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
CBC
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)
Anthropology.net
'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)
blogTO
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
Cartophilia
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)
Electropublication
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)
io9
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)
landscape+urbanism
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
Spacing.ca
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)
Torontoist
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)
Wonkman
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
> next 20 entries

Monday, April 7th, 2014
12:45 pm - [BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait evaluates a video of a skydiver almost hit by a meteroroid and finds it plausible.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting that we don't know which processes lead to stars and which to brown dwarfs.

  • Language Log's Mark Liberman notes interesting gendered pronoun usage in a new science fiction novel.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is not sympathetic towards Brandon Eich and argues that multicultural accomodation isn't inherently irrational.

  • Marginal Revolution seems to have grudging respect for Michael Lewis' new book Flash Boys.

  • Towleroad notes the recent statement of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, that embracing same-sex marriage could inadvertently lead to the persecution and murder of Christians around in the world, particularly in Africa. (One finds one's allies where one can.

  • At Window on Eurasia, note is made of various arguments: one argues that Russian national identity is synthetic and assimilatory; another argues that, given Ukrainian public opinion, Russia's only prospects for further expansion lie in force; still another takes note of Eurasianist threats against Azerbaijan.

(comment on this)

Sunday, April 6th, 2014
5:25 pm - [PHOTO] Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (2)
Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (8)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (9)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (10)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (11)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (12)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (13)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (14)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (15)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (16)

(comment on this)

Saturday, April 5th, 2014
7:17 pm - [FORUM] How far will social networking, and the market, penetrate our lives?
I'm continuing to meditate on Adam Fish and John Carter McKnight's Savage Minds essay. Their argument that the penetration of social networking and online life into every area of life will allow every area of life to be charted on the market is plausible to me.

Is it plausible to you?

(1 comment | comment on this)

4:45 pm - [LINK] "Beyond Surveillance Fridges and Socialized Power Drills"
At Savage Minds, Adam Fish and John Carter McKnight have an extended essay arguing--convincingly, I think--that the elaboration of online life and social networking is extending capitalism to altogether new areas of private life.

As kids growing up in Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” 80s we endured a lot of propaganda regarding drugs. One was the myth of the “gateway drug.” We were told that drugs like marijuana with few medically provable harms were highly dangerous because they were gateways to harder more evil drugs. Gateway drugs are like linkbait, hooks that bring unwitting subjects from a one innocuous practice to one more pernicious.

Morozov claims that social media is a gateway drug for the financial sector to hook us on a new range of products and services, while increasing its control over our lives. We hear that the dark insides of our mouths, fridges, rubbish bins, and cars will be scrutinized by networked and image-recognizing surveillance cameras. Videos will be algorithmically analyzed producing “data portfolios” which will be automatically used (for a fee) by third parties to adjudicate our credit worthiness, employability, and romantic fitness. As longtime admirers of Morozov’s guts and wit we’ve been pleased to see him begin (finally) to use the name and identify the problem head-on—neoliberal capitalism galvanized by ubiquitously networked humans.

In making this argument, Morozov brings together two academic terms and says that they are co-constituting: mediatization and financialization. Mediatization claims that social practices are increasingly linked to media performance. We do it for the camera. Presidential elections, of course, are a key example of mediatization, in which every utterance, campaign stop, handshake, and tweet is delicately engineered towards manipulating the 24-hour news cycle. Mediatization assumes a new level of embeddedness in encounters with persistent, searchable, archivable, user-generated social media, a process we call social mediatization. The “social” qualifies the “mediatization” by identifying a new phase in which information is not broadcast from corporations or politicians to a passive audience, but generated and shared constantly among people, businesses, and governments.

Financialization works much like social mediatization: both identify the ways that foreign logics (financial or mediated) find their way into once-private and domestic spheres. Classic examples of financialization include online banking at home, stock investing as a hobby, and other forms of money management which were once “work” but are now billed as necessary and mature forms of personal responsibility and risk management for the middle classes.


Basically, late capitalism. The authors end their article by sharing Evgeny Morozov's vision of an "all too likely future of trying to level up our gamified toothbrushes to lower our dental insurance premiums."

(comment on this)

2:01 pm - [BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross wonders why we need to work so long when productivity and per capita wealth have skyrocketed.

  • At the Broadside Blog, Caitlin Kelly describes a week in her life as a writer.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting that ancient Population III stars could, in theory, have rocky planets.

  • The Dragon's Tales warns that the Japanese economy is about to tank.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that young conservative Ben Shapiro is now boycotting Mozilla after Brandon Eich's departure.

