by transit restrictions, and observes that ethnic Russians in Estonia seem to be mobilizing against Russian annexation.

  • </li>

(comment on this)

10:17 am - [PHOTO] Canada Life Building, April 2014
I took this photo of the Canada Life Building, looking west from the other side of University Avenue, late on Monday. The quality of the light interacting with the stonework was such that I couldn't resist.

Canada Life Building, April 2014

(comment on this)

Monday, April 14th, 2014
12:50 pm - [BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO shares a visual history of the Toronto Islands. (I really will have to get there this year.)

  • At Broadside Blog, Caitlin Kelly draws lessons from the experience of a journalist who literally overworked himself to death. When should people note their limits?

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes that close-orbiting hot Neptune GJ 436b, even with its comet-like tail produced by heating from its sun, isn't going to lose its atmosphere.

  • Eastern Approaches notes that Poland's Donald Tusk is presiding over new military spending inspired by the Ukrainian crisis.

  • The Financial Times' The World blog and Eastern Approaches both deal with the international consequences of ongoing Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine, the former calling for broad sanctions.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders if the Russian-majority city of Narva in northeastern Estonia will be the next target of Russia.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer discusses the implication of Russian gas price increases for Ukraine.

  • Torontoist notes the impact of CBC's announced job cuts.

  • Towleroad links to a teaser for the new HBO movie version of The Lonely Heart and reports on Barbra Streisand's explanation as to why she couldn't get the movie made.

  • Une heure de peine's Denis Colombi writes (in French) about the sociology of working hours in France and among the French.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that rising xenophobia in Russia is alienating many non-Russians and reports on one Russia who argues that there isn't a necessary conflict between liberalism and imperialism.

(comment on this)

Friday, April 11th, 2014
8:46 pm - [BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO shares vintage pictures of Toronto's Ossington Avenue.

  • Centauri Dreams reports on the potential discovery of an exomoon of a rogue planet.

  • D-Brief notes that stars can apparently form in nebulae of much lower density than previous believed.

  • The Frailest Thing quotes Hannah Arendt on the race between success and catastrophe.

  • Geocurrents takes a look at the deeply divided island of Cyprus.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Utah is now trying to block gay adoption.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money's Erik Loomis is critical of American outcry regarding French labour laws limiting work-related communications after 6 pm.

  • Torontoist notes that Rob Ford is now a protagonist in a custom faction of the venerable game Civilization.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy quotes Frederick Douglass' sage words on Chinese immigration.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russians are willing to support Putin so long as nothing bad happens and notes that Russians are emigrating from the Siberian republic of Tuva.

(1 comment | comment on this)

12:56 pm - [PHOTO] The last of the sun at Camp Buchan
The last of the sun at Camp Buchan (1)

The last of the sun at Camp Buchan (2)

The last of the sun at Camp Buchan (3)

The last of the sun at Camp Buchan (4)

The last of the sun at Camp Buchan (5)

(comment on this)

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
11:59 pm - [BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at how the inability to make contact with the long-departed ISEE-3 probe offers hints as to the problems with long-duration spaceflight.

  • The Dragon's Gaze considers Beta Pictoris' planets, one paper considering the orbit of Beta Pictoris b and another wondering if the identified planet might in fact be massive dust clouds from planetesimal collisions.

  • The Dragon's Tales explores the latest in Ukraine.

  • Far Outliers notes the collapse of Japanese forces in Papua New Guinea, from Phillip Bradley's Hell's Battlefield (1, 2, 3).

  • A Fistful of Euros' Alex Harrowell considers the extent to which electronic communications are compromisable.

  • The Planetary Society Blog celebrates Yuri's Night, an upcoming celebration of spaceflight on the 12th of this month.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders how many Salvadorans were displaced from Honduras after the Soccer War of 1968 and considers certain parallels in ethnic minority politics between French Algeria and Russian Crimea.

  • Strange Maps notes that Portugal's territory is almost entirely water, a combination of its extensive coastline, associated seas, and dispersed archipelagos.

  • Transit Toronto notes that the stretch of Yonge subway by Eglinton will be closed down this Saturday owing to emergency repairs.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi describes the many ways in which he has sold his books.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Kazakhstan is taking greater care regarding the Russian language after Crimea, and notes pressures in Kyrgyzstan.

    (comment on this)

    10:22 pm - [PHOTO] Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport (take 2)
    Back on the 8th of February, I posted a photo I took on the tarmac of Toronto Pearson International Airport of a nearby Air Transat jet.

    Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport

    At the time, I thought it was the only good picture I had. Silly me! I actually had two more buried deeper in my Flickr account.

    Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport (1)

    Taken on the tarmac, Pearson International Airport (2)

    I think I prefer the first one.