  • Savage Minds has an essay by anthropologist Elizabeth Chin suggesting that Lamilly, a new anatomically-correct doll, won't take off because issues with beauty are much more deeply embedded in the culture than the designers believe.

  • The Signal examines the proliferation of E-mail storage formats.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy's Jonathan Adler doesn't like the pressure applied to Brandon Eich.

  • Window on Eurasia has two posts warning that Crimea's annexation to Russia will destabilize the Russian Federation, one arguing that ethnic minorities and their republics will be put in a state of flux, the other arguing that Russian nationalists will be upset by the concession of so many rights to Crimean Tatars.

(comment on this)

10:29 am - [PHOTO] Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (1)
Camp Buchan is largely located on second-generation forest, an ecosystem that formed after the land the Scout camp was located on stopped being used for farming. In turn, many of the further outposts of the Camp, especially the cabins located in the camp's interior and the large common areas of grass carved out of the woods, have been following their environment's suit.

Twilight was coming as I took these photos, and I experimented with camera settings a bit here. Opinions on the effects are eagerly solicited.

Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (1)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (2)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (3)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (4)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (5)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (6)


Among the trees and cabins of Camp Buchan (7)

(comment on this)

2:45 am - [PHOTO] Campfire site, Camp Buchan
Campfire site, Camp Buchan


I remember this very circle from my days as an adolescent. The only substantial change has been the rapid advance of the ocean, unseen, to left.

(comment on this)

Friday, April 4th, 2014
11:58 pm - [PHOTO] A rainy afternoon on Bathurst at St. Clair, looking east
A rainy afternoon on Bathurst at St. Clair, looking east


There was something very lovely about the precipitation that hit Toronto on the afternoon of Friday, April the 4th. It was liquid! Warmth, and spring, are lovely.

(comment on this)

7:14 pm - [BLOG] Some Friday links

  • D-Brief shares the news that scientists think that Saturn's moon Enceladus has a subsurface ocean in its southern polar region.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a remarkable paper claiming that red dwarf stars are exceptionally likely to have a planet in their circumstellar habitable zones.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to an other paper on Mars suggesting that world was never very hot, even in its youth.

  • Eastern Approaches suggests that Poland is approaching the point of relative energy-independence from Russia.

  • The Financial Times The World blog reports on the failure of a US-subsidized Cuban social networking system.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas links to an account of an 1895 conversation between Paul Valéry and a Chinese friend suggesting that Chinese may have had different perspectives on technology than Westerners.

  • Geocurrents' Martin Lewis notes Ukrainian regionalism, observing that the Europe-leaning west/centre region has inside it a strongly nationalist Galicia and a regionalist Ruthene-leaning Transcarpathia.

  • Joe. My. God. points to the story of a Floridian sex offender who tried to burn down the home of a lesbian couple and their eight children just because.

  • Personal Reflection's Jim Belshaw explores the origin of the word "bogey" in Australian English to mean swimming hole.

  • The Planetary Society Blog's Bruce Betts reports on the progress made in the search for planets at Alpha Centauri. (So far, no evidence for Alpha Centauri Bb, but then the technology isn't sensitive enough to confirm that world's existence.)

  • Towleroad reports on the controversy surrounding the recent resignation of former Mozilla Brandon Eich, Andrew Sullivan aligning with left-wingers and Michael Signorile making the point that Eich's donations to people like Pat Buchanan tipped things over.

  • Window on Eurasia comments on the successful program of the Kazakhstani government to settle ethnic Kazakhs in the once-Russian-majority north of the country so as to prevent a secession.

(comment on this)

3:04 pm - [NEWS] Some Friday links

  • Al Ahram notes that, as Ukraine is starting to turn towards the European Union, Russia is doubling down on its Eurasian Union project.

  • Al Jazeera notes that the Russian Orthodox Church is more skeptical of the costs of Crimea's annexation than the Russian state, for fear of losing followers in Ukraine.

  • The Atlantic Cities commemorated the brief return of Major League Baseball to Montréal a decade after the Expos' death with a Toronto Blue Jays away game, shares pictures of London's first cat cafe, and maps imbalances in supply and demand in New York City's popular but troubled bike share program.

  • Bloomberg notes how IKEA's dreams for expansion in Ukraine were undermined by corruption.

  • Bloomberg BusinessWeek chronicles falling Japanese stock prices, warns that Russia is becoming a junior partner of China, and notes the threats facing Ukrainian agriculture.

  • CNET examines the story behind the iconic Windows XP photo "Bliss".

  • Global Voices Online hints, by way of a recent quitting, that Ukrainians might be disenchanted with Russian-owned Livejournal.

  • The Guardian notes that the Australian city of Darwin is a military garrison par excellence, and observes that Bulgaria has derived some benefit from the Greek economic collapse as businesses have migrated north.

  • MacLean's suggests that Ukraine can be anchored into the West if it can experience Polish-style prosperity.

  • National Geographic News takes another look at the proposed Nicaragua Canal project.

  • Radio Free Europe notes that a Russian plan to institute fast-tract citizenship procedures for professionals has sparked fears of brain drain in Central Asia, observes the effects that currency devaluation has had on immigrants in Kazakhstan, and comments that Afghanistan's support for Russia's annexation of Crimea has much to do with Afghanistan's long-standing irredentism aimed at Pakistan.

(comment on this)

6:24 am - [PHOTO] Looking northeast, Church and Maitland
Looking northeast, Church and Maitland


I took this photograph of the intersection of Church and Maitland late on the 21st of March, arguably the first warm day this year. Located in the Church and Wellesley just one block south of the intersection that gives the gaybourhood its name, the Church and Maitland intersection arguably has. Most of the gay bars in the Village is concentrated in its immediate area, for instance.

The business at the center of this picture is the Church St. Garage, which opened last year in the place of the departed Village Rainbow.

(comment on this)

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
8:05 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Population Growth in New York City Is Reversing Decades-Old Trend, Estimates Show"
The New York Times' Sam Roberts reported on trends in migration in New York City, where international immigration more than compensates for losses in migration to other parts of the United States.

For the third consecutive year, New York City last year gained more people than it lost through migration, reversing a trend that stretched to the mid-20th century.

For the year ending July 1, 2013, an influx of foreigners combined with a continuing decline in the loss of migrants to other states increased the population by more than 61,000, nudging it past 8.4 million for the first time, according to estimates to be released on Thursday by the United States Census Bureau.

Every borough registered a gain in population. Even the Bronx, a traditional laggard, recorded a rate nearly as high as top-ranked Brooklyn and Manhattan. While Manhattan and the Bronx lost more people to migration than they gained, the difference was made up by more births than deaths.

“Growth is now quite robust, much more so than it was in the last decade,” said Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College of the City University of New York. “These new numbers show that New York City now has recouped the roughly 250,000 population that was estimated but not found in the city by the 2010 census.”

Joseph J. Salvo, director of the population division for the Department of City Planning, estimated that the number of New Yorkers had grown by 2.8 percent since 2010.

“That’s big,” he said.

(comment on this)

5:16 pm - [LINK] "Exiled from home, Nigeria’s gay community builds new life in US"
Al Jazeera America's Lisa De Bode has a nice extended article examining the formation of a LGBT Nigerian exile community in New York City.

Michael Ighodaro slowly rose to his feet, his bloodshot eyes scanning the room for support. The young man, who is HIV-positive, is a regular at these meetings, where he works with advocates of New York City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to address issues of HIV education. Tonight, he invited those in attendance to participate in an international protest against Nigeria’s anti-gay legislation to be held on Friday, drawing encouraging comments from the audience.

“We want to get the world to know what’s going on in Nigeria,” he said. “Make it more aware that it’s a serious issue and that they should do something about it.”

In his native Nigeria, participation in such a protest would get the 27-year-old Ighodaro jailed for 10 years or possibly even killed.

In January, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill into law that criminalizes homosexual relationships and advocating for LGBT rights. Dozens of people were arrested following the implementation of the law, many were beaten and some were killed by angry mobs.

There are increasing numbers of reports of extortion and attacks on homosexuals by police and what Kent Klindera, director of amfAR, the foundation for AIDS research that provides support to Nigerian communities working to reduce HIV, said are “neighborhood vigilantes” who are seeking to purge the country of gays. Such reports compelled Ighodaro to organize a Global Day of Action at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and other cities in a global stand against homophobia.

The attacks he continues to hear about in Nigeria are a not-so-distant memory.

One September evening in 2012 in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Ighodaro’s ribs and hand were broken in what he believes was a homophobic attack. The following morning, a barrage of death threats filled his phone and email inboxes. Fearing for his life, he left his homeland and sought asylum in the United States. The multiple-entry visa stamped in his passport from an earlier visit to Washington, D.C., to attend an international AIDS conference became his entry ticket to a new life.

“I came here without any preplanning, without nothing, I just came here,” he told Al Jazeera. “Staying (in Nigeria) was getting more serious than everyone thought it would be.”