    (comment on this)

    8:27 pm - [PHOTO] Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide
    Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide (1)

    Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide (2)

    Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide (3)

    Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide (4)

    Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide (5)

    Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide (6)

    Standing on the shore at Camp Buchan, Prince Edward Island, at sunset and at low tide (7)

    (comment on this)

    3:15 pm - [PHOTO] Looking east, Hayden Street east of Yonge
    Looking east, Hayden Street east of Yonge

    (comment on this)

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
    7:03 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "What will Toronto be like in 2067? Probably not like this"
    blogTO's Chris Bateman reports on a 1967 set of predictions by The Globe and Mail about Toronto in 2067, two centuries after Canada's formation. Frankly, this future sounds terribly dystopian.

    "North American cities may face nuclear demolition or cultural collapse," John Burchard, dean of the school of humanities and social studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ominously warned at the start of the story. "If, however, they escape both, they might become beautiful."


    "Toronto will be totally urbanized by 2067," reporter Betty Lee wrote. "The majority of urban-orientated Torontonians will prefer the inbuilt efficiency of the mile-high apartment building or the 20-mile long, continuous metro building of fused apartments, factories, roads, universities, hospitals, and shopping facilities."

    (Lee seems to have been talking about Metro Centre, the later aborted plan to redevelop a large swath of abandoned downtown railway lands that gave rise to the CN Tower.)

    "About a million persons will choose to live in pre-packaged, one-family dwelling units," many of them located in 100-floor towers near the water front.

    In 2067, buildings, all built on stilts for reasons for some reason, sit among landscaped lawns and parks, she writes. Downtown is home to a "three-harbor hydrofoil" port and air terminal, but most people get around via "electrically powered hovercraft," which are stored in skyscraper garages. (That classic sci-fi invention the people tube makes an appearance, but only for inter-city travel.)

    (1 comment | comment on this)

    3:31 pm - [BLOG] Some Wednesday links

    • Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait revisits the skydiver/meteorite video. It looks like it was just a rock in the chute.

    • Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about the benefits of leaving one's comfort zone.

    • At False Steps, Paul Drye presents the life of Mercury capsule designer Max Faget.

    • A Fistful of Euros' Doug Merrill warns (1, 2) about the growing scope of Russia's actions in Ukraine.

    • The Financial Times' Gideon Rachman argues that Russia under Putin is trying to destroy the current Ukrainian state.

    • Joe. My. God. notes that the two daughters of Lyndon Baines Johnson think that American president would likely support same-sex marriage based on his principles.

    • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Scott Lemieux celebrates the defeat of the Parti Québécois as something that would protect religious freedom.

    • Marginal Revolution hosts a discussion in the comments surrounding the economic policies of Narendra Modi, aspirant for the Indian presidency.

    • John Moyer writes about the virtues of revisiting some books (here, James Joyce's Dubliners).

    • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders if Russian expansion into Ukraine will encourage imperialism generally and wonders how the ZunZuneo social networking project in Cuba was supposed to prmote democracy.

    • At the Russian Demographics blog, the author notes that Russia stands out not only among European countries but among the BRICs.

    • Window on Eurasia holds that Ukrainian Muslims prefer Ukraine to Russia and argues in favour of a sustained policy of non-recognition of Crimea's annexation.

    (comment on this)

    8:43 am - [PHOTO] Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset
    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (1)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (2)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (3)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (4)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (5)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (6)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (7)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (8)

    Roaming the beach at Camp Buchan at sunset (9)

    (comment on this)

    Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
    11:56 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Rob Ford adds Ben Johnson, Trailer Park Boys actor to campaign team"
    I thought this news was a joke when I heard it, but no, it's got multiple citations. The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale reported that disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and a minor actor from the television show Trailer Park Boys are

    Rob Ford, known internationally for his illegal drug use, emerged from his office on Tuesday afternoon to announce a new member of his campaign team: disgraced former sprinter Ben Johnson, known internationally for his illicit steroid use.

    Johnson was stripped of the gold medal he had won for Canada at the 1988 Olympics with the help of a banned substance. He received a lifetime ban from competition after a second failed test in 1993.

    Ford is seeking the redemption never granted to Johnson. Asked about Johnson’s past, he returned to his familiar refrain about forgiving errors.

    “You know what? I support Ben 100 per cent,” Ford said. “We’ve all made mistakes in life. I’ve supported him from day one. And that’s the bottom line.”

    [. . .]

    Joining them was Sam Tarasco, an actor from Trailer Park Boys, a Canadian television comedy about petty criminals.

    Ford referred to him as “Cave,” short for “caveman,” an insult used on the show to describe his character, Sam Losco, who lost a trailer park election after he was drugged before a campaign speech.

    Johnson and Tarasco are the first prominent people to sign on to Ford’s team, other than brother and campaign manager Doug Ford. Rob Ford said they would be joining him at events.

    (3 comments | comment on this)

    > previous 20 entries
    > top of page