(comment on this)

5:12 pm - [LINK] "China Doesn't Back Russia's Invasion Of Crimea — And That's A Big Problem For Putin"
Business Insider shared Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's article in The Telegraph article arguing that China was not only not all pleased by the Russian annexation of Crimea, but that China is set to expand into traditional Russian spheres of influence in Central Asia. No Sino-Russian alliance likely, then, or perhaps not one that isn't Chinese-dominated? (James Nicoll has referred to the process of "Canadification", I think.)

China did not stand behind Russia in the UN Security Council vote on Crimea, as it had over Syria. It pointedly abstained. Its foreign ministry stated that “China always sticks to the principle of non-interference in any country’s internal affairs and respects the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

We don't know exactly what China's Xi Jinping told President Barack Obama at The Hague this week it clearly had nothing in common with the deranged assertions of the Kremlin. The US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes appeared delighted by the talks, claiming afterwards that Russia could no longer count on backing from its "traditional ally".

If so, Mr Putin is snookered. He cannot hope to escape financial suffocation by US regulatory muscle, should he send troops into Eastern Ukraine or even if he tries to stir up chaos in the Russian-speaking Donbass by means of agents provocateurs.

Nor can he hope to turn the tables on the West by joining forces with China to create a Eurasian bloc, a league of authoritarian powers in control of vast resources. Such an outcome is the obsession of the 'Spenglerites', the West's self-haters convinced that the US is finished and that dollar will soon be displaced by the Eurasian Gold Ducat -- odd though that may seem at a time of surging oil and gas output in the US, and an American manufacturing revival.

The reality is that China is breaking Russia's control over the gas basins of Central Asia systematically and ruthlessly. Turkmenistan's gas used to flow North, hostage to prices set by Gazprom. It now flows East. President Xi went in person last September to open the new 1,800 km pipeline to China from the Galkynysh field, the world's second largest with 26 trillion cubic meters.

It will ultimately supply 65 BCM, equal to half Gazprom's exports to Europe. Much the same is going on in Kazakhstan, where Chinese companies have taken over much of the energy industry. The politics are poignantly exposed in Wikileaks cables from Central Asia. A British diplomat is cited in a 2010 dispatch describing the "Chinese commercial colonization" of the region, saying Russia was "painfully" watching its energy domination in Central Asia slip away.

(1 comment | comment on this)

5:06 pm - [LINK] "Dolphin whistle instantly translated by computer"
New Scientist's Hal Hodson reported on what might be a startling breakthrough in human-dolphin communication. It's still early, but, I wonder?

It was late August 2013 and Denise Herzing was swimming in the Caribbean. The dolphin pod she had been tracking for the past 25 years was playing around her boat. Suddenly, she heard one of them say, "Sargassum".

"I was like whoa! We have a match. I was stunned," says Herzing, who is the director of the Wild Dolphin Project. She was wearing a prototype dolphin translator called Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry (CHAT) and it had just translated a live dolphin whistle for the first time.

It detected a whistle for sargassum, or seaweed, which she and her team had invented to use when playing with the dolphin pod. They hoped the dolphins would adopt the whistles, which are easy to distinguish from their own natural whistles – and they were not disappointed. When the computer picked up the sargassum whistle, Herzing heard her own recorded voice saying the word into her ear.

As well as boosting our understanding of animal behaviour, the moment hints at the potential for using algorithms to analyse any activity where information is transmitted – including our daily activities (see "Scripts for life").

"It sounds like a fabulous observation, one you almost have to resist speculating on. It's provocative," says Michael Coen, a biostatistician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Herzing is quick to acknowledge potential problems with the sargassum whistle. It is just one instance and so far hasn't been repeated. Its audio profile looks different from the whistle they taught the dolphins – it has the same shape but came in at a higher frequency. Brenda McCowan of the University of California, Davis, says her experience with dolphin vocalisations matches that observation.

(comment on this)

4:59 pm - [LINK] "‘Abandoned lobster dubbed ‘Mickey’ dies"
I reported yesterday on a lobster stranded in a St. Catherines parking lot and rescued by the local humane society. Sad news: as reported by The Globe and Mail, the lobster died overnight.

The Lincoln County Humane Society in St. Catharines sent out a tweet Thursday saying the crustacean – dubbed Mickey – died overnight.

The lobster’s predicament became national news after it was discovered Wednesday in the parking lot in the southern Ontario community.

The humane society’s executive director Kevin Strooband had said the restaurant doesn’t serve lobster and it was suspected the crustacean was left there as an April Fool’s Day prank.

The animal shelter had been making plans to send the lobster back to Atlantic Canada, where it presumably came from.

But now those hopes are dashed, although the humane society said on Twitter that it had received three offers to get Mickey home.

“Sad news, Mickey the Lobster has died, he died in peace and quiet over night, but had 3 offers to fly out east. Thanks for the well wishes,” the tweet said.

(1 comment | comment on this)

1:47 pm - [BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • At The Dragon's Tales, Will Baird reports that Sweden and Finland, spooked by Crimea, are now contemplating NATO membership.

  • On a very different note, The Dragon's Tales also notes that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, with a Europa-like ocean underneath, is perfectly suited for a space mission.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that workers are dying on World Cup construction sites in Brazil as well as in Qatar.

  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla notes the very recent discovery of Kuiper belt object 2013 FY27, big enough to be a dwarf planet.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy links to a profile of the blog and its blogger in Tablet magazine.

  • Window on Eurasia has a series of links. One argues that Russia's weakness not its strength motivated the move into Crimea, another argues that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a catastrophe and that the Russian government knows it, another observes Belarus' alienation from federation with Russia.

(comment on this)

10:52 am - [PHOTO] Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (3)
Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (9)


Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (10)


Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (11)


Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (13)


Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (14)


Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (15)


Low tide at Camp Buchan, Belfast, Prince Edward Island (20)

(comment on this)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
11:59 pm - [LINK] Two new developments in the Dziekański taser incident
I've been following what Wikipedia calls the Robert Dziekański Taser incident for some time. In 2007, the forty-year-old Polish immigrant Dziekański was tasered to death in Vancouver International Airport when he encountered four officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, people who not only didn't follow protocols but appear to have engaged in a coverup, including the attempted suppression of video of their altercation. Subsequent posts I made, in 2009 and 2010 and 2011, touched upon the discrediting of the police.

One news item in the middle of March highlighted the upcoming trial of one of these officers for perjury.

A B.C. Supreme court justice has denied Const. Kwesi Millington's application to dismiss a perjury charge alleging he lied about the death of Robert Dziekanski to the Braidwood Inquiry.

The Braidwood Inquiry was convened to investigate how Dziekanski died after being stunned several times by RCMP Tasers in the arrivals lounge of Vancouver International Airport in 2007.

[. . .]

His lawyer, Ravi Hira, had argued one of the charges should be stayed. The charge in question alleges Millington lied at the inquiry when he said he never discussed the incident with his partners before giving his statement to investigators.

Hira told the court the issue of collusion had already been rejected by a judge last year when he acquitted Millington's partner, Bill Bentley, on a similar allegation.

Hira argued that prosecuting Millington for collusion would essentially amount to a retrial of a charge that had already been dismissed.

But special prosecutor Eric Gottardi told the court the two officers are not the same accused, and the evidence against each is significantly different.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke agreed and dismissed Millington's application. The trial has been adjourned to Oct. 31.


Just a couple of days ago, the officers' lawyers have made allegations of witness tampering on the part of the RCMP as it gatherrs evidence.

An RCMP constable and a former Mountie charged with perjury for their testimony at the Braidwood inquiry have lodged complaints with B.C.'s civilian police watchdog.

The complaints by Const. Gerry Rundel and retired corporal Monty Robinson mark the first time any of the officers involved in Robert Dziekanski's death in 2007 have attempted to defend themselves outside of the grindingly slow prosecutions against them.

[. . .]

Documents showed that last September Vancouver police officers opened an investigation into a claim that all four Mounties involved in the Taser-related death of Dziekanski met secretly before testifying at the inquiry into what happened.

Const. Gerry Rundel is one of four RCMP officers accused of lying during the testimony given during the public inquiry into Robert Dziekanski's death. (CBC)

At the Braidwood inquiry, which was convened to investigate how Dziekanski died after being stunned with a police Taser several times, the officers all testified they had not discussed the incident with each other.

Last August. Janice Norgard told police and the special prosecutor the four had met at her house in Richmond, B.C., in January or February 2009.

Norgard came forward after reading that one of the officers, Const. Bill Bentley, had been acquitted of perjury.

She alleged the 2009 meeting had been arranged by her ex-common-law partner, Brian Dietrich, who is Bentley's cousin.

But in Robinson's complaint to the OPCC, the former Mountie alleges the Vancouver police detectives who looked into Norgard's claim made multiple mistakes.

"The rules of evidence and the collection of evidence have been ignored in this case," Robinson wrote in the complaint obtained by CBC News.


Canada has nothing to be proud of with any bit of this sad affair.

(comment on this)

10:08 pm - [PHOTO] Looking south on Dovercourt towards Bloor, 1 April 2014
Looking south on Dovercourt towards Bloor, 1 April 2014

I took this photo last night at 7:40 or so. I love that it's so bright so late now.

Spring will be glorious.

(comment on this)


> previous 20 entries
> next 20 entries
> top of page
LiveJournal.